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Tag Archives: Criminal Defense

The view from the defense table (access required)

Man at work: Joe Cheshire in the lobby of the Wake County jail. Contributed photo

For decades, Raleigh lawyer Joe Cheshire has been one of North Carolina’s most successful and highest-profile criminal defense attorneys. He also has earned a reputation as one of the most respected lawyers in any field of practice. Lawyers Weekly writer David Donovan — until recently himself a practicing criminal defense lawyer — visited Cheshire in his Raleigh office to ask him to share his wisdom with readers.

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DAs’ PowerPoint budget presentation piques defense lawyers (access required)

Lawyers at Indigent Defense Services, the agency that provides representation to criminal defendants who can't afford attorneys, are fuming over claims by the state's prosecutors that the prosecution is getting the short end of the stick when it comes to state funding. The feud was sparked by a PowerPoint presentation given to legislators by the N.C. Conference of District Attorneys last month. During the presentation, the organization said legislators should consider sparing the district attorneys' offices from budget cuts and look for savings in the office of Indigent Defense Services instead, saying prosecutors were "outspent" every day in court.

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Border in the court! The battle for immigrant protection in criminal cases (access required)

Immigration cases are often won in criminal court, or conversely, lost forever. Attorneys engaged in the defense of aliens cannot underestimate this fact. Sports fans might liken the criminal proceeding to a late touchdown to tie the game. The immigration court proceeding is the extra point for the win. The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Padilla v. Kentucky makes clear that defense attorneys can no longer ignore the issue. We are required to give affirmative advice, and anything less constitutes ineffective assistance.

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Cuisine Bourgeoise: In re: Justice, Mecklenburg style

I'm no expert, but the ol' law degree, etc., is supposed to confer a better understanding of the law and legal procedure than what our profession calls the laity, a wholly inappropriate name, I believe, for Jane and John Doe. When it comes to trying to explain what justice is, why, I'm just as clueless as Jane and John, and rightfully.

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Appeals court upholds dismissal for man who fought with police (access required)

Dismissal of charges against a man who scuffled with police outside the Wilkesboro post office have been upheld by the Court of Appeals in an unpublished opinion. Defense attorneys repeatedly asked for a video capturing Paul Douglas Absher's processing at the Wilkes County jail following his arrest. Winston-Salem attorney John C. Vermitsky (pictured) said the opinion is meaningful "because what ends up happening in a lot of district court criminal cases - most often in DWI cases involving dashboard cameras -is that the tape gets wiped over or it isn't preserved."

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Coach’s Corner: ‘Not proven’ is the constitutional key in criminal verdicts

By ED POLL, Special to Lawyers Weekly edpoll@lawbiz.com   Recent press reports have discussed the fact that Lance Armstrong’s LiveStrong Foundation is suffering in its donation efforts because of the continuing controversy about allegations that Armstrong took banned substances while ...

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Discovery abuse is one of the biggest problems in civil litigation (access required)

H. Gerald Beaver is a senior partner with Beaver, Holt, Sternlicht and Courie in Fayetteville. A native of Albemarle, Beaver received his law degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1973. He spent two years as a public defender for the 12th Judicial District before entering private practice in 1975.

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Double-murder trial brings discovery statute into focus (access required)

A homicide investigator's handwritten notes have become the focus of what some attorneys are calling the biggest murder trial in Charlotte in a decade. The case, State v. Montgomery, involves the killing of two Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers in 2007. Attorney Bill Powers of Charlotte-based Powers McCartan said if police officers and prosecutors don't turn over their entire file, except for work product, they may be subject to sanctions. Powers is not involved in Montgomery.

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A decade in, IDS goes from controversial to institutional (access required)

Ten years ago, North Carolina's criminal justice system was in the Dark Ages. Today, it's seen the light. That's according to Raleigh defense attorney Joe Cheshire V, who still applauds the General Assembly for establishing an office to oversee the legal representation of the state's poorest defendants in 2000. The Office of Indigent Defense Services was created to fix "a criminal justice system that had absolutely no structure," said Cheshire, who served on the study group that recommended the agency's creation and is now IDS Commission chair.

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