Law

gavel at courtroom
William Johnson / US Airforce Photo

A new law that took effect last week makes it more difficult for judges to waive fines and fees for people who cannot afford to pay them. Now a judge must issue a 15-day notice to all agencies involved before granting  a waiver. Critics argue this will cause a logistical backlog for the courts and ultimately result in more low-income people going to jail. Proponents say the courts rely on these fees, and the new law will help generate revenue. This law was not directly sponsored by any member of the General Assembly, so it is difficult to distinguish its political supporters.

man in handcuffs
houstondwiphotos / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/nQGa3o

Almost one in 20 people jailed in Mecklenburg County last year were held on failure to pay court fines or fees. Now, a new program supported by the MacArthur Foundation is modeling an evidence-based approach to criminal justice reform that changes the way people are assessed, held and released. 

A drawing of fingerprints.
Julienne Alexander / Criminal

In the latest Criminal podcast, we hear about the notorious wrongful conviction of Willie Grimes, who was arrested in Hickory in 1987 on rape and kidnapping charges and spent more than two decades in prison.

Anita Earls, pictured at far left, sits with members of the NC Board of Elections in 2009 as part of the board's investigation into former Governor Mike Easley's campaign committee and the state Democratic Party
Chris Seward / AP

A longtime civil rights attorney who successfully sued in striking down North Carolina's legislative district boundaries for excessive racial bias announced Wednesday she's running for the state Supreme Court next year.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Richard Drew, File / AP

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is back on Capitol Hill for a House Judiciary Committee hearing about his oversight of the Justice Department.

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, right, leaves the Fort Bragg courtroom facility as the judge deliberates in a sentencing hearing at Fort Bragg, N.C., Friday, Nov. 3, 2017. Bergdahl, who walked off his base in Afghanistan in 2009 and was held by the Taliban for f
Gerry Broome / AP

A military judge ruled Friday that Bowe Bergdahl should serve no prison time for endangering his comrades by walking off his Afghanistan post.

Prison Bars
Michael Coghlan / Flickr Creative Commons

Three weeks after the deadliest attempted prison breakout in North Carolina history, prison and law enforcement officials still can't quantify the scope of the violence that correctional officers at the understaffed prison had been confronting daily.

Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl
Wikipedia

A military judge on Thursday began deliberating the punishment for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl after defense attorneys asked for no prison time while prosecutors sought more than a decade behind bars.

Picture of gavel
Flickr.com

Not all 16 and 17-year-olds who commit certain crimes will be tried as adults, according to a new state law. But a report from the the Southern Coalition for Social Justice says schools are still funneling too many students of color into the juvenile and adult court systems.

Public Domain / Wiki Creative Commons

Last week the federal government released thousands of files related to the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy in 1963.
 

illustration of the U.S. Capitol building
Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

Tech giants are testifying before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Tuesday about Russian efforts to spread disinformation in the U.S.

Representatives of Facebook, Twitter and Google, along with two national security analysts, will speak with lawmakers about ways that Russia has used the social media platforms.

Live stream will begin at 2:30 p.m., Tuesday, October 31, 2017.

Prison Bars
Michael Coghlan / Flickr Creative Commons

Officials say a North Carolina correctional officer has died from injuries she suffered during a deadly inmate escape attempt.

The Silent Sam monument stands prominently on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s campus. Protestors for and against the statue’s removal attended rallies near the monument on Tuesday, August 22, 2017.
Matt Couch / WUNC

Thirty-four faculty members of the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill School of Law have sent a letter to Chancellor Carol Folt urging the immediate removal of the Silent Sam Confederate monument.

Thomas Farr
Alex Brandon / AP

Updated 3:06 p.m., October 19, 2017

A Senate panel on Thursday narrowly backed the nomination of a North Carolina attorney to fill the nation's longest judicial vacancy over the objections of Democrats, black lawmakers and some civil rights groups.

FILE - This Thursday, May 12, 2016, file photo, shows signage outside a restroom at 21c Museum Hotel in Durham, N.C. North Carolina is in a legal battle over a state law that requires transgender people to use the public restroom matching the sex on their
Gerry Broome, File / AP

Updated 5:45 p.m., October 19, 2017

North Carolina's Republican leaders said Thursday that a federal court should reject a deal by the Democratic governor that would affirm the rights of transgender people to use restrooms corresponding to their gender identity.

Attorneys representing the family of Rueben Galindo say they’ll conduct their own investigation into his shooting. Police video released last week shows the 29-year old Hispanic man had his arms raised above his head as CMPD officers shot and killed him September 6.  The lawyers spoke to reporters before last night’s city council meeting. 

An image of former state senator Josh Stein
Courtesy of Josh Stein

North Carolina's Attorney General says he is expanding an investigation into the role drug manufacturers may have played in the rising opioid crisis.

NC Legislature
W Edward Callis III

With approval of new North Carolina legislative districts behind them, House Republicans returned Tuesday to Raleigh to advance their efforts to redraw election districts for trial court judges and local prosecutors.

a doctor
Hamza Butt / flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/VQGLoP

Three female doctors say they were paid less than male counterparts on account of their gender in a federal lawsuit filed against Carolinas HealthCare System.

DACA rally in downtown Durham
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

Updated at 5:50 p.m., September 7, 2017

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia sued Wednesday to block President Donald Trump's plan to end a program protecting young immigrants from deportation — an act Washington state's attorney general called "a dark time for our country."

DACA rally in downtown Durham
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

President Trump announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program yesterday.

Courtesy of Benjamin Rachlin

In 1987 Willie Grimes was wrongfully accused of raping a 69-year-old widow in Hickory, North Carolina. Despite little evidence against him, Grimes was convicted of the crime and sentenced to life plus nine years in prison.

Takao Bill Manbo / Courtesy of Eric Muller at Scapegoat Cities

Seventy-five years ago the U.S. government relocated more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans into internment camps following the attacks on Pearl Harbor. Parents were separated from their children, and many individuals were forced to give up their property.

photo of Wildin Acosta
Courtesy of the Acosta family

Editor's Note: Wildin Acosta's hearing has been rescheduled  for Oct. 3, 2017.

Wildin Acosta of Durham is scheduled to go before a judge in Charlotte's immigration court on Thursday. The Honduran-born asylum seeker spent more than six months in immigration detention last year before his deportation order was rescinded.

James Mitchell (left) and John Jessen
Trial Evidence / ACLU via AP

A settlement was reached last week in a lawsuit against two psychologists who were paid by the CIA to develop its post-9/11 interrogation program.

Julienne Alexander / Criminal

  


  

In the 19th century, the weak beer and cider that many Americans were drinking at every meal began to be replaced by distilled liquor: rums and whiskeys with a much higher alcohol content. This created a lot of problems, especially for women. Men began spending a lot of time and money in bars. Many weren't helping out at home, or even buying food. Women all over the country advocated for temperance, but the face of prohibition was a woman named Carrie Nation. Her story is the subject of this week's episode of the Criminal podcast.

(5/26/17) Johnny Beck Jr. during interview at Franklin Correctional Center in Bunn, N.C. Beck is one of 67 former teen offenders in N.C. serving life without parole, even after U.S. Supreme Court ordered states to reconsider juvenile prison sentencing.
Gerry Broome / AP Photo - 2017

 In 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a mandatory life sentence without parole for juvenile offenders is unconstitutional. Last year, the court said the ruling also applies to more than 2,000 inmates who were convicted as teens and are serving life sentences across the country. 

An image of prison bars
Alex Van / Pixabay, Creative Commons

In the past five years, 51 inmates in county jails across the state have died after poor supervision from jailers, according to a report by The News & Observer. 

gavel
wp paarz / Flickr - Creative Commons -https://flic.kr/p/GDRLvC

In 2014, tens of thousands of families fled Central America to the U.S. in an attempt to escape gang violence. Since that period, asylum requests in the U.S. have increased, but asylum approvals are declining.

A drawing of Effigy Mounds.
Julienne Alexander / Criminal

National Parks and Monuments are often considered wholesome environments: peaceful places that preserve nature and history. However, this week's Criminal podcast tells how the remains of 41 American Indians disappeared from the Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa.

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