Practice Guides

Phillip R. Dixon Jr. & Timothy Heinle

The North Carolina Indigent Defense Practice Guides are primers on specific areas of North Carolina law, designed to assist indigent defense attorneys in their day-to-day practice. Each guide will include an overview of the topic and basic principles; practice tips, strategies, and pitfalls; and citations to authority and links to related resources. Some guides will focus on the substantive law; others will focus on procedure and practice in specific stages of litigation. Let us know of possible practice guides that would be useful to you in your work! Contact Phil Dixon at or Timothy Heinle at

About the Authors

Phil Dixon joined the School of Government in 2017. Previously he worked for eight years as an attorney in Pitt and surrounding eastern North Carolina counties, focusing primarily on criminal defense and related matters. Dixon served as assigned counsel to indigent clients throughout his career, and represented adult and juvenile clients charged with all types of crimes at the trial level. He earned a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a JD with highest honors from North Carolina Central University. He works with the indigent education group at the School to provide training and consultation to public defenders and defense lawyers, as well as to research and write about criminal law issues.

Timothy Heinle is the Civil Defender Educator with the School of Government’s Public Defense Education program. Timothy graduated from New England Law–Boston in 2009 and moved to eastern North Carolina, where he practiced law for ten years, primarily handling trial and appellate juvenile abuse, neglect, and dependency cases; hearings regarding termination of parental rights; incompetency and guardianship matters; and child-support contempt proceedings.