In Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prevents prosecutors in criminal cases from exercising peremptory challenges to excuse prospective jurors solely on account of their race. As illustrated by State v. Campbell COA18-998-2, filed 21 July 2020, application of that 1986 decision is not easy.… Continue Reading
Last week, the Court of Appeals returned to a general question that this blog has addressed before: When is a Notice of Appeal Filing Deadline or Requirement Jurisdictional? In this instance, the specific issue was whether the Court has jurisdiction over an appeal when a notice of appeal was filed and the record on appeal was filed and the appeal docketed before the trial court entered the order that was being appealed.… Continue Reading
No, this post is not a tribute to David Ives. In many appellate cases, it really is all in the timing.
Some appellate rules regarding timing are easy to state. The deadlines to file a notice of appeal, an opening brief, and a petition for discretionary review are relatively straightforward.
But other timing issues are less obvious. The most recent set of opinions from the Court of Appeals addresses several of these thornier problems.… Continue Reading
On Friday, the Supreme Court displayed how busy it has been this summer by releasing 17 authored opinions. Justice Per Curiam (who is fond of affirming/reversing “for the reasons stated in the Court of Appeals” majority/dissent) was conspicuously absent. Justice Earls and Justice Newby vied for the title of “Most Prolific Dissenter.” And the Court released its first three opinions directly reviewing trial tribunal orders terminating parental rights—and for those wondering, all three opinions were decided by the Supreme Court by published opinion, but without oral argument.… Continue Reading
Appellate practitioners are familiar with the concept of moving to have the court publish an opinion that was initially issued as “unpublished.” Much rarer is the reverse situation, where a party seeks to have an opinion that was published “demoted” to unpublished status. And perhaps even rarer is to have that request for “unpublishing” made by a member of the Court. … Continue Reading
Twice this week the Fourth Circuit took the relatively unusual step of issuing published opinions on orders denying rehearing of a case. Ordinarily such orders are not published for the simple reason that there is no accompanying written opinion to publish. Not so this week, however.
On Monday the Court denied a request for panel rehearing and rehearing en banc in US v.… Continue Reading
Our State Supreme Court issues a lot of unanimous opinions. But this month’s batch of opinions contained two interesting examples of an area in which the justices may disagree: statutory interpretation.
In State v. Fletcher, the Supreme Court was interpreting the scope of the phrase “oral intercourse” in a criminal statute. Not surprisingly, the Court “look[ed] first to the plain meaning of the words of the statute itself.”… Continue Reading
Memo to trial lawyers in North Carolina: Do not tell the jury that a witness is a liar. And you also shouldn’t imply that opposing counsel and an opposing expert witness assisted that witness in committing perjury.
Such was the approach taken by the prosecution in a first-degree murder trial in Mecklenburg County. After the jury returned a guilty verdict on voluntary manslaughter, the Court of Appeals vacated the conviction and remanded for a new trial, holding that the State’s characterization in closing arguments of the Defendant as a liar, and his counsel and expert witness as supporting his dishonesty, was “grossly improper,” and that the trial court should have intervened ex mero motu. … Continue Reading
What is the Court of Appeals to do when the correctness of the trial court order being appealed turns on whether or not a certain document was presented to the trial court, but that document does not appear in the record on appeal? That is the question that confronted the Court in State v. Cobb. And in a split decision issued on Wednesday, the majority presumed that the record on appeal was correct and thus the trial court had erred.… Continue Reading
On June 9, 2017, the Supreme Court of North Carolina issued a unanimous opinion holding that when an employer admits the compensability of an injury under the Worker’s Compensation Act, the injured worker is thereafter entitled to a presumption that future medical treatments are causally related to the original compensable injury. Before the ink could dry on Wilkes v. City of Greenville, a “broad coalition of private and public organizations” convinced the General Assembly to essentially nullify the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision.… Continue Reading