Satellite-Based Monitoring Is Unconstitutional for All Unsupervised Recidivists

The Supreme Court of North Carolina held in State v. Grady, ___ N.C. ___ (2019), that satellite-based monitoring (SBM) of sex offenders is unconstitutional as applied to any unsupervised person who was ordered to enroll in SBM solely because he or she is a recidivist. By unsupervised, the court meant a person not on probation, parole, or post-release supervision. Today’s post takes a closer look at the Grady decision and what it may mean for North Carolina’s SBM program going forward.

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State v. Griffin and the Effectiveness of Satellite-Based Monitoring

The court of appeals issued a new decision on satellite-based monitoring (SBM) of sex offenders this week. It gives further guidance on what the State will need to show to establish that SBM is a reasonable search under the Fourth Amendment in light of Grady v. North Carolina.

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SBM Is an Unreasonable Search in Grady’s Case

In Grady v. North Carolina, 135 S. Ct. 1368 (2015), the Supreme Court held that North Carolina’s satellite-based monitoring regime for sex offenders is a search, but left it to North Carolina’s courts to decide whether it is an unreasonable search in violation of the Fourth Amendment. We got an answer for one defendant this week, as Torrey Grady’s case circled back through the court of appeals.

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Is the Court of Appeals Signaling Less Forgiveness with SBM cases?

Maybe so, if two decisions from earlier this month are any indication. They are: State v. Bishop, ___ N.C. App. ___ (Oct. 3, 2017), where the court refused to consider arguments about the reasonableness of satellite-based monitoring (“SBM”) when the issue was not preserved or properly appealed, and State v. Greene, ___N.C. App. ___ (Oct. 3, 2017), where the court refused to remand a SBM hearing when the State failed to present sufficient evidence of the reasonableness of SBM. Before I discuss those cases, some background first.

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Sex Offenders in Emergency Shelters

With Hurricane Harvey fresh in our minds, Hurricane Irma is bearing down on Florida. The storm could work its way up the coast to the Carolinas by early next week, possibly following a path similar to last year’s Hurricane Matthew or Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Governor Cooper has declared a state of emergency for all 100 counties, ordering state and local government entities to be prepared and temporarily suspending certain motor vehicle restrictions.

A question that sometimes arises when the government sets up emergency shelters is whether registered sex offenders may use them. The sheriff of Polk County, Florida, tweeted yesterday that registrants would not be allowed in shelters there. What is the law in North Carolina?

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