By Al Benshoff
Lawyers employed by the state of North Carolina should be aware of the new report to the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee by the Program Evaluation Division, Legislative Services Office, General Assembly (called “PED” in this post). The report makes no recommendations about the use of lawyers in State government or staffing levels. It does provide the legislature with baseline information about the use of in-house counsel, outside counsel and the allocation of lawyers to departments. The report is called “The System of Attorney Allocation in North Carolina State Government is Decentralized Final Report to the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee” and is available here.
By Skye David
On May 16, the North Carolina General Assembly will return to Jones Street, and the 2018 short session will convene. Legislators and staff have been publicly stating that this session will be a quick six-week session, and then legislators will be out in time to fundraise and campaign for the November midterms. While this seems promising for most, those who are familiar with General Assembly happenings will proudly inform you that this is what legislators say every year.
By Peggy Nicholson
Over the next two years, North Carolina’s juvenile justice system will undergo some of the most significant changes in its history. Chief among these changes is the implementation of Raise the Age legislation (Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act) that will expand juvenile court jurisdiction to include most 16- and 17-year olds by December 2019. While raising the age will result in better outcomes for children, it will also result in many changes to the juvenile system and create a ripple effect across the state’s courts and other youth-serving systems.
On May 10, the Juvenile Justice and Children’s Rights Section will host a CLE at the Bar Center in Cary to answer many of the questions about Raise the Age and discuss some of the wide-ranging impacts. This CLE, entitled “Raise the Age: A New Era for Juvenile Justice in North Carolina,” is intended not just for attorneys who practice in juvenile court, but for any attorney whose practice might be impacted by the new legislation, including those practicing in the areas of criminal justice, education, child welfare, mental health, or government.
- An overview of North Carolina’s juvenile justice system including a summary of the recently passed Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act.
- A panel of court actors from one jurisdiction, including a defense attorney, prosecutor, and two judges, discussing how Raise the Age will impact them at the local level and how they are preparing for those impacts.
- A panel of attorneys from different youth-focused systems (child welfare, education, and mental health) discussing how changes to juvenile court will impact their areas of practice.
- An overview of school-justice partnerships, local agreements aimed at reducing the number of school-based court referrals, which are being expanded across the state pursuant to the new Raise the Age law.
- An ethics session on representing children in adult court, which is especially important since children age 16 and older will continue to go to adult court until December 2019 and, even after that, will still be in adult court in certain circumstances.
These sessions are intended to be informative to both juvenile court novices and seasoned child advocates and will provide opportunities for questions and discussion. Attendees will receive 5.5 hours of CLE credit, including 1 ethics hour.
The Juvenile Justice & Children’s Rights Section will also hold its annual meeting on May 10 and invites CLE participants to attend. During the meeting, the Section will announce the inaugural recipient of The Children’s Champion Award, which is bestowed upon a member of the Section who is a true champion for North Carolina children and youth.
Interested attorneys and advocates should register soon and get 10 percent off the registration fee (until May 3). Click here to register or for more information.
By Aimee Scotton
It’s an oft-repeated refrain when referring to government work — Jack of all trades; Master of none. Sadly, it’s a cliché because it’s true. I’ve been the in-house county attorney for Randolph County for 21 years now. Twenty-one years. You’d think that after 21 years, I’d have this county attorney thing down pat, but that’s not the case. Instead, I’ve come to realize that I will never have this county attorney thing down pat because this county attorney thing is a constantly changing animal. No day is ever the same as the day before. Even after 21 years, there is not a week where something doesn’t pop up that I’ve never encountered before.
By Drew Erteschik, J.M. Durnovich and Cosmo Zinkow
It is almost unheard of that a state or local government entity is able to tap into a new source of cost savings that has not already been tapped. Fortunately, however, as a result of a recent administrative ruling from the North Carolina Department of Administration, state and local government entities are now able to pursue millions of dollars in taxpayer savings.
By Al Benshoff
With the adoption of H.B. 310 (S.L. 2017-159), all municipalities and the N.C. Department of Transportation must allow the location of “small wireless facilities” in the public rights-of-way. Here are a few FAQs about the application of the law.
By Ben A. Mount
In September of 2017, Thomas A. McCormick, Jr., announced his plan to retire as the City Attorney for the City of Raleigh after serving in that position for over 40 years. I’m one of many lawyers who has had the opportunity to work with Tom, and I’m sure there are many more who would be interested in learning about Tom’s career in public service. For that reason, instead of writing an article about the law, I decided to conduct a brief “career overview” interview with Tom McCormick to share with my colleagues in the NCBA. Enjoy!
By Aimee Scotton
When I am worried and I can’t sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep. And I fall asleep counting my blessings.
Since we’ve reached the start of a new year, I thought this might be a good time to look back and list the things, as a county attorney, that I am thankful for in 2017. So, in no particular order, here goes:
On Tuesday, a panel of the Court of Appeals issued a unanimous decision in a Public Records Act case on a point not previously addressed: “We therefore hold that, in order to confer jurisdiction upon the trial court in a Public Records Act suit, the plaintiff must initiate mediation within 30 days of the filing of the responsive pleading as required by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7A-38.3E(b).”
The Court rejected the argument that this new statutory requirement was merely procedural with enforcement in the discretion of the court in the judicial review.
The decision came in Jerry R. Tillett v. Town of Kill Devil Hills, Public Records Act – Mediation, Public Record Request; No Jurisdiction; Jurisdictional vs. Procedural Rules
Government and public sector attorneys may not have thought the FCC’s net neutrality repeal had direct impact on their work. This article, on the newsletter Route Fifty, however, provides information on a little-publicized feature of the FCC’s net neutrality repeal. The net neutrality repeal apparently also sets out an FCC policy of broadly expanding preemption of state and local laws and rules related to broadband, cell providers, etc.