draft a 2,000-3,000 word essay on the following subject: “Respect for the Court System is Essential to the Fair Administration of Justice,” forward the essay to Judge Coward for approval, and following approval, post the essay on all social media or internet accounts that defendant owns or controls or acquires hereafter during his period of probation and attributed to defendant, without negative comment or other negative criticism by defendant or others, during said period of probation…
The judge and the appellate court insisted that judges have discretion under section 15A-1343 of the North Carolina General Statues (“Conditions of probation”) to “impose conditions of probation reasonably necessary to insure that the defendant will lead a law-abiding life or to assist him to do so.” N.C.G.S. § 15A-1343(a). “
What is astonishing is that the appellate court spends relatively little time on the publication and censorship elements of the orders. Instead, it spends pages on easy questions like the contempt sanction and a recusal motion. After describing the extraordinary order on the essay and censorship, the court simply notes that :[d]espite defendant’s argument that his sentence was ‘contrary to law,’ he cites to no authority in support of that argument.”
Even if true, that does not relieve the responsibility of the court to be satisfied that the opinion is not contrary to constitutional law.
The cursory treatment given by the appellate court seems almost verbose in comparison to the less than one page long decision upholding the appellate court by the North Carolina Supreme Court.