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Attorney Carilyn Ibsen's Blog

about Criminal Defense in North Carolina and South Carolina

 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

DWI Checkpoints in Charlotte

CMPD conducted two DWI/DUI checkpoints in the past 48 hours, one in the South Charlotte area on South Tryon/Highway 49. This location is close to my office. Several things caught my attention about this checkpoint. First, it was strategically placed to make it very difficult to turn around without law enforcement seeing it very easily. The legal issue raised is whether the police have grounds to initiate a traffic stop of a person after they have turned away from a checkpoint. Also, this location is very close to several drinking establishments- The Town of Ayrsley, where my office is located, is very close to the location of one of the checkpoints and has several restaurants/bars that serve alcohol. The checkpoint ran from 11am-3 am, peak times when people leave bars to go home.

Safe to assume with spring arriving, more checkpoints will be set up throughout spring and summer months. Drive Safely.


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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Illegal Burger

This post has little criminal law relevance, if any relevance, but for those who love a good burger, I felt obligated to post. Contrary to the opinion often recited in local restaurants, it is against state regulations for a restaurant to prepare a burger rare in North Carolina. Firebirds Restaurant, for example, grinds its own meat. I have known people to order a rare burger at this restaurant under the 'grind your own meat' premise. The North Carolina Administrative Code forbids it. For those who have nothing better to do, click here to read the regulation.

Thank you Kathleen Purvis for clearing this up in today's Observer. We will have to consume the rarest of burgers in the privacy of our own home.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cash in Colorado

I stumbled upon this and was shocked by what I read. Colorado District Attorney Carol Chambers designated money from an office surplus fund to be used to provide cash bonuses to prosecutors who obtain a certain yearly conviction rate after trial. Putting aside the fact that any government office has a 'surplus fund' in light of current economic conditions, this is a very dangerous road to go down. So much so, that even fellow prosecutors are quoted in the article and question the reasoning behind the policy. Denver District Attorney Mitch Morriessey commented on the unintended consequences of the policy:
"I would worry that if something is tied to a conviction rate, a deputy wouldn't try a hard case that required a trial. We want people trying cases that need to be tried."

Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett states:
If you're to seek justice and yet your pay is based on the number of cases you take to trial or your conviction rate, then it clouds your discretion. They have an incentive not to make a reasonable disposition if they need one more trial or another conviction in order to get a bonus.
One of the most important jobs of both a prosecutor and a defense attorney is being able to competently evaluate what cases should go to trial. I have often said a sign of a good prosecutor is one that actually looses cases- it's easy to take cases to trial that have no issues.  In Colorado that will get you a bonus.

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Gang of One

There is an article in today's Charlotte Observer about the Gang of One program. They do a lot of good work with juveniles.They have worked with a number of my clients with successful results. Parents have appreciated the education they provide about the gang culture. Among all the budget cuts that have taken place and that will likely continue, I hope this program stays around. I appreciate Ray Wilson's comment in the article:
"We work with them and build that rapport. We've been with them when they're down in the dumps and they see you're putting together the effort that no one else has done with them.. You can't fool the kids. They've had enough disappointment in their life". 
I have blogged about the amount of work juvenile cases require.

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

A New Name In Town

Governor Purdue signed a new law into effect this week that changes the name of the State Bureau of Investigation. Now called the North Carolina Crime Laboratory, the agency will have to meet higher standards than before in an attempt to "raise the competency, integrity and standards at the lab".  Read about the controversy here.


This news prompted me to see what other organizations have changed their names to hide from bad reputations. Here are some:

  1. Blackwater to Xe- This resulted from the government's use of a private organization for military purposes in Iraq. 
  2. Phillip Morris to Altria- the name was changed after a lawsuit over a women's death. 
  3. ValuJet to Airtran- This occurred after a plane crash that killed all 110 people on board. 
  4. WorldCom to MCI
  5. Andersen Consulting to Accenture- this was actually changed before any controversy. They were forced to change their name after a branch of the company split from Andersen Accounting. It helped them in the end when the original Andersen Accounting was discredited in the Enron scandal. 
Let me know if you know of others. 

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