Archive for September 2011

How Bail is Set in North Carolina

Upon arrest bail will be set by a magistrate or judge in most cases. Bond and bail guidelines are governed by Article 26 of Chapter 15A of the North Carolina General Statutes, and by local rules as established by the Chief Resident Superior Court Judge and Chief District Court Judge of each judicial district. A…

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Prosecutorial Control of the Calendar – History

North Carolina’s prosecutors – District Attorneys – control the criminal calendar, whereas in most other states, the calendar is controlled by an independent judicially authorized administrator. While formally each judicial district is supposed to have a docketing plan pursuant to N.C.G.S. 7A-49.4, the docketing plans aren’t always binding. Through their control of the calendar, prosecutors…

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Don’t Eat Crack Cocaine

In State v. Ward, the North Carolina Supreme Court held that North Carolina’s prosecutors cannot rely upon a visual examination of alleged drugs to show to a finder of fact – a jury, for instance – that the drugs are in fact contraband. In other words, visual inspection of drugs is an insufficiently reliable method…

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North Carolina’s Judicial Branch

North Carolina’s criminal justice system has three features – some would say, flaws – that make the practice of criminal defense law in this state particularly challenging. These features mean that people charged with crimes should seek out smart, aggressive lawyers who understand the structural problems with the system. Let’s talk about one of them:…

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Miranda v. Arizona – The History

Miranda v. Arizona concerned itself with the conviction of Ernest Arturo Miranda, petitioner and defendant, who had been convicted of two crimes – rape and kidnapping – sentences on each count of 20 to 30 years to run concurrently. In a separate case, the defendant had been convicted of the crime of robbery, committed as…

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Taking a DWI to Jury Trial

Sometimes I’m approached by folks who want to fight their DWI charge tooth and nail. They’re convinced they were driving impaired, and they are dead certain that a jury of their peers will find them “Not Guilty.” Whether a client – also known as the Defendant or the Accused – wants to go to a…

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