Archive for January 2014

Gideon v. Wainwright in One Act

Overheard in Wake County Criminal District Court: Judge: Sir, you have the right to hire your own attorney, represent yourself, or have a court appointed lawyer. Of those three choices, what would you like to do? Defendant (in custody): I’ll hire my own lawyer. Judge: Do you think you can afford a lawyer? Defendant: I’ll…

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Italian Justice, Double Jeopardy and Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox was convicted in a second trial. I don’t practice Italian criminal defense law, and only took one class in law school about Italian justice. I am, therefore, woefully under prepared to talk about the way in which Italian justice either mistreated or treated Amanda Knox fairly. That said, I am more prepared to…

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Shattered Glass: Stephen will not be a lawyer

Stephen Glass will not be a lawyer. So sayeth the California Supreme Court in a 35-page unanimous, unsigned opinion published this week. Glass is the disgraced journalist who fabricated all or parts of nearly every article he wrote during a 30-month period as a writer for The New Republic and other magazines. When he was…

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Probation Violation Hearing in One Act

The names have been changed to protect the innocent. Prosecutor: Mr. Defense Attorney, does the Defendant waive a formal reading of his violation report, and admit the violation, and the willfulness thereof? Defense Attorney: Yes. Prosecutor: Judge, the next matter is the case of Joe Smith. Mr. Smith was convicted of felony larceny and a…

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Wake County District Attorney Watch: Jeff Cruden

Jeff Cruden, a senior assistant district attorney in the Wake County District Attorney office, has decided to enter the race as a Republican candidate. Jeff brings proven prosecutorial experience to the office, having been tried some of the most serious cases in Wake County’s recent history, including high profile felony driving while impaired offenses, death…

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A Letter to a 1L Law Student

This page provides a lot of information. At this point in your education, my recommendation is: Keep debt to a minimum. If you graduate with significant debt from law school or combination of law school and undergrad, you are going to have a very difficult time. Do not take out loans unless absolutely necessary. Figure…

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Life, the Other Death Penalty

Yesterday I posted about the life long consequences early mistakes and, yes, crimes can have for young people convicted. In that post, I was talking primarily about those convicted of non-violent and drug offenses. This New York Times article shows how slow criminal justice reform is to take root, even when the Supreme Court speaks.…

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Rethinking our Criminal Justice System

Years ago I had a client, the son of two caring parents who themselves had done well. Upper middle class professionals. The son wasn’t a bad kid. Incredibly bright, he was socially awkward and “lacked direction” as the phrase goes. He was also not street smart, which probably was a consequence of his awkwardness. He…

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Wake County District Attorney Watch: Campaign Filings

In the past week, both Lorrin Freeman and Jefferson Griffin’s campaigns have filed paper work with the State Board of Elections. Freeman’s organizational paperwork names attorney John McKnight as the treasurer for her campaign committee. Griffin had previously filed organizational paperwork, and has now filed campaign finance disclosures, which indicate that he has raised about…

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New Murder Trial for Raleigh Stepdad

The North Carolina Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for Joshua Stepp, the 30 year old convicted of first degree murder and first degree sexual offense in the 2009 beating death of his step-daughter Cheyenne Yarley. It’s the second major Wake County murder conviction overturned by the Court of Appeals in the past 9…

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