Articles Tagged with criminal justice

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Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question:”What is an expungement?”

Most people do not spend time worrying about things like the discovery process. It is legalistic and confusing to those not familiar with the criminal justice system. Though it can be complicated, it is incredibly important and worth understanding. Discovery is meant to shed light on evidence, creating transparency in a justice system that can, at times, be troublingly opaque. As a recent article in the New York Times demonstrates, the discovery process can sometimes go wrong and, when it does, it can have serious consequences.

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Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?”

A commonly repeated trope of the criminal justice system is that lady justice is blind. We say this because we hope that all are treated fairly before the law. The hope is that only evidence, cold hard facts, play a role in determining guilt or innocence, not a person’s money, family, background, race, or looks. Though there are reasons to doubt how true this is in practice, especially in years past, it’s been an ideal worth striving for. A recent study appears to indicate that there is plenty of room left to strive, concluding that a person’s physical appearance can have an impact on criminal sentencing.

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Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “If I am charged by campus police could I still face jail time or probation?”

It’s something relatively few people have experienced (thankfully), but if and when you do, the practice likely comes as a terrible surprise. Police, unbeknownst to many, have the right in many states to stop people and seize assets they believe might have some connection to a criminal act. These seizures can take place without first convicting a person of committing a crime and, in some cases, even without ever charging the person with a crime. The practice likely seems shocking given that it appears to run counter to one of the foundational ideas of the American criminal justice system: that all people should be treated as innocent until proven guilty.

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Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Should I ever plead guilty to a charge?”

Though there’s been surprisingly little coverage, experts say that this year appears to serve as yet more proof that American’s interest in using the death penalty as an instrument of criminal punishment may be in decline. There’s been no specific legal or legislative reason for the shift, but those who follow the issue closely say it’s clear  society has begun to change, slowly at first and now more quickly, leading to a potentially important evolution in the criminal justice system.

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Charlotte DWI and Criminal Defense Attorney J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What am I obligated to do if I’ve been pulled for Drinking and Driving?”

 

The United States Supreme Court is comprised of nine judges whose legal educations began at either Harvard or Yale. With the exception of Ruth Bader Ginsburg—who transferred to Columbia University School of Law—all nine obtained their law degrees from Harvard or Yale.

Police dog Charlotte Criminal Lawyer North Carolina DWI AttorneyThe (alleged) hoity-toity backgrounds of the justices—underscored in a January 22, 2015 Washington Post piece—came into laser focus in oral arguments in Rodriguez v. United States, according to Bloomberg News.

The issue in Rodriguez was whether police can use a dog to sniff for drugs around a vehicle during a routine traffic stop. Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman, who observed the arguments, suggested the “browbeating… conservatives” and “assist[ing]… liberals” on the court, through their questioning of lawyers for Rodriguez and the United States, revealed their ideological divides.

Those divides—and who the justices are—both Bloomberg and the Post suggested, are important issues that sometimes define and nearly always, at least, inform their decisions.

With respect to traffic stops, at least a few of the justices—unlike many high-profile political leaders who use professional drivers and have not driven a car in decades—actually have experience with roadway traffic. In 2011, Justice Antonin Scalia was cited after rear-ending a vehicle on George Washington Memorial Parkway. Justice Stephen Breyer was hit by a car while biking in 1993, proving he has at least had contact with an automobile.

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