Archive for March 2012

Superior Court and DWIs: Part I

One possible solution to the crush of DWIs (about which I’ve written recently) would be to assign DWIs to the original jurisdiction of the Superior Court. Currently, a DWI can take anywhere from 3 to 15 months to resolve in Wake County District Court. Once that process is over, and if the defendant has been…

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A Modest Proposal to Reform NC DWI Laws

I’ve written elsewhere about how NC DWI laws affect various groups – prosecutors, judges, the court system, and defendants. The result is a highly inefficient system. Note: I am not proposing that North Carolina go easy on DWIs. A DWI in North Carolina involves harsh punishments, even for first time offenders. One year license suspension.…

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NC DWI Laws and Defense Lawyers

I’ve written elsewhere about the effect NC DWI laws – which in my view are poorly structured – have on different groups – prosecutors, judges – and on the court system in general. My view is that the lack of a plea alternative in NC DWI laws binds the hands of prosecutors, puts judges in…

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Judges and NC DWI Laws

I’ve written elsewhere about the harm that NC’s poorly structured DWI laws cause to the court system and to prosecutors. Let me now write about judges. All standard DWIs start in District Court. Upon a guilty verdict, a defendant may appeal his or her case to Superior Court. In Superior Court, the Defendant is entitled…

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NC DWI Laws Harm Prosecutors

If you’re a Wake County Assistant District Attorney, your mandate is to prosecute crimes charged in the county, under the auspices of the elected DA of the county. If you work in one of the four Wake County general misdemeanor courtrooms, you’ll handle everything from minor traffic issues to serious misdemeanor assaults. And Driving While…

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NC Legislators Misunderstand Pleas

In previous posts, I wrote about how pleas are essential to a proper functioning NC criminal justice system. I also wrote about how NC’s DWI has created inefficiencies by stripping courtroom participants – judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys – of the ability to plea. In this post, let me explain why I think the North…

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NC DWI Laws Prevent Pleas

In a previous post, I explained how pleas are the most important means by which the adversarial criminal justice system we have can process as many criminal cases as Raleigh sees each year. When lawmakers – I’m looking at you, North Carolina General Assembly – create laws that interfere with ability to plead guilty out…

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North Carolina’s Poorly Structured DWI Law

The adversarial criminal system – the system that we have in North Carolina and throughout the United States – is a very expensive system. It’s a system that ultimately gives every criminal defendant a right to a jury trial. Whether a person’s been charged with a Raleigh DWI or with capital murder, the person is…

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Federal Sentences Still Vary Widely

When the federal Sentencing Commission was created in the 1980s, the idea was to create Sentencing Guidelines that would restore uniformity to sentencing. The concern at the time was that similarly positioned defendants were receiving wildly varying sentences depending on which judge they appeared in front of, or depending on where in the country they…

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Candor to the Tribunal – A Raleigh Lawyer’s Obligation

The recent removal of Tracey Cline as the elected District Attorney of Durham County turned, in part, upon her obligation as an attorney licensed to practice in North Carolina, to be candid to the tribunal. This obligation – and it’s an obligation that any attorney has in North Carolina – is found in Rule 3.3…

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