Interstate Probation Cases

Article 1, section 10 of the Constitution—the Compacts Clause—authorizes two or more states to enter into agreements or compacts with one another, provided they have the consent of Congress. Dozens of “interstate compacts” have arisen over the years. Many of you have probably used the services of some of the more prominent ones, like the … Read more

New Substance Abuse Treatment Center for Female Probationers

A longstanding lament of the corrections community in North Carolina has been the lack of a residential substance abuse treatment center for female probationers and parolees. In other words, there is no DART-Cherry for women. (DART stands for Drug Alcohol Recovery Treatment.) DART-Cherry, for those who may not know, is a 300-bed facility in Goldsboro … Read more

Deferred Prosecution Probation

Under G.S. 15A-1341(a1), certain defendants may, with court approval, be placed on probation pursuant to a deferred prosecution agreement. To be eligible for this type of deferred prosecution the defendant must have been charged with a Class H or I felony or a misdemeanor, and the court must make findings that: Prosecution has been deferred … Read more

Improper Periods of Probation

I haven’t done any sort of official tally, but I think the most common sentencing error in North Carolina might be sentencing the defendant to an improper period of probation. It came up again this week in State v. Wheeler, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to write about it. The basic rule is … Read more

Drug Testing of Probationers as a Warrantless Search

The principal probation reform bill (S.L. 2009-372 [S 920], summarized here) went into effect on December 1. Since then, I’ve received a number of questions about it, many of them from probation officers. One of their main concerns relates to the way some of the amendments to the law are reflected in the new AOC … Read more

Probation Officer Liability and the Public Duty Doctrine

A recent court of appeals case, Blaylock v. N.C. Department of Correction-Division of Community Corrections, has spurred to write about something I’ve been meaning to write about for a while: probation officer liability when a supervised offender hurts someone. In Blaylock, a probation officer was supervising a mentally ill probationer named James Oakes who had … Read more

Does Mandatory AA/NA Violate the First Amendment?

The First Amendment says, in part, that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . . .” There are two religion clauses in the amendment, the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. Lately I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the Free Exercise … Read more

Extending Probation

How long can a defendant be on probation for a single conviction? A.      Five years. B.      Eight years. C.      It depends. The best answer is C. A judge can sentence any defendant (community or intermediate, misdemeanant or felon) to probation for up to five years on a finding that a period longer than the statutory … Read more