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A 360° View of Criminal Justice (2024 Criminal Justice Section Annual Program)

8:25        Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:55        Welcome and Introductions

9:00        Underused Rules of Evidence

Cheryl Stein, Solo Practitioner, Washington, D.C.

During this session, a nationally known D.C.-based criminal lawyer shares advice on how to take advantage of two underutilized Rules of Evidence — Rule 201 (judicial notice) and Rule 106 (rule of completeness) — to win your next trial.

10:00      Break

10:10      Federal Magistrate Judges Panel

Magistrate Judge W. Carleton Metcalf, U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Asheville
Magistrate Judge Joi Elizabeth Peake, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, Winston-Salem
Magistrate Judge Kimberly A. Swank, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Greenville
Tanisha Palvia, Moore & Van Allen PLLC, Charlotte (Moderator)

This panel, featuring magistrate judges from across the state, focuses on the authority granted to them, their responsibilities, how they exercise their judicial judgment and differences across judicial districts.

11:10      Break

11:20      Lessons From the Alex Murdaugh Trial 3

Jim Griffin, Griffin Humphries, Forest Acres, SC

Hear reflections on the Murdaugh murder trial, including financial crime evidence under Rule 404(b), the client's decision to testify, jury tampering, and erosion of a defendant's right to a fair trial in high-exposure media cases.

12:20      Lunch Break

1:20        Navigating a Path Forward for IDS*

Judge Joseph "Joe" Crosswhite, NC Superior Court – District 22A, Raleigh
William R. "Rob" Heroy, Goodman Carr Laughrun Levine & Greene PLLC, Charlotte (Moderator)
Darrin Jordan, Whitley Jordan Inge & Rary P.A., Salisbury
Mary Pollard, Office of Indigent Defense Services, Durham

Indigent Defense Services (IDS) works to ensure that indigent persons in North Carolina who are entitled to counsel at state expense are afforded high quality legal representation, which is no surprise since NC Rule of Professional Conduct 1.1 requires lawyers to have "the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation." But many counties in North Carolina lack public defender officers, so are defendants in those counties receiving appropriate representation? This panel explores whether the current IDS system ensures competent and zealous representation of indigent defendants throughout the state.

2:20        Break

2:30        Sentencing Hearing: The New Trial

Elizabeth "Beth" Greene, Flannery Georgalis LLC, Charlotte

Given that most cases do not see trial, the sentencing hearing is critical. Drawing from her experience as a former federal and state prosecutor and a current criminal defense attorney, the speaker discusses sentencing concerns and provides insight from all sides on obtaining the best possible sentence for your client.

3:30        Break

3:40        "I Have Friends Who Did Less Time Than This for Murder": Navigating a High-Level Drug Trafficking Trial

Thomas Amburgey, Amburgey Law, Asheville
Justin Steen, State of North Carolina, Asheville

North Carolina statutes provide harsh mandatory minimum sentences for drug dealers who possesses, transport or sell drugs above a threshold weight. In cases where the State has an interest in targeting high-level distribution, defendants might face the functional equivalent of a life sentence where the laws may mandate a sentence of years or decades in prison. This session provides insight on navigating these high-stakes cases.

4:40        Adjourn

* Indicates portion providing Ethics/Professional Responsibility credit


This year's annual criminal law CLE brings a cast of well-rounded speakers, addressing all aspects of criminal law practice.


  • Thomas Amburgey

    Thomas Amburgey is the owner of Amburgey Law in Asheville. He is a former prosecutor and Board Certified Specialist in State Criminal Law. As an Assistant District Attorney for Buncombe County, he handled thousands of cases, ranging from speeding tickets to first-degree murder.

    Thomas is an AV Preeminent Peer Rated Lawyer from Martindale Hubbell, is listed in North Carolina Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America, and is continuously recognized through vote of his peers in Business North Carolina Legal Elite.

    Thomas earned his Bachelor's Degree in Corporate Finance, with a minor in Political Science, from East Tennessee State University and his J.D. from Appalachian School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Thomas.

  • Judge Joseph Crosswhite

    Judge Joseph Crosswhite serves in NC Superior Court – District 22A in Statesville.

    Joseph Crosswhite served in the United States Army with the JAG Corps and reached the rank of colonel. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and his J.D. from the University of South Carolina Law School.

    Click here for more information about Judge Crosswhite.

  • Elizabeth "Beth" Greene

    Elizabeth "Beth" Greene is a partner at Flannery Georgalis LLC in Charlotte. She is a former federal and state prosecutor with more than twenty years of experience as a trial attorney in high stakes litigation. She has served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Western District of North Carolina, as an Assistant District Attorney in Mecklenburg County, and as in-house counsel for one of the nation's largest mortgage lenders.

    Having tried more than 50 cases to verdict, and resolving hundreds more, Beth brings unique, cross-disciplinary experience to solving client problems across a wide spectrum of highly sensitive matters, including complex criminal matters in both federal and state court, False Claims Act violations, professional licensing, and other regulatory matters. She also conducts internal investigations for businesses, using her experience to effectively advocate on behalf of her clients.

    As a federal prosecutor with the United States Department of Justice, Beth served on the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. She prosecuted complex, multi-defendant federal cases involving conspiracy, murder, Hobbs Act robbery, financial crimes, money laundering, firearms offenses, and drug offenses. She was lead counsel on several national and transnational investigations and prosecutions involving narcotics, money laundering, and racketeering (federal criminal RICO) conspiracies, including prosecutions of members of the United Blood Nation and La Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13). As an AUSA, Beth received recognition for her work from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), including being lead prosecutor for the team awarded Outstanding Transnational Gang Investigation in 2015 by Homeland Security Investigations.

    As an ADA, Beth prosecuted a wide array of criminal cases involving narcotics and violent crimes. She prosecuted homicides exclusively for seven years, serving on the prosecution team of several high-profile cases and jury trials.

    As in-house counsel, Beth provided recommendations and advice to the company in resolving complex business litigation, investigations, and administrative complaints. She managed the company's litigation portfolio and conducted internal investigations.

    Beth earned her Bachelor's from the University of Virginia and her J.D. from Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Beth.

  • William R. "Rob" Heroy

    William R. "Rob" Heroy is a partner with Goodman Carr Laughrun Levine & Greene PLLC in Charlotte. He represents clients in criminal matters in state and federal courts both in Charlotte and throughout North Carolina. He handles high-stakes criminal matters such as white collar criminal charges and investigations, large-scale drug trafficking conspiracies, weapons violations, serious assaults, and homicides, and is not afraid of trial. He represents individuals who have been federally indicted or targeted in the Western, Eastern, and Middle Districts of North Carolina for drug and weapons charges, immigration offenses, and white collar crime. His work frequently involves representing individuals who are the subject of investigations who want to know their legal options and whether steps can be taken early on to protect themselves.

    Rob also represents individuals on a wide range of immigration matters with a focus on detention and removal. He primarily represents individuals in the Charlotte, Stewart and Atlanta Immigration courts, but on occasion conducts hearings in other courts throughout the country. Additionally, he represents detainees in the immigration courts and has challenged their detention through habeas corpus proceedings in both state and federal courts. In a number of cases, he has been able to obtain post-conviction relief for criminal convictions which have allowed his clients to remain in the country.

    Rob is licensed to practice before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the North Carolina Court of Appeals, the North Carolina Supreme Court, and the Board of Immigration Appeals. He has worked on criminal and immigration cases in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Louisiana, and Texas. His cases have been prominently featured in media including the L.A. Times, MSNBC, CNN, the Charlotte Observer, and Geraldo at Large. He was recently recognized in a novel by a nationally recognized journalist for his assistance in contributing to the knowledge of organized crime in the Charlotte area.

    Rob has presented at continuing legal educations seminars before other attorneys on the subject of immigration law. He was recently accepted as an expert witness in the area of immigration law in Mecklenburg County Superior Court.

    Rob is a professor at Charlotte School of Law, teaching in the areas of appellate practice and advanced criminal law.

    Click here for more information about Rob.

  • Jim Griffin

    Jim Griffin is a partner at Griffin Humphries in Forest Acres, SC. He is an accomplished trial lawyer and healthcare lawyer. He has more than 30 years of experience representing clients in civil and criminal courts at the federal and state level and representing healthcare providers in some of the most challenging of legal matters.

    In his criminal practice, Jim has been the lead trial counsel in a number of cases featured in national and state news publications, magazines and television programs. One of his criminal trials was broadcast on a popular television cable channel devoted to court trials, and his client was acquitted before a nationwide audience. He has also obtained multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements for clients in civil cases.

    Jim has extensive experience representing clients charged with federal crimes, such as mail and wire fraud, healthcare fraud, mortgage and securities fraud, public corruption, government contractor and procurement fraud, and criminal tax charges. He represents medical doctors, nurses, dentists and other licensed professionals charged with administrative violations.

    In his healthcare practice, Jim has been at the forefront of legal challenges facing healthcare providers. He was trial and appellate counsel for Tuomey Hospital in the landmark Stark/False Claims Act case, Drakeford v. Tuomey Hospital, 792 F.3d 364 (4th Cir. 2015). He also successfully challenged South Carolina's Medicaid payment practices on behalf of a Federally Qualified Healthcare Center, Genesis Health Care, Inc. v. Soura, 2017 WL 698610 (US Dist. SC 2017).

    Jim was one of the first attorneys in the Carolinas to advocate on behalf of physician groups for compensation from hospitals for providing on-call coverage in a hospital's emergency department. He has arbitrated disputes between physicians and hospitals before the American Healthcare Lawyers Association. He also has extensive experience in False Claims Act litigation on behalf of both whistleblowers and defendants in cases alleging violations of Stark and the Anti-Kickback Act, as well as upcoding and other billing improprieties.

    In 2018, Jim was honored by the South Carolina Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates as the “Trial Lawyer of the Year.” He is currently listed as a Premier Healthcare Attorney and South Carolina Super Lawyers® has recognized him for five (5) straight years for his work in the area of civil defense. He is rated AV Preeminent for the highest level of professional excellence by Martindale Hubbell.

    Jim earned his B.A. in Economics from Wake Forest University and his J.D. from University of South Carolina Joseph F. Rice School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Jim.

  • Darrin Jordan

    Darrin Jordan is a partner at Whitley Jordan Inge & Rary PA in Salisbury.

    Darrin has he has been a board-certified specialist in criminal law since 2004. He maintains a state and federal criminal law practice in Salisbury and he is admitted to the federal district courts in both the middle and western districts where he also is a member of the Criminal Justice Act Panel.

    Darrin was a member of the North Carolina State Bar Council representing Judicial District 19C from 2010–2018, during which time he served as chair of the Ethics and Communications Committees as well as the Lawyers Assistance Program Board.

    Darrin earned his B.A. from Catawba College and his J.D. from Campbell University School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Darrin.

  • Magistrate Judge W. Carleton Metcalf

    Magistrate Judge W. Carleton Metcalf is a United States Magistrate Judge for the Western District of North Carolina, with chambers in Asheville. Prior to taking the bench in 2018, he practiced law for over two decades with a firm headquartered in Asheville.

    Judge Metcalf is the chair of the Local Rules Advisory Committee for the Western District of North Carolina, a member of the district's Criminal Justice Act Panel Committee, and a member of the Federal Magistrate Judges' Association.

    Over the course of his career, Judge Metcalf has been active in numerous groups, including the Western District's Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and the Harry C. Martin American Inn of Court, and has been a frequent speaker and presenter at continuing legal education programs and other similar events.

    Born in Waynesville, Judge Metcalf holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was the 2015 recipient of the Professionalism Award given by the 28th Judicial District Bar.

    Click here for more information about Judge Metcalf.

  • Tanisha Palvia

    Tanisha Palvia is an attorney at Moore & Van Allen PLLC in Charlotte. She represents individuals and corporations facing white collar criminal prosecutions and governmental enforcement actions. She also manages and conducts internal investigations for various organizations, including financial institutions, private and public universities and schools, and medical providers, on a variety of sensitive issues, including Title IX, financial fraud, and labor and employment concerns.

    Before joining the firm, Tanisha was a partner at a regional law firm, where she focused her practice on white collar criminal defense, government investigations, internal investigations, and complex civil litigation. Previously, she spent five years in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in New York City where she prosecuted and tried a variety of criminal cases, ranging from financial to violent crimes.

    Tanisha earned her B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a Robertson Scholar, and her J.D., with honors, from Emory University School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Tanisha.

  • Magistrate Judge Joi Elizabeth Peake

    Magistrate Judge Joi Elizabeth Peake is a United States Magistrate Judge in the Middle District of North Carolina.

    Judge Peake assumed her current position with the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina in February 2012 and is in her tenth year as a United States Magistrate Judge. Locally, she recently served as the President of the Federal Bar Association for the Middle District of North Carolina, and currently serves as the Chair of the Local Civil Rules Committee. Nationally, she serves on the Board of Directors of the Federal Magistrate Judge's Association as the Fourth Circuit Director, and she also serves on the Administrative Office of the Courts Risk and Financial Management Advisory Council.

    After law school, Judge Peake served as a law clerk for the Honorable James A. Beaty, Jr., United States District Judge for the Middle District of North Carolina. She then practiced law for several years with Smith Helms Mulliss & Moore/Smith Moore Leatherwood, primarily in the areas of litigation, immigration, environmental law, and regulatory compliance. She subsequently returned to work with Judge Beaty during his tenure as Chief District Judge, with responsibility for both civil and criminal matters.

    Judge Peake earned her B.A. and B.S., magna cum laude, from Furman University in Greenville, SC. She earned J.D., with highest honors, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    Click here for more information about Judge Peake.

  • Mary Pollard

    Mary Pollard is the Executive Director of the Office of Indigent Defense Services in Durham. Her legal career spans 27 years, most of which she spent working to protect the rights of indigent, incarcerated people.

    Since 2009, Mary had served as executive director of North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services, Inc., which contracts with the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services to provide inmates incarcerated in the North Carolina Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice with their constitutional right of meaningful access to the courts. She represented incarcerated people in both post-conviction proceedings and in civil litigation involving unconstitutional conditions of confinement.

    From 1993 through 2002, Mary practiced civil litigation with the firm of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, working on cases that ranged from simple contract disputes to complex patent litigation and products liability matters.

    Mary is a graduate of the Wake Forest University School of Law

    Click here for more information about Mary.

  • Justin Steen

    Justin Steen is Senior Assistant District Attorney at the Buncombe County District Attorney's Office in Asheville.

    Immediately upon graduation from law school, Justin commenced his prosecutorial career in 2008 with the Buncombe County District Attorney's Office. In 2013, he transitioned to the Henderson County District Attorney's office, where he focused on high-level drug crimes like drug-trafficking and complex drug conspiracy cases. Returning to Buncombe County in 2016, he continued his work with a focus on high-profile drug cases, including those involving death by distribution and drug-trafficking.

    Justin has been instrumental in long-term investigations dealing with wiretaps, continuing criminal enterprises and drug trafficking cases. He has worked collaboratively with local, state, and federal partners. Notably, he co-founded a local task force committed to reducing the impact of large-scale drug organizations in Western North Carolina.

    Justin has vast jury trial experience including ranging from DWI to First Degree Murder. In addition he has tried hundreds of bench trials, and has handled thousands of drug cases in the last 15+ years.

    Justin earned is B.A. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his J.D. at Campbell University School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Justin.

  • Cheryl Stein

    Cheryl Stein is a solo practitioner in Washington, D.C. She has handled over 100 jury trials, non-jury trials, and motions hearings in both state and federal court, as well as dozens of appeals and habeas corpus cases in federal courts all around the country.

    Cheryl is an active member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, its listserve and its Committee on Rules and Procedure. She is also an adjunct professor at the American University Washington College of Law, where she teaches Evidence, and an instructor at Harvard Law School's Trial Advocacy Workshop.

    Cheryl believes that communication is one of the keys to a criminal defense practice. She prides herself on being able to explain complex legal issues in a way that is comprehensible to anyone.

    Cheryl earned her B.A., magna cum laude, in French Language and Literature from Yale College and her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School and Yale Law School.

    Click here for more information about Cheryl.

  • Magistrate Judge Kimberly A. Swank

    Magistrate Judge Kimberly A. Swank was appointed as a United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina in Greenville in 2013.

    From 2004 until her appointment in 2013, Judge Swank served the court as a death penalty law clerk and career law clerk to the Honorable Malcolm J. Howard, Senior United States District Judge. Prior to that, she was in private practice engaged primarily in civil, criminal appellate, and capital habeas litigation and served as an attorney in the Office of Chief Counsel of the United States Secret Service. She also served as a law clerk to the late Louis B. Meyer, Associate Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court following graduation from Campbell University School of Law in 1991.

    Judge Swank is Chair of the court's Local Criminal Rules Committee. She previously served on the Administrative Office of the United States Courts' Magistrate Judges Advisory Group, the Board of Directors of the Federal Magistrate Judges Association, and the Executive Committee of the Conference of Bar Presidents of the North Carolina State Bar.

    Click here for more information about Judge Swank.

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January 19, 2024
Fri 8:25 AM EST
North Carolina Bar Center 8000 Weston Parkway Cary, NC 27511 919.677.0561

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Duration 8H 15M

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