Chief Justice Beasley Extends Certain Emergency Directives Through July 20

By Kasi Robinson

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley has issued an order extending Emergency Directives 9-16 through July 20, 2020.

Relevant to criminal practitioners, these Emergency Directives provide:

No sessions of court may be scheduled if doing so would contravene current public health guidelines. Remote hearings should be used to the greatest extent possible. (Emergency Directive 9.)

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Court Reopening Plans, Video Conferencing Rules, and Other COVID-19 Updates

By Kasi Robinson

Some time has passed since the initial flurry of court orders modifying deadlines, postponing in-person hearings, and setting guidelines for remote hearings. In an attempt to stay up to date with the latest orders and announcements from the state and federal courts within North Carolina as those courts begin to contemplate reopening, here is a compilation of the most recent items within each jurisdiction. A high-level summary is included below each order, but the specific language of each order should be carefully reviewed alongside any additional orders issued by a presiding judge in a particular case.

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Justice Beasley Continues Trial Court Deadlines into June

Daniel Adams

Kasi Robinson

By Daniel Adams and Kasi Robinson

On April 13, 2020, Chief Justice Beasley issued another order further extending certain District and Superior Court filing deadlines and limitations periods into June 2020.  Until this order was issued, these deadlines were set to expire this Friday, April 17, pursuant to Justice Beasley’s March 19 order. The key provisions of the latest order are below.

Extension of Time and Periods of Limitation

  • All pleadings, motions, notices, and other documents and papers due to be filed in any county on or after March 16, 2020 and before the close of business June 1, 2020 in civil actions, criminal actions, estates, and special proceedings shall be deemed to be timely filed if filed before the close of business on June 1, 2020.
  • All “other acts that were or are due to be done” in any county on or after March 16, 2020 and before the close of business on June 1, 2020 in civil actions, criminal actions, estates, and special proceedings will be timely if done before close of business on June 1, 2020.
  • This order does not apply to filings or acts due in the N.C. Appellate Courts.
  • As reiterated by Chief Business Court Judge Bledsoe’s April 14, 2020 Order, Chief Justice Beasley’s April 13, 2020 Order applies to all actions pending before the N.C. Business Court.

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What are all those dates again? And another extension from Justice Beasley

By Jessi Thaller-Moran

I know it is difficult keeping track of all the moving dates and deadlines. For your convenience, here is a chart with all the current extensions. Below the chart is an update about Justice Beasley’s latest order pushing out state trial court proceedings into June.

 

 

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COVID-19 Criminal Justice Update (Apr. 1, 2020)

By Daniel Adams 

With coronavirus infections multiplying exponentially around the globe, countries, states, and localities are taking action to slow the spread. This update does not attempt to recount all that has changed since my last post. In particular, I do not catalogue all the state and local stay-at-home orders that have been enacted—though the North Carolina Judicial Branch’s COVID-19 Resource Page appears to have aggregated them all. Rather, I focus just on recent developments involving North Carolina state and federal courts and of particular interest to criminal justice practitioners.

[Note: This post was updated on April 3, 2020, as reflected below.]

NC State Courts

As reported earlier, Chief Justice Cheri Beasley previously entered an order extending filing deadlines and certain limitations periods in the trial courts through April 17, 2020. After some initial debate about whether Justice Beasley’s order applied in the Business Court, Chief Business Court Judge Louis Bledsoe answered that question in the affirmative, by order entered May 23. There was no doubt that Justice Beasley’s March 19 order did not apply to filings due in the appellate courts. Late last week, however, Justice Beasley entered another order extending all appellate court deadlines that fall between March 27 and April 30, 2020, for 60 days. The March 27 order also encourages electronic filing and credits back secure-leave scheduled in April and May 2020.

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More Judicial Updates on COVID-19 (Mar. 19, 2020)

By Daniel Adams 

North Carolina’s courts have taken further steps to address the impact of COVID-19 on the court system.

North Carolina Supreme Court

The Supreme Court will not be holding travel sessions in April or May. Cases previously scheduled for April or May may still be heard, at the litigants’ option:

 

  1. Via WebEx the week of May 4 at a specific date and time set by the Court,
  2. At a later date, or
  3. The matter may be decided on the briefs

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Fight Hunger, Help Others in the COVID-19 Pandemic – Participate in the Legal Feeding Frenzy and Support Your Local Food Bank!

Michele Livingstone

Will Quick

By Michele Livingstone and Will Quick

We are in unprecedented times with COVID-19 (Coronavirus).  It is now more important than ever that we help our neighbors and those who are not as fortunate. I am confident that each of you is doing your part.

Even in the best of times, however, over 1.5 Million North Carolinians struggle with hunger—of those, nearly half a million are children. With public schools and many religious and nonprofit organizations that traditionally serve the food insecure in our communities being closed for indefinite periods, and government leaders calling for social distancing to help limit the spread of Coronavirus, that need is never more pressing than now.

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Judicial Updates on COVID-19

By Daniel Adams 

Criminal Justice Section members should pay close attention to rapidly developing guidance from state and federal courts concerning COVID-19. The most recent guidance is summarized below, and the relevant orders are linked. Please also check with your local courts to track developments affecting you and your clients; as of 11:00 a.m. Monday, March 16, 2020, 16 counties were reporting court closings and/or advisories.

 

NC State Courts

Chief Justice Beasley entered an order on Friday, March 13 regarding the operation of the North Carolina court system.

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“Murder on Birchleaf Drive: Trial Strategy for True Crime Lovers”

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When Meredith Fisher discovered her sister Michelle’s brutally beaten and lifeless body on the floor of the master bedroom she shared with her husband Jason, a quest for justice began—one that would ultimately last 12 years and end in the murder conviction of Jason Lynn Young in a Wake County courtroom.

The compelling story is told in Murder on Birchleaf Drive by Poyner Spruill lawyer and NCBA member Steven B. Epstein.

The Jason Young murder case is also now the focus of a 3-hour CLE program Epstein will present on January 10 at the N.C. Bar Center titled “Murder on Birchleaf Drive: Trial Strategy for True Crime Lovers.

Click here to access brochure.  Click here to register.

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The Year Ahead, from Your New Criminal Justice Section Chair

By George P. Doyle

When I think of those who came before me, I must say that it is a great honor for me to serve as this year’s Chair of the Criminal Justice Section of the NCBA. Other Officers serving you this year are Vice-Chair Sherri Lawrence, a special Deputy Attorney General in the AG’s Office; Secretary Jennifer Martin, chief assistant District Attorney in Forsyth County; and Treasurer Kathleen Gleason, an assistant Federal Public Defender in the Middle District.

Immediate Past Chair Patrick Weede and Rob Heroy, co-Chairs of the CLE Committee, are already working hard to prepare for our annual meeting/CLE, which will be held on January 24, 2020 at the Bar Center in Cary. The topics will cover areas that impact your practice. The evening before is the Smith/Gilchrist Awards Dinner. I strongly urge you to attend this event. I promise you will leave the evening reminded of our noble calling and re-energized for the work ahead.

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