Legal Blog2018-05-25T11:56:30-04:00
804, 2018

Character Evidence Rule 404

Categories: Uncategorized|

CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION CHARACTER EVIDENCE WAKE COUNTY ACADEMY OF CRIMINAL TRIAL LAWYERS WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11, 2017 PRESENTED BY JOHN McWILLIAM   RULE 404: CHARACTER EVIDENCE NOT ADMISSIBLE TO PROVE CONDUCT; EXCEPTIONS; OTHER CRIMES   Character Evidence Generally. Evidence of a person’s character or a trait of his character is not admissible for the purpose of proving that he acted in conformity therewith on a particular occasion except: (1)  Character of Accused.  Evidence of a pertinent trait of his character offered by: an accused, or by the prosecution to rebut the [...]

401, 2018

DWI License Suspensions, Limited Driving Privileges and Interlocks

Categories: Uncategorized|

In North Carolina, a  first-offense conviction of Driving While Impaired will result in a suspension of your driver's license for at least one year.  Most people convicted of a first-offense DWI will be eligible for a limited driving privilege allowing them to drive for work-related and household-maintenance purposes during that year. But, of course, there are exceptions - this is the law, after all, and we all know what Charles Dickens said about the law. This post deals with the interlock (or "blow-and-go") requirement that some people are subject to [...]

1912, 2017

Rugby Players Make Great Trial Lawyers

Categories: Uncategorized|

Oh! And wouldn't you know it, I'm a rugby player.  Well, I was. But only for about 35 years.  Now, I just coach the greatest sport on earth - "the game they play in heaven." So why do I make this bold claim that rugby players make great trial lawyers? Because I'm a great trial lawyer? No.  I am. But that would be illogical.  If A then B; A therefore B -  that's logical.  If A then B; B therefore A - that's illogical.  All rugby players make great trial [...]

2710, 2016


Categories: Uncategorized|

It takes balls to be a witness. Hello, my adoring millions.  After my un-asked-for hiatus (Wordpress locked me out), I'm back!  So I thought, rather than grab you by the P#*%%y, Trump-style, I'd grab your attention instead with this titillating title (do you know how to titillate an ocelot? You oscillate its a tit lot). Where does the word "testimony" or its etymological fellow bawbag-dweller "testify" come from?  And why do these words resemble the word "testicle"?  - "I resemble that remark, said the testicle to the witness" - and, [...]

2907, 2016

Cops & Fishing Expeditions

Categories: The Police|

A man is stopped for not wearing a seat belt and busted on drug charges. What constitutes probable cause. Does the end justify the means? You tell us.

507, 2016


Categories: Uncategorized|

YET ANOTHER ASSAULT ON OUR RIGHTS While the Republican majority in the North Carolina Legislature might be composed of Tea Party bigots appealing to their Neanderthal base, they’re not completely stupid.  They know how to whip the ignorant mob (who would actually benefit from progressive policies) into an indignant frenzy – all the while keeping that mob poor, ignorant and self-destructive.  They know how to divide and conquer.  They know that fear and bigotry wrapped up in the American flag, the christian bible and  “protecting  our women and children” [...]

2605, 2016

HB2: What a Disgrace

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Posted on March 28, 2016 by John McWilliam REPUBLICANS: YOUR MASTERS ARE NOT HAPPY WITH YOU BUT PHIL ROBERTSON LOVES YOU. In case you missed it, my fellow freedom-fighters, last Wednesday, the Tea Party leadership in the North Carolina Legislature called a special session of the General Assembly at a cost of about $42,000.00 of North Carolina tax-payer money.  What crisis, you may inquire; what dire eventuality must we forestall, you may ask, that would require all of the State’s legislators to drop everything and rush back to Raleigh?  An [...]

2602, 2016

Moral Monday Round Two

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Moral Monday Round Two This week I was privileged to represent two defendants from the most recent Moral Monday arrests at the North Carolina General Assembly’s Rotunda (North Carolina’s Forum ,if you will) .  These two cases were the first cases that the State of North Carolina called for trial stemming from the 2015 Moral Monday demonstrations against the Tea Party legislation spewing out of the North Carolina General Assembly.  My clients were charged with second degree trespass upon the General Assembly building and violating that building’s fire code.  [...]

1402, 2016


Categories: Uncategorized|

NON-STATUTORY AGGRAVATING FACTORS AND DOUBLE JEOPARDY (THANKS TO THE LATE ANTONIN SCALIA FOR ACTUALLY PENNING SOME DECISIONS THAT WERE CORRECT.  R.I.P., I GUESS.) The following is based on actual events. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental (How do these two disclaimers live with each other?) As we all know, there is no such thing as a non-statutory aggravating factor (see previous blogs on this subject).  And here’s a wonderful example of how the finding of a non-statutory aggravating factor can hurt the State. Danny [...]

2501, 2016


Categories: Uncategorized|

BLOOD TESTS ADMISSIBILITY GOVERNING CHEMICAL ANALYSES; ADMISSIBILITY; EVIDENTIARY PROVISIONS; CONTROLLED DRINKING PROGRAMS A 1. 20-139.1(c1) ADMISSIBILITY A. NOTICE AND DEMAND. 1. WHEN THE STATE WANTS THE EVIDENCE INTRODUCED. NCGS 20-139.1(c1) is the notice and demand requirement that exists for the purpose of curing the confrontation clause problem facing the State when it wants to introduce something into evidence – in this case a blood test result – without producing the witness to testify about it. Specifically, this statute lays out the method for the State to introduce the [...]

2101, 2016


Categories: Uncategorized|

CHECKPOINTS ARE TERRIBLE. IF YOU’RE A CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER AND YOU’RE NOT CHALLENGING CHECKPOINTS, YOU’RE NOT A CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER. 1. INTRODUCTION Challenging checkpoints requires, initially, a two-prong analysis: first, the checkpoint’s constitutionality on its face; and, second, its constitutionality as applied. The mistake that many defense lawyers make is looking at the checkpoint’s plan, seeing nothing wrong with it and abandoning the facial argument. You cannot know if the checkpoint plan is constitutional on its face until you have questioned the checkpoint supervisor – or someone – [...]

1101, 2016


Categories: Uncategorized|

SOME THINGS ARE WORTH REPEATING NON-STATUTORY AGGRAVATING FACTORS There is no such thing as a non-statutory aggravating factor. I repeat: There is no such thing as a non-statutory aggravating factor. All together now: There is no such thing as a non-statutory aggravating factor. NCGS 20-179(d)(9): “Any other factor that aggravates the seriousness of the crime.” This is the catch-all under the DWI sentencing statute. This innocuous-looking language at the bottom of the list of all the specific grossly aggravating and aggravating factors is in fact a hugely dangerous [...]

301, 2016


Categories: Uncategorized|

HAPPY NEW (RELIGION-FREE)YEAR My hopes for 2016, my loyal followers, are for a year in which secularism replaces sectarianism, sanity replaces stupidity, reason replaces religion. 2015 has been a fascinating year. It has highlighted the blight on our country of senseless gun-violence. While people are being killed daily by guns that are not for hunting and exist for the sole purpose of killing people, the National Rifle Association – an organization that once advocated for sensible gun-control – uses its huge lobbying power to prevent any meaningful discussion [...]

2709, 2015

Rugby World Cup 2015

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Rugby World Cup 2015 My take on the RWC2015 so far. After my initial disgust over the banning of bagpipes at all of the RWC venues, I decided to adopt the measured and philosophic attitude of the Scottish players. But I will comment: I started going to Scottish rugby International rugby matches in the mid 1970’s, and have been watching rugby games live and on television all my life. The sound of the bagpipes has always been a part of the Scottish rugby scene just as it is [...]

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