Engstrom recently delivered a talk to students and faculty at Central Carolina Community College in Sanford, North Carolina. The lecture focused on the relationship between overcriminalization and the administrative state.

Via CCCC Communications:

SANFORD - "Ignorance of the law is no excuse." It's a pithy historical saying everyone has heard and an assumption that still governs the American legal system.

But Elliot Engstrom, a practicing attorney and Fellow in the Elon University School of Law, believes that excessively broad legal interpretations have made it impossible for people to know what's legal or not. One result is what he calls "overcriminalization" -- when government agencies turn relatively harmless violations into far more serious crimes.

He made his case in "Overcriminalization and the Administrative State," Engstrom's presentation on March 29 at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center. The event was part of Central Carolina Community College's Liberty Lecture Series, free public talks highlighting ideas that expand freedom, liberty, and well-being for mankind.

Continue reading here.

#CentralCarolinaCommunityCollege #Sanford

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Citizens for Better Government of Beaufort County (CBG) have filed suit against the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners, alleging violations of North Carolina's Open Meetings Law. Engstrom is on the case supporting lead attorney Jonathan Strange of the Fayetteville-based Strange Law Firm. WCNT reports:

A group called Citizens for Better Government of Beaufort County (CBG) filed a lawsuit against the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners Thursday for what they called a violation of North Carolina’s Open Meetings law.

CBG claims the board illegally entered into closed sessions several times. In 2015, the group reports the commissioners closed meetings to the public four times.

The Strange Law Firm and Engstrom Law, PLLC are representing CBG in the suit.

“Decisions made in backrooms out of the public’s view are bad business,” said CBG Chairman Ray Leary. “The CBG originated as the “Stop the Jail Committee”. As we worked on that issue we came to realize that the problem was not so much the bad decision on the jail as it is the culture that has developed with the County Commission to make their decisions outside of their public meetings. This interferes with the Board’s accountability to the public.”

Leary said they have repeatedly tried to get the board to comply with the open meetings law. The suit seeks an injunction requiring commissioners comply with the open meetings law.

Learn more here.

#OpenMeetings #BeaufortCounty #JonathanStrange

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The United States Supreme Court recently ruled that judges have the discretion to consider a lengthy mandatory minimum sentence when crafting the length of consecutive sentences for other convictions for a particular defendant. Engstrom discussed the decision with Becca Heilman of The Daily Tar Heel:

“The question was, when you have a consecutive sentence — where you have one after the other, and the first one is a very large mandatory minimum — can the courts shorten the second one taking into account the very, very long mandatory minimum?” said Elliot Engstrom, a lawyer and fellow at Elon Law School.

Theoretically, mandatory minimums are used as a disincentive to commit certain crimes by punishing those who commit them more harshly, Engstrom said. But he said the downside of this concept is that the punishment might not always fit the crime.

“Traditionally, courts have a lot of flexibility when imposing sentences because courts are there — their boots are on the ground and they know the specific facts of the case,” he said. “Because they know the particular facts of the case, they can put together the most just sentence. Mandatory minimums are an attempt to take some of that flexibility away.”

Read the entire article here.

#DailyTarHeel #UnitedStatesSupremeCourt #Sentencing

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