In April 2017, the General Assembly surprised appellate stakeholders by adopting legislation shifting a subclass of Rule 3.1 juvenile appeals—Termination of Parental Rights (“TPR”) appeals—to the Supreme Court’s mandatory direct appellate review jurisdiction.  The silver lining was that the General Assembly did not require an immediate shift in these cases from the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court.  Instead, TPR cases did not start trickling into the Supreme Court until January 2019.… Continue Reading

The Supreme Court of North Carolina isn’t wasting any time in getting back to work after the 2018 elections.  As Matt wrote  last week, after the election, the Court cancelled oral arguments that had been previously scheduled for December, a common practice when an incumbent is leaving the Court. One of the affected cases was Dickson v. Rucho, the North Carolina gerrymandering case that has been winding its way through the State and Federal Court systems since 2011.… Continue Reading

Clerk of the Supreme Court of North Carolina Amy Funderburk announced by e-mail Friday that December oral arguments in the Supreme Court will be postponed until after the new year.

Such schedule changes are the norm in election years.  It is common practice for the Court not to hold oral arguments between election day and December 31 in years in which an incumbent is leaving the Court. … Continue Reading

On Friday, the Supreme Court of North Carolina amended Rules 28, 29, and 33.1 of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure.  While the most significant changes involve amicus curiae briefs, the Supreme Court also took a baby step into the world of mandatory appellate e-filing.  A summary of the changes—including my initial thoughts on different features of and questions that could arise under the amendments—follows.… Continue Reading

Confession. I don’t do Twitter.  Social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn already drive me semi-crazy. (How many posts do you scroll through before giving yourself permission to stop!?!? And why can’t everything be on one platform?!?!).  Judge Richard Dietz of the North Carolina Court of Appeals, however, has me searching for my twitter password.  On Monday, Judge Dietz tweeted the following:

Tomorrow, the N.C.

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In May 2016, we reported how the Supreme Court of North Carolina held oral argument in Morganton, North Carolina for the first time in over a hundred years.  A year later, eastern North Carolina is getting its own Supreme Court visit. On Tuesday, May 9 (tomorrow) the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in two cases at Edenton’s Historic Chowan County Courthouse: one at 9:30 a.m.… Continue Reading

On Monday afternoon, Bryan Boyd, Clerk of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, informed affected counsel that the December 2016 oral argument calendar–previously  scheduled for the week of December 12– has been cancelled.  The affected cases have not yet been rescheduled.

With Justice-elect Michael Morgan set to join the bench in January 2017, speculation is whirling as to whether the Supreme Court is seeking to wrap up cases before Justice Edmunds’ departure. … Continue Reading

According to an analysis by Kenzie Rakes at her new blog www.ncappellatestats.com, about one-in-seven, or 14%, of cases in the North Carolina Court of Appeals were orally argued in 2015.

That may seem like a low number, but remember that the denominator of that fraction includes pro se cases and others that would not make for a productive in-person discussion of the issues.  … Continue Reading

No tattling allowed if someone buys scalped tickets to attend this event. For the first time since the Civil War era, the Supreme Court of North Carolina is preparing a westward trek to Morganton, North Carolina for two oral argument sessions. The ticket-only event will occur on Tuesday, May 17, and Wednesday, May 18 in the Old Burke County Courthouse.

Cases being heard include a challenge by the Cleveland County Schools System to the funding of charter schools and a constitutional challenge to a statute changing control of Asheville’s water system from the city to the metropolitan sewer district.… Continue Reading

UNC School of Law has just launched an ambitious moot-court program for practitioners, organized by the law school’s Holderness Moot Court program and its faculty advisor, Professor Donald Hornstein.  Anyone with an upcoming argument in the Supreme Court of North Carolina or the North Carolina Court of Appeals is eligible to participate.  The Program will put together a panel of moot-court judges, including a faculty member and a law student, to ask questions of the advocate in UNC’s moot courtroom.… Continue Reading