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Week in Review: July 26-30

Another Friday in the books and the last one of July. Honestly, how has 7 months of 2021 already wrapped up? Talk about time flies. Let's recap the last week.

Tip of the Week: Prior Record Level Matters

If your client’s prior record places him/her in a position for the judge to enter a level 1 OR 2 dispositional level, ALWAYS argue for a level 1 disposition. You can find a copy of the disposition chart here. Make sure to check the final written order for accuracy.

New Court of Appeals Opinion

In the Matter of: J.D.F., ___ N.C. ___, No. COA20-371 (July 6, 2021)

Rule: The trial court made insufficient findings of fact regarding whether the juvenile was in custody to determine if the juvenile’s confession should be suppressed.

The juvenile was charged with first-degree sexual offense. The juvenile filed a motion to suppress challenging the juvenile’s confession. The trial court denied the motion to suppress, upon which the juvenile admitted to the offense under an Alford admission. The juvenile appealed, arguing that the juvenile was in custody at the time of the confession and was not given Miranda or statutory warnings, and that the statements were not voluntary.

The Court of Appeals reviewed constitutional and statutory law regarding confessions and determined that whether an individual is in custody when questioned by law enforcement is an objective test. Reviewing the totality of the circumstances, of “whether a reasonable person in the position of the [questioned individual] would believe himself to be in custody or that he had been deprived of his freedom of action in some significant way.”

To continue reading this opinion, you can download the document below.

In the Matter of JDF
Download DOCX • 14KB

On The Civil Side: Raise the Age and Enforcement of Domestic Violence Protective Orders and Civil No-Contact Orders

Jacqui Greene has a new On The Civil Side blog post over at the School of Government. This new blog post will explore the legislative changes enacted last summer and the enforcement of protective orders on juveniles that are 16-17. You can read a snippet of the post below:

"Chapter 50B provides that, “[f]or purposes of this subdivision, an aggrieved party may not obtain an order of protection against a child or grandchild under the age of 16.” G.S. 50B-1(b)(3). Therefore, an order of protection can be obtained against a child or grandchild who is age 16 or 17. The initial issuance of such an order is accomplished through a civil action. G.S. 50B-2(a)."

To continue reading this informative blog post, click here.

Were you in School? (The CLE of course)

Burcu Hensley led an great CLE training Tuesday July 27 regarding School Interrogations. Packed with case law, statutes and even the spot on movie clip, defenders from across NC came together to ask some really insightful questions about what to do when your client is interrogated at school. We will be uploading the training to our Defender Portal for viewing purposes, but are not able to offer CLE for watching at this time.

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