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A Tale of Two Courts: Settling In After a Season of Change

Students of history will remember a bygone era known as late 2018, when Mark Martin was Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, the median judge on the shrinking Court of Appeals was elected in 2012, and your parents had purchased enough CDs to elevate the quaint twangs of Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line to the top of the country music charts. In just a few short months, …Read More

Supreme Court Now Welcomes Amicus Filings at the Petition Stage

It’s been a hot topic for years: does the North Carolina Supreme Court want to hear from amici when the Court is weighing whether to allow discretionary review of a decision of the Court of Appeals? You can see why amicus participation would be helpful. In North Carolina, one statutory pathway to discretionary review is showing that “the subject matter of the appeal has significant public interest.” N.C. Gen. Stat. …Read More

Petition Allowed: The Beasley Court Adds Its First Discretionary Cases

The Supreme Court released a batch of orders today, denying review in many cases (as usual) but also granting review in six cases. These six grants—the first from the new Beasley Court—cover issues ranging from federal immigration enforcement by local law enforcement agencies to defamation and Batson challenges. First up are the habeas petitions of two immigrants detained by the sheriff of Mecklenburg County. In Chavez v. Carmichael, the petitioners …Read More

Cheri Beasley Sworn in as 29th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina

Cheri Beasley took the formal oath today at her investiture ceremony, becoming the 29th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina and the first African-American woman to hold the post. As over a thousand spectators looked on—in person in the Supreme Court courtroom and by video feed in the Court’s History Room, the State Capitol building, and First Baptist Church—Chief Justice Beasley accepted the mantle to lead our …Read More

Can an Appellate Judge’s Vote Count After Death or Retirement?

Suppose an appellate judge casts the deciding vote in a case, creating a majority in support of the lead opinion.  Before the opinion is released, however, the judge retires or dies.  Does his or her vote still count? In federal court, no.  In a North Carolina appellate court, yes. In Yovino v. Rizo, issued today, the United States Supreme Court considered this question for the first time.  In this Equal …Read More

The Court of Appeals Might Not Shrink After All

After two years of uncertainty about the future of the Court of Appeals, there appears to have been a breakthrough.  Yesterday, a bill was introduced by Republicans in the North Carolina Senate that would preserve the size of the Court of Appeals at 15 members.  If the bill becomes law–and I expect it will–the drama surrounding the court shrinkage may end as abruptly as it began. In April 2017, House Bill 239 …Read More

Justice Cheri Beasley Named the Next Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court

Governor Cooper has named Associate Justice Cheri Beasley to be the next Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court.   Justice Beasley will assume the post upon the retirement of Chief Justice Mark Martin at the end of this month. Justice Beasley brings experience from three judicial levels to the post:  the district court, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court itself. We look forward to this next chapter …Read More

Supreme Court Reaffirms That Non-Constitutional Sentencing Arguments Are Automatically Preserved for Appellate Review

In October 2018, I gave a CLE presentations with (now recently sworn in) Judge Allegra Collins: “Life Preservers on the Titanic: Issues Not Properly Preserved for Appellate Review.”  Part of the presentation posed this question: Can the General Assembly enact a rule or law that automatically preserves certain issues for appellate review?  At the time, the answer to that question was as follows: Yes.  See Duke Power Co. v. Winebarger, …Read More

Supreme Court Cancels December Arguments

Clerk of the Supreme Court of North Carolina Amy Funderburk announced by e-mail Friday that December oral arguments in the Supreme Court will be postponed until after the new year. Such schedule changes are the norm in election years.  It is common practice for the Court not to hold oral arguments between election day and December 31 in years in which an incumbent is leaving the Court.  In 2016, for example, the Court …Read More

Appellate Social & CLE–Sept. 27 and 28

It’s fall, and you know what that means.  Football!  Oops, I mean, The Annual NCBA Appellate Section CLE! There are lots of ways to get plugged in to the appellate community this week: Appellate Social.  Bench and bar alike are invited to mingle at Raleigh Times from 5pm to 7pm tomorrow, Thursday, September 27.   Share your favorite functus officio story over a cold beverage; make new friends and reconnect with …Read More