2020 Sentencing Commission Statistical Report Available

Correctional statistics have been in the news as we consider the impact of the coronavirus on our jails, prisons, and supervised populations. This week the Secretary of Public Safety announced a decision to extend the limits of confinement for certain categories of inmates under G.S. 148-4 (the general plan is outlined here). That (in conjunction with the existing moratorium on new entries) caused the prison population to fall throughout the week. Advocates continue to push for broader releases.

But today’s post isn’t about what’s happening now to get certain inmates out of prison. Instead, it’s a review of the last year’s worth of data on how those inmates got there in the first place. The North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission recently published its annual Structured Sentencing Statistical Report for Felonies and Misdemeanors. Here are the highlights.

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Prior Record Level: What a Defendant Can and Cannot Stipulate To

Under G.S. 15A-1340.14(f), a defendant’s prior convictions can be proved by stipulation of the parties. And they often are. But that doesn’t mean every aspect of a person’s prior record level can be proved by stipulation. Today’s post collects the rules for what a defendant can and cannot stipulate to.

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Prior Convictions for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

A recent case from the court of appeals answers a question we’ve been wondering about for four years: How should a person’s prior conviction for possession of drug paraphernalia (PDP) count toward his or her prior record level after the General Assembly created a new offenses of possession of marijuana paraphernalia? I wrote about this … Read more