Consent DVPOs without Findings of Fact Are Void ab Initio

The court of appeals recently decided Kenton v. Kenton, a civil case of major significance for criminal lawyers. In a nutshell, a wife sought a domestic violence protective order (DVPO) against her husband. A district court judge entered a consent DVPO, finding that “[t]he parties agree to entry of this order without express findings of … Read more


Is Padilla Retroactive?

In a post here [editor’s note: the post shows up with my picture for technical reasons, but it was written by Sejal Zota], a former colleague discussed Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S. Ct. 1473 (Mar. 31, 2010), a U.S. Supreme Court decision dealing with ineffective assistance of counsel in connection with advice regarding the immigration … Read more


State v. Johnson and the Retroactivity of Gant

On June 1, 2010, the N.C. Court of Appeals applied Arizona v. Gant in State v. Johnson and held that the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated when the police searched his vehicle incident to his arrest. There is nothing particularly significant about that holding, as it involved a fairly straightforward application of Gant. However, … Read more


Retroactivity of Melendez-Diaz (Again)

In my last post on this topic, I addressed the “new rule” prong of Teague retroactivity analysis as it applies to Melendez-Diaz. I ended that post by noting that another aspect of retroactivity analysis that has been raised regarding Melendez-Diaz is whether the Teague test applies in North Carolina motion for appropriate relief proceedings in … Read more


Retroactivity of Melendez-Diaz

Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, 557 U.S. __, 129 S. Ct. 2527 (2009), decided by the United States Supreme Court last month, already has had significant implications for criminal prosecutions in North Carolina. The original wave of questions posed to me about the case pertained to its application in pending prosecutions. I wrote about Melendez-Diaz generally and … Read more

Gant, “Retroactivity,” and Retroactivity

The fallout from the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Arizona v. Gant, see my initial post here, has been fast and furious.  Most questions I’ve received have been about how it applies to existing and past cases, not to future searches.  Here are a couple of common questions and answers. 1. Does Gant apply to … Read more

Relief from (Un?)Fair Sentencing

One of our loyal readers asked for our take on the provision in the motion for appropriate relief (MAR) statute that allows a defendant to seek relief at any time when “[t]here has been a significant change in law, either substantive or procedural, applied in the proceedings leading to the defendant’s conviction or sentence, and … Read more