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Charlotte NC Criminal Defense Law Blog

Court strikes down lifetime supervised release order as punitive

A pair of defendants has received a second break on a conviction that once earned them life in prison. After a series of mistakes got their sentences knocked down to thirty years behind bars -- but with lifetime supervised release when they were out. Now an appellate court has ruled that supervised release order was probably meant to let a frustrated judge extend the men's prison terms.

But federal supervised release "is not a punishment in lieu of incarceration," wrote a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

How successful is the ignition interlock program?

If you are charged with driving while intoxicated in North Carolina, the law requires you to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle under certain circumstances. This program is now in place in all 50 states, but only about one-fifth of those arrested for DWI have the devices in their cars.

The main objective of the ignition interlock program is to reduce the number of repeat offenders so that there will be fewer drunk drivers on the road. But how successful is the program?

A 'nightmare': domestic abuse charge dismissed against ex-deputy

A point that is often quickly and correctly made regarding domestic violence matters in North Carolina and nationally is that domestic abuse -- where it is proven -- is an unmitigated and pernicious evil. Victims -- spouses, unmarried partners, relatives, children and others -- who suffer in myriad ways from physical, emotional and other forms of violence are often extremely vulnerable and immediately in harm's way. Where acts of abuse are being committed, they must be stopped.

Having said that, it is an ethical imperative to also note that allegations surrounding domestic violence are sometimes far from clear and that the public has a propensity to jump to conclusions before material facts relevant to an accusation are thoroughly presented and weighed.

Strong disapproval of mandatory minimums -- from the federal bench

We noted the stark reversal of a recently implemented -- and notably material -- reform of the criminal justice system in a recent blog post, pointing out in our May 17 entry the sudden departure from policy favored by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder via a new edict pronounced by Jeff Sessions, the current AG.

As we indicated in our post, the so-called "Sessions memo" urges federal prosecutors to once again push for and promote mandatory minimum sentencing outcomes in many drug-related cases that Holder sought to deemphasize through alternative sentencing dispositions.

Should police be relinquishing control of body camera videos?

What we've got here, states a recent NPR news report, is "an ocean of video," coupled with the urgently outstanding question of who should be in charge of controlling its content and dissemination.

Currently, of course, police departments in North Carolina and elsewhere across the country routinely maintain custody and control over the video that is shot by officers wearing body cameras, with many of them using so-called "cloud storage" to maintain their footage. Reportedly, one provider manages more than four million hours of tape for enforcement agencies nationally.

New bill targets North Carolina sex offender registry

Co-sponsors and proponents of proposed sex registry-based legislation in North Carolina say that it is merely administrative in nature and needed for budgetary reasons.

That is a bogus claim, responds one public defender who echoes a similar sentiment held by defense attorneys, civil liberty advocates and other groups across the state.

What you should know about medication side effects and DUIs

When you think about impaired driving and DUI/DWIs in North Carolina, the first thing that may come to your mind is alcohol. However, driving while under the influence of any controlled substance is illegal, so alcohol is not the only substance that could lead to a driving while impaired charge. People who use certain medications can receive DWIs too.

Law enforcement is arresting more people for driving under while under the influence of prescription drugs. Like many others, you may take your medicines as required, not realizing that the side effects put you in the same risk category as a drunk driver. Here is a brief overview of medication side effects and DWIs.

The bloated U.S. prison population is now likely to get bigger

If former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and current AG Jeff Sessions met at a party and were searching for the often-termed "ice breaker" topic to establish a bit of common ground, they'd likely cross mandatory minimum sentencing of the list of potential discussion topics -- and fast.

Many of our readers might know from past select blog posts that Holder is not a fan of that sentencing tool, having long argued that it has too often resulted in warehousing first-time nonviolent offenders -- often persons convicted of various and, arguably, low-level drug crimes -- in prison for inordinately long periods of incarceration.

This is why criminal defense attorneys are serious about their work

We'll cut straight to the point regarding the above headline in today's blog post, with this response: People in North Carolina and across the country are accused by authorities every day of criminal behavior that they did not commit. Or, alternatively, there are extenuating circumstances surrounding their criminal charge.

The bottom line: Criminal suspects need knowledgeable and aggressive criminal defense help, and there is sometimes no overstating how badly they need proven assistance to vet state's evidence, argue their case and resolutely push for an optimal result in the matter they are facing.

Opinion: no way reliance on algorithms promotes criminal justice

Although the oft-referenced rationale regarding the increasing use of one criminal justice system tool might be understandable -- and even commendable -- says a commentator in a recent online opinion piece, that doesn't make the growing practice right.

In fact, says criminal justice consultant Jason Tashea in an article penned for the online technology publication Wired, the pervasive use in courts of algorithms that judges use to help inform them on decisions involving bail and sentencing because they save time and help allocate limited resources is wrong.

Meet the Office Mascots

  • Sir Winston Churchill Connelly is a red Labradoodle bred from a mahogany miniature French Poodle and a red English Lab. He is doted upon by staff and clients alike, stealing their hearts with his sweet disposition. More Photos

  • Dustye is a gaited (also known as racking) Registered Tennessee Walking Horse. He is a sweet tempered, playful, noble buckskin who loves to give rides to kids. More Photos