Just Over the Line

Prosecuted for the same crime in two different counties, a North Carolina man receives two very different sentences.

Public defender Ehsan Akhavi, a light skinned young bald man in a business suit outside a building with a road sign behind him that reads "Court Plaza"
Independent Lens
Premiere Date
October 26, 2020
11:01 minutes
Funding Initiative
Short-Form Series and Special Projects
Just Over the Line_Headshot_Adams Wood

Adams Wood

As a freelance filmmaker, Adams J. Wood has worked to cover tuna fisheries in the Pacific, oil drilling in the Arctic, and the impact of fracking in the American West. He has made two feature docs: On Coal River (2010) and Boom the Sound of Eviction (2002). In television, Adams was a contributor to the docu-series Ocean Warriors (2016).

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The Film

Just Over the Line tells the story of Daniel Noell, a 59-year-old man who was arrested and charged with drug trafficking after using forged prescriptions at drugstores across Western North Carolina. Prosecuted for the same crime in both Buncombe and Yancey counties, Noell received two very different sentences. His case reveals how justice can vary according to the values of a community—and the priorities of its elected prosecutors—and how the simple act of crossing a county line can make all the difference.