Out of a total of 24 opinions, the Supreme Court’s most recent set of opinions included nine criminal cases, three terminations of parental rights, and six direct appeals from Business Court decisions.

Of those six Business Court appeals, three were decided with written opinions and three were decided per curiam. What is noticeable, however, is that the three per curiam opinions were not one-pagers.… Continue Reading

Back in July, the Court of Appeals issued a published opinion in In re L.V. dismissing an appeal from an order terminating parental rights after the parent’s attorney filed a no-merit brief. The parent filed a motion for en banc rehearing, pursuant to new Appellate Rule 31.1, but the motion was denied. After the rehearing motion was filed, the court did modify the opinion slightly to correct quotation of a previous opinion.… Continue Reading

A dissenting opinion from the North Carolina Court of Appeals goes a long way. Unlike the procedures in many other jurisdictions, a single judge on our intermediate appellate court can create an automatic right to appellate review in our Supreme Court by penning a dissenting opinion.  In a system where requests for discretionary review from a unanimous Court of Appeals decision are granted less than 10% of the time, “getting a dissent” in the Court of Appeals can yield big spoils—a right to further appellate review, a new set of briefs, and guaranteed oral argument before the seven top jurists in our state.… Continue Reading

When reading through recent batches of opinions from the North Carolina Court of Appeals, you may notice a new feature: a statement regarding the Court’s jurisdiction. While such a statement is required in an appellant’s brief, see N.C. R. App. P. 28(b)(4), it is not required in an opinion. And although the Court has addressed jurisdiction if necessary, opinions have not traditionally included a separate statement on jurisdiction when it was not in dispute.… Continue Reading

The general rule is that a decision of one panel of the Court of Appeals is binding on future panels addressing the same issue. State v. Jones, 358 N.C. 473, 487, 598 S.E.2d 125, 133 (2004). This rule is especially true when the subsequent panel is considering the same issue in the course of the same case. Should there be a different rule when questions of subject matter jurisdiction are presented?… Continue Reading