By LaToya B. Powell
Yesterday, lawmakers returned to Raleigh for the 2017 long session. Among the many important issues the legislature is expected to consider this year, “raise the age” will likely once again be included. Since 1919, N.C. law has required that minors be prosecuted as adults for all crimes beginning at age 16. There has been a long-standing campaign to raise the juvenile age but legislative proposals attempting to do so have repeatedly failed. New York is the only other state in the nation that automatically prosecutes 16-year-olds as adults, although that state allows “reverse waiver” which permits transfer from criminal to juvenile court.
One of the reasons often cited for the legislature’s reluctance to raise the age is the strong opposition of law enforcement officers and prosecutors to such reform. That assertion is no longer valid, at least in part. The N.C. Sheriffs’ Association and several other law enforcement groups have publicly endorsed a new raise the age proposal by the Criminal Investigation and Adjudication Committee of the North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice (NCCALJ). The proposal recommends that North Carolina raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to include 16- and 17-year-olds for all offenses, except high-level felonies and traffic offenses. Youthful offenders (16- and 17-year-olds) who commit Class A-E felonies would be automatically transferred to adult court upon a finding of probable cause or an indictment, alleviating public safety concerns held by law enforcement officers and prosecutors about violent juvenile offenders.
This column originally appeared in the November 2016 edition of North Carolina Lawyer.
By Laura Graham
In the most recent installment of Writing that Works, I introduced a fairly new resource for legal writers whose work includes drafting statutes and rules. The book, Plain English for Drafting Statutes and Rules, is a slim volume, but it covers a lot of ground. In that column, I drew from the book to highlight three central principles of effective legislative drafting: (1) use simple declarative sentences; (2) punctuate with care; and (3) tabulate with clarity. In this follow-up column, I’ve chosen to highlight two additional principles.
Use “common and known words.” This principle is apparently one of the very first—and most enduring—legislative drafting principles. According to the authors of Plain English for Drafting Statutes and Rules, one of the most influential statements of this principle came in the late eighteenth century, when English jurist and philosopher and Jeremy Bentham wrote:
By Annette Phelps
As 2016 came to a close, there were many things and people for which we could be thankful. Our former Executive Director Allan B. Head is one of those people.
One thing that was probably on most of the NCBA members’ minds as the year ended was the retirement of Mr. Head. He has been one of the Paralegal Division’s biggest supporters. With all of his many duties over the years he somehow found time to check in on our meetings and engage with the paralegals at various events. Mr. Head always wanted us to know that our division was important to the NCBA and he made sure he let each of us know that any chance he got. When interacting with Mr. Head, he had a way of making you feel like you were the most important person at that moment in time; that is a rare quality and a sign of a true gentleman.
By Terri Harris, Susan Fradenburg and Katye Jobe
On October 4, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued a final rule reforming participation requirements for Skilled Nursing Facilities (“SNFs”). The rule will be implemented in three phases. Phase 1 requirements should have been implemented by November 28, 2016, Phase 2 requirements must be implemented by November 28, 2017, and Phase 3 requirements must be implemented by November 28, 2019. The final rule marks the first comprehensive update to the requirements for SNFs in 25 years. The rule contains completely new sections in addition to amendments to existing regulations, and we have highlighted selected changes in this article.
Notably, the rule includes a new pre-dispute ban on arbitration agreements between SNFs and their residents (or their representatives). However, this ban was challenged by the American Health Care Association and others in a lawsuit filed on October 17, 2016. As a result, the section of the final rule prohibiting pre-dispute arbitration agreements was stayed and did not take effect on November 28, 2016, as originally planned. As of the date of this writing, the litigation challenging this part of the rule remains ongoing. SNFs must still respond appropriately to the numerous other significant additions and changes contained in the rule that were implemented under the Phase 1 deadline of November 28, 2016.
By Eric Zogry
Welcome to the first installment of the Juvenile Justice and Children’s Rights Section blog! If you don’t already know, our section is in its 19th year. We’re a very diverse group, in subject matter (we include experts in child welfare, education, juvenile justice, and mental health), in practitioners (including trial and appellate attorneys, paralegals, judges, and individual and policy advocates), in geography (with participation from the many corners in our state) and lastly, diversity in individuals, as we encourage a community with different backgrounds, cultures and experiences.
This is an especially exciting time to be involved with juvenile justice. The Chief Justice’s Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice has recommended that all 16- and 17-year-olds be processed in the juvenile justice system, while providing for an expedited process for transfer to adult court for only the most serious offenders. Additionally, we are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision, In re Gault. Gault transformed juvenile delinquency court from an informal, unfair process into a consistent and fair setting for youth to face criminal allegations.
We’re hopeful that this blog will bring our broad community even closer together. Please let us know if you have an idea, innovation, or opinion you want to share – we’d love to hear from you!