Articles Posted in Charlotte Events

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J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?”

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police office Randall Kerrick avoided conviction on manslaughter charges last week when the North Carolina jury deadlocked, forcing the judge presiding over the case to declare a mistrial. Experts say it is unclear how prosecutors will move forward, whether they will bring Kerrick up on similar charges a second time or consider other options.

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Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: What are the long term effects of being convicted of a crime?

 

Former Charlotte mayor Patrick Cannon found himself back in federal court in Charlotte last Thursday, where he faced the same federal district court judge who sentenced him to 44 months in prison last month.

Ballot Box Charlotte Mecklenburg DWI Lawyer North Carolina Criminal AttorneyJudge Frank Whitney told Cannon he embarrassed the city by accepting bribes in the mayor’s office and then embarrassed the city again by voting in this year’s elections.

Cannon cast his votes on October 30 at Community House Middle School, records show. In the State of North Carolina, persons convicted of felonies are ineligible to vote.

The United States Attorney argued that Cannon was a sophisticated voter and should have known that he had been stripped of his voting rights. The government asked that Cannon’s bond be revoked and that he be placed in custody immediately.

Judge Whitney agreed that Cannon had violated the terms of his bond but declined to place Cannon in immediate federal custody. Instead, Cannon will be fitted with an electronic monitoring device and will be confined under house arrest until he reports to a minimum security federal prison in West Virginia at the end of the year.

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J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can I be arrested without evidence against me?”

 

Bill Stevenson became the latest North Carolina magistrate to resign his post in the wake of court rulings that paved the way for same-sex marriages to being in the Tar Heel State. The Gaston County magistrate—like at least six others in the state—cited religious objections to same-sex marriage as the reason for his resignation.

Roy Cooper Charlotte Mecklenburg Criminal Lawyer North Carolina DWI AttorneyMagistrates, judges and clerks were warned by North Carolina’s Administrative Office of the Courts that if they refused to officiate same-sex weddings, they could be suspended, removed from office, or face criminal charges. Refusing to perform same-sex weddings, a memo warned, constituted a willful violation of a magistrate’s duty to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

The magistrates may be wondering exactly who is bound by the law, since the state’s highest law-enforcement official—Attorney General Roy Cooper—announced in July that he would not defend North Carolina’s State Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage. At the time, Cooper correctly predicted that the Amendment would be overturned, but it is undisputed that he instructed justice department attorneys to ignore then-existing law when he ordered them to “stop making arguments we will lose, and instead move forward.”

Cooper was not alone. At least seven other state attorneys general refused to enforce bans on same-sex marriage. In each case, the attorneys declared that state laws or state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage either violated the Constitution or created ethical conflicts for lawyers asked to defend the bans.

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Attorney J. Bradley Smith answering the question: “I was found not guilty of a charge, but my record still shows the charge?”

 

In a surprising and welcome move, Charlotte’s city manager, Ron Carlee, has said that the box that asks candidates to disclose their criminal histories will be removed from applications for most city jobs.

 

Pen and Paper Charlotte DWI Lawyer North Carolina Criminal Defense AttorneyThe announcement means that Charlotte joins a league of a growing number of cities across the country that has decided to “ban the box.” These cities include Minneapolis, Seattle and, closer to home, Durham. In each case, city governments decided it was not only better for job applicants, but for the city itself to eliminate the question about whether a person has a criminal record.

 

Opponents of the trend argue that by eliminating the question, it is possible that city government will employ those who pose serious dangers to their co-workers or even the public. These people believe that criminal records should definitively rule applicants out for jobs, seemingly forever.
Thankfully, these critics have not been able to sway the opinions of managers in places like Charlotte. Instead, supporters of “ban the box” efforts have convinced officials that ex-convicts desperately need work and that by eliminating all of those with criminal records from consideration, the city could wind up losing out on talented and qualified applicants.

 

Supporters point out that a mistake made years or even decades ago should not singlehandedly make a person unemployable for life. By implementing such rigid rules that come along with the box, cities lose out on talented individuals who are often highly qualified and merely looking for a chance to show their skill.

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Attorney J. Bradley Smith answering the question: “What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?”

A grand jury in Charlotte chose to indict a local cop on voluntary manslaughter charges for shooting and killing an unarmed man last September who had just been involved in a late night car accident.

 

Water Pitcher Charlotte DWI Lawyer North Carolina Criminal Defense AttorneyIt was revealed earlier today that Officer Randall Kerrick, 28, would now face formal criminal charges in connection with the fatal encounter that occurred late on September 14, 2013. The announcement was made after a different grand jury declined to indict Kerrick just last week on the same voluntary manslaughter charge. Kerrick’s attorney tried to block the second grand jury, asking a judge to deny the second hearing, arguing that giving prosecutors a second chance to pursue an indictment violated Kerrick’s rights. However, the judge allowed the second grand jury hearing to proceed.

 

Kerrick was a former animal control officer who had been on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police force for a little over three years. The grand jury heard evidence of how Kerrick fired 12 shots at Jonathan Ferrell, a 24-year-old former Florida A&M football player. Ferrell had been involved in a car accident earlier that evening and stumbled for a half-mile down the road before knocking on a woman’s front door. The young woman was home alone with her newborn child and was afraid Ferrell was there to break in.

 

Police officers, including Kerrick, arrived shortly after the woman called 911 and appeared to do so with their guns already drawn. Some have claimed that Kerrick and the other officers snuck up on Ferrell and failed to identify themselves as police officers. Ferrell was ultimately shot 10 times and died at the scene.

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Attorney J. Bradley Smith answering the question: “Should I talk to the police?”

An officer with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has been charged with voluntary manslaughter and is now in custody after authorities say he was involved in the fatal shooting of an unarmed man over the weekend.

Police Lights Charlotte North Carolina DUI DWI Criminal Defense Attorney Lawyer.jpgAccording to a spokesperson for the department, Officer Randall Kerrick, is now in custody after the victim, 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell, was killed during an encounter with police after wrecking his car. The police department conducted an investigation after the deadly shooting and determined Kerrick’s actions were excessive, saying that Kerrick did not have the authority to discharge his weapon during the encounter.

The deadly exchange began when Ferrell’s car crashed into the woods off Reedy Creek Road. The accident was a serious one and Ferrell was forced to crawl out the back windshield of his car. Police have not yet determined the cause of the crash or the severity of the injuries Ferrell sustained as a result. After escaping the wreckage, Ferrell walked to a nearby home, about a half-mile from the accident scene, where be banged on the door. The woman at home thought Ferrell was attempting to rob the house and called police.

Officer Kerrick, as well as two other police officers, arrived at the home a little after 2:30 a.m., believing they were responding to an attempted break-in. Authorities say after surrounding Ferrell, the man charged the officers with one person unsuccessfully firing a Taser at Ferrell. After the Taser missed, Kerrick opened fire 12 times, shooting Ferrell 10 times and killing him almost immediately.

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According to a recent article on the Huffington Post, a 21-year-old Charlotte man was arrested by the Secret Service for posting threatening messages about President Barack Obama on Twitter during the Democratic National Convention (DNC). The man has been charged in a felony criminal complaint accusing him of threatening the president’s life in five tweets published on September 3, 2012.

Authorities have said that the North Carolina resident, Donte Jamar Sims, was detained towards the end of the Democratic National Convention. Sims posted several messages on Twitter including one that clearly stated, “Ima Assassinate president Obama this evening!” on Labor day which was just a few days before President Obama arrived in Charlotte for the beginning of the DNC. Later Sims tweeted, “Ima hit president Obama with that Lee Harvey Oswald swag.” Post #2 criminal image 9-8.jpgWhen a Twitter follower of Sims asked, “U serious??” in response to one of the Obama threats, Sims replied, “as a Heart Attack.”

When Secret Service investigators paid Sims a visit they say he told them he hated the president and was under the influence of marijuana when he made his statements. Initially investigators said he was smiling and uncooperative but his mood changed when he was told how serious the offense was. Once he heard he would be arrested for what he did he wrote an apology.

North Carolina court records show that Sims was arrested in March of this year on a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge. He was also picked up last June for marijuana possession, carrying an invalid driver’s license, and possessing drug paraphernalia.

Arnold & Smith, PLLC attorney, J. Bradley Smith, was consulted by Fox News Charlotte on this story. According to Mr. Smith, he does not believe this was something Sims intended to carry out but instead”…he was doing something foolish, trying to get attention and well he sure got it.”

Given the severity of this alleged crime, it is certainly important that Sims look for experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney. For this charge, Sims could face up to five years in prison.

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According to a report out of WBTV, the recently released After-Action Report by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police revealed a relatively sedate Democratic National Convention (DNC) took place this year in Charlotte; certainly calmer than authorities had feared.

Charlotte Police consider their presence during the Convention a success, pointing out that there were no major incidents in Center City or any of the other 12 patrol divisions in the department. Post #1 criminal image 9-6.jpg

This doesn’t mean the festivities went off without a hitch, as there were several demonstrations in the city throughout the week. These gathering did cause a few disruptions of both pedestrians and traffic, but nothing major was reported. Given the huge crowds that descended upon Charlotte for the week, the scant 25 arrests made during the week of the DNC were much less than some feared.

Charlotte police officials have announced that all but one of those arrested lives outside the Charlotte area. Their After-Action Report broke down the arrest incidents, including the number and cause of each. They included:

• 16 arrests for impeding traffic
• 3 arrests for disorderly conduct
• 2 arrests for failure to disperse
• 1 arrest for breaching a police line
• 1 arrest for dispersal of noxious substance
• 1 arrest for carrying a concealed weapon
• 1 arrest for damage to property
The police report credits the overall success of the Convention to the department’s cooperation with the Secret Service as well as a host of other regional emergency operations departments.

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Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officials have said that they will be boosting their jail staff by upwards of 30% and have double or triple the number of magistrates on duty in preparation for a possible huge increase in the number of arrests during the Democratic National Convention.

Local officials have said that as many as 10,000 protesters are expected to arrive in Charlotte if past conventions are a guide. A major protest march currently planned for September 2nd could be the largest in Charlotte’s history. The major march will not be the only event that authorities have to contend with as many other smaller marches and rallies are already planned throughout the week of the convention. As a result, the police have announced a heavy police presence throughout downtown and along protest routes.
Another factor that will complicate matters for police is the recent closure of the uptown arrest processing center. The facility was closed due to scheduled renovations and will not reopen until some time in 2013, too late to be of any use for the DNC. DNC Charlotte Convention Logo 8.17.jpgAs a result, all those arrested will have to be transported to the Spector Drive center which is located north of town.

In addition to the increase in personnel, there will also be a shift in the way police resources are allocated. Sheriff’s officers will be moved from their posts at the uptown courthouse to increase staffing at other important sites. The Mecklenburg County Courthouse will be open during the week of the convention, but no criminal trials will be held and only a few courtrooms will be operating. Sherriff’s officers will also not be permitted to take vacations during the week of the convention.

At the Spector Drive processing center between two and four magistrates typically work shifts. During the week of the DNC that number will jump to between six and eight. Magistrates too will not be allowed to take days off and everyone will be on call if the need arises for even more staff.
Police have said that they will try to give warnings and allow protestors space to voice their frustration. The focus of arrests will be on individuals where people are being hurt and property is being damaged. Those who pose no danger to others may just be issued citations so officers don’t have to leave their patrol and have valuable time eaten up at the arrest processing center.

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According to a recent report on WISTV, Charlotte police are ready for the thousands of protestors that will surely descend on the city during the Democratic National Convention in early September. The police department has added thousands of officers from outside departments and spent millions on training, equipment and temporary barriers. All that plus the very helpful layout of the city should ensure the police have the upper hand on any rowdy visitors.

The city’s geography should help police as the convention will take place in the heart of the business district which is flat and surrounded by interstate. charlotte dnc 8.17.12.jpgThe police will easily be able to surround and secure protestors should the need arise. Police Chief Rodney Monroe says he’s ready to do what needs to be done to keep the city calm and says that if protestors start agitating people he won’t hesitate to take action.

Charlotte has spent some $50 million in federal money to buy new equipment and train officers. The city sent 100 officers to Chicago during the NATO conference earlier this summer to get a feel for what things might be like when the DNC comes to town. The city will also add some 3,000 officers from outside to help boost its existing force of 1,750 officers. Temporary concrete barriers along with 9-foot-high steel fences will spring up across town and serve as a way to manage crowds at key locations in the city.

More than spending money, the city is passing laws that will allow for a possible crackdown. Charlotte adopted a measure in January of this year that would allow the creation of designated spaces for people to gather during large events and prevent them from carrying backpacks or other items in those spaces. The City Council passed new security rules for what it referred to as “extraordinary events,” a label which has been applied not only to the DNC, but also to shareholder meetings for Duke Energy and Bank of America. The rules will permit searches of backpacks, briefcases, messenger bags, and carry-on luggage. Grounds for potential immediate arrest are possession of spray paint, hammers, crowbars, utility knives, padlocks, lumber, and permanent markers.

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