Archive for October 2015

6000 Federal Inmates to be Released Early – Is It Enough?

In the past 24 hours, one of the major headlines across the spectrum of news organizations was that approximately 6,000 inmates are to be released early from their sentences. While this step may provide some hope about the dismal mass incarceration problem in the United States, that hope is minuscule and at this point, ill…

Read More

Marijuana Laws and Penalties in North Carolina

North Carolina is slow to change. So that means that we’ll probably be one of the last states to legalize medical marijuana or decriminalize marijuana all together. While I think that it, and many other drugs, should be legal, the reality is that currently, marijuana in any form, even if prescribed by a physician in…

Read More

When Every Defendant is a Nail…

When Every Defendant is a Nail… every solution is a harsh prison sentence. It’s good to see that criminal justice reform has become a topic of the debate, and that that debate isn’t about how many more mandatory minimum sentences we can impose, but, rather, how we can return some sanity to the system. And…

Read More

Impacts of New Budget on NC Public Defenders

After significant delay, North Carolina has finally passed a budget. Yay! But the fine print of the budget actually has significant negative impacts to the public defender’s office. Boo! While the new budget actually provides for a $4.4 million increase in funding for the Office of Indigent Defense Services (IDS), it also made a shift…

Read More

Teacher-Student Sex and the Law

It goes without saying that teachers having sex with students is a crime, no matter the jurisdiction. Even though the acts may be consensual as people normally think of the word, the law doesn’t recognize the consent as freely given and so consent is not a defense. In North Carolina, a teacher convicted of having…

Read More

Fake Criminal Justice Reform

Federal sentencing reform is upon us, and the results are pretty depressing. First, some context: Federal criminal law is out of control, and has been since the mid-1980s for a combination of reasons. The advent of the Sentencing Guidelines which at first were mandatory, but have become advisory, took discretion away from judges and placed…

Read More