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WHAT JUST HAPPENED? A Guide To Dispositions In North Carolina Appellate Opinions

Three judge bench

Most lawyers, upon learning that a case on appeal has been decided, immediately flip (or scroll) to the last page of the opinion to see the result. Reading the analysis can wait.  The disposition determines whether you are going to enjoy calling your client with the news.

But other than telling you that you won or lost on appeal, what do the different disposition statements mean?  Case dispositions can

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Help Wanted: Bryan Boyd Resigns As Supreme Court Clerk To Return To Academia

Supreme Court Clerk Bryan Boyd recently tendered his resignation—meaning the North Carolina Supreme Court has likely begun its hunt for the Court’s sixteenth Clerk of Court.

Bryan’s resignation was precipitated by the siren song of his first love: legal education. As noted previously, Bryan was recognized by the student body three times as its outstanding professor of the year during his tenure at Campbell University School of Law.

While at Campbell, Bryan worked closely

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What Can You Argue to a Jury About a Witness’ Credibility? North Carolina Supreme Court Provides Some Guidance

Court Witness

Memo to trial lawyers in North Carolina: Do not tell the jury that a witness is a liar.  And you also shouldn ‘t imply that opposing counsel and an opposing expert witness assisted that witness in committing perjury.

Such was the approach taken by the prosecution in a first-degree murder trial in Mecklenburg County. After the jury returned a guilty verdict on voluntary manslaughter, the Court of Appeals vacated the conviction and remanded for a new trial, holding that the State’ s characterization in closing arguments of the Defendant as a liar, and his counsel and expert witness as supporting his dishonesty, was “grossly improper,” and that the trial court should have intervened ex mero motu.  (See the Court of Appeals opinion in State v. Huey here). The Supreme Court

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You’re Invited: Court of Appeals 50th Anniversary Celebration

The annual dinner of the North Carolina Supreme Court Historical Society will honor the 50th anniversary of the Court of Appeals, and you are invited.  Mark your calendar for October 11 at the Pavilion at the Angus Barn, with cocktails at 6:00 and dinner at 7:00.

The annual dinner gives the bench and bar a chance to pause and honor the rich history of our appellate courts.  The event

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It Never Goes out of Style

The Appellate Rules Committee has updated the Appellate Style Manual, which is intended to give practical examples and tips for those practicing in North Carolina’s appellate courts.  Though not a substitute for the Rules themselves, it may be helpful to consult the style manual in light of the recent changes to the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure.

The revised version can be found here.


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Court of Appeals Extends Grace To Reach Merits of Appeal–Twice in the Same Day

Our appellate blogosphere has been filled with an unusual number of posts involving dismissed appeals. However, the North Carolina Court of Appeals on Tuesday bestowed leniency on two appeals, utilizing Appellate Rules 2 and 21 to reach the merits of both appeals.  Curious as to what justified this cheerful news?  Keep reading.

Sarno v. Sarno involved a family law appeal facing a potential fatal obstacle based on  bizarre procedural facts:

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