Law

Photo: The lethal injection room at San Quentin State Prison
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation / Public Doman

Prosecutors in Wake County are selecting a jury in a first-degree murder trial this week. It is the fifth case in North Carolina this year where a defendant could face capital punishment. But a series of lawsuits have blocked the death penalty for years in this state. And now, a little-known drug could become another obstacle.

M&P .45
Daniel Weber's photo stream / Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Daniel Weber’s photostream

Residents of Wake County can now apply online for a permit to own a hand gun or to carry one concealed. Instead of going into an office, they can fill out the permit application and pay the fee online.

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said the online service makes the process more user-friendly, but just as safe as before.

Shana Carignan (left) and Megan Parker with Jax
North Carolina ACLU

Every night before bedtime, Shana Carignan goes through a special ritual with her six-year-old son, Jax. "Arright buddy, you know the drill! We’re going to have to giggle, get the bubbles out, right?," she says.

In October 2012, the North Carolina Department of Transportation condemned a Concord property and demolished a vacant building to make way for a new parkway extension. Eleven months later, the DOT requested the court's permission. A federal judge has imposed punitive sanctions for the “blatant disregard” for the law shown by DOT attorneys.  Host Frank Stasio discusses the controversy with Bruce Siceloff, transportation reporter for the News and Observer.

James Boyle comes on The State of Things to discuss the shrinking public domain.
Duke University's Center for the Study of the Public Domain

In the public domain, work can be freely shared online, translated into other languages, or republished and cheaply distributed.  

Pi, a Carolina Dog belonging to I. Lehr Brisbin.
D. B. Brisbin

Raleigh's Public Works Committee will hear a proposed ordinance that would govern where dogs are allowed in parks.

City rules require that dogs be on a leash in all public places, and that their owners pick up their pets' waste. But Raleigh's parks department is still getting complaints about dogs running loose and threatening children.

Parks Superintendent Wayne Schindler says visitors also say they're finding dog droppings on ball fields.

Book Cover for Legal Fictions: Constituting Race, Composing, Literature by Karla Hollway
dukeupress.edu / Duke University Press

From enslavement to the one-drop rule to the three-fifths compromise, United States law has defined African-American identity. Duke University professor Karla Holloway is exploring how black fiction connect racial identity and the creation of law for African Americans. 

Photo: Central Prison in Raleigh
Ted Buckner via Flickr

Members of the North Carolina Court of Appeals appeared to show Tuesday that they wanted to return to a lower court a seven-year-old case over the lethal injection chemicals the state uses in executions.

A three-judge panel heard arguments on whether the state Department of Public Safety should have followed a public rule-making process when it switched its execution procedures from a three-drug chemical mixture to a single-drug injection.

Photo: Death row inmates are housed at Central Prison in Raleigh. No executions have been carried out in North Carolina since 2006.
North Carolina Department of Public Safety

The North Carolina Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments Tuesday morning on whether the state must follow a public rule-making process when changing its procedures for executing death row prisoners.

Arguments center on the Department of Public Safety switching its protocol for executions from a lethal injection of a three-drug mixture to a single-drug solution. (The change happened last fall.)

Friends and relatives posted pictures like these of Jesus Huerta around Durham, NC
Leoneda Inge

  

Jesus Huerta died from a gunshot wound while in police custody last November. Did officers know he was at risk of killing himself? The teen's family says yes.

Durham authorities have said the officer on the scene, Samuel Duncan, had not been told the 17-year-old threatened to kill himself and used drugs before the officer picked him up the morning of Nov. 19.

But the attorney representing Huerta’s family questions that and points to this radio communication in which officers talk about Huerta having a history of drug abuse:

Friends and relatives posted pictures like these of Jesus Huerta around Durham, NC
Leoneda Inge

A teenager who Durham police say fatally shot himself while in custody last year used a .45 caliber pistol that he had concealed and an officer did not discover while frisking and arresting him, police said Friday.

Officers had picked up 17-year-old Jesus Huerta the morning of Nov. 19 because his family reported him as a runaway, police said, but emergency dispatchers did not relay warnings from the family that Huerta had threatened to kill himself.

Haben Girma was the first deaf-blind student to graduate from Harvard Law.
Harvard Law

At the age of 15, Haben Girma had danced, skied, kayaked and traveled to Mali. And although that’s a lot for any young person to experience, Haben was doing so while deaf and blind.

Durham Police
Durham Police Department

The mayor of Durham is putting the pressure on law enforcement officials to release the findings of an internal investigation into the death of a teenager while in police custody.

It’s been six weeks since 17-year-old Jesus Huerta died in the backseat of a police car, while handcuffed. Police say he shot himself in the head.

“It’s been out there too long and that is unacceptable for me," said Bell from his office Monday.

Durham Mayor Bill Bell says it’s time to know the details leading to the mysterious shooting of Huerta.

Durham Police Department badge.
City of Durham

The state Court of Appeals will reexamine a lawsuit filed by a man who was severely injured after a Taser was used on him by a Durham Police Officer.

Bryan DeBaun suffered facial injuries and broken bones from the 2009 incident, claiming that officer Daniel J. Kuszaj's "use of excessive force" and "malicious prosecution" violated his rights under the North Carolina constitution. He is suing both the police officer and city of Durham.

Laura Lee

Updated Saturday, 10/21/13 11:00 a.m.:

A vigil for a Durham 17-year-old who died in police custody turned violent on Thursday night when ranks of police officers dressed in riot gear clashed with a group of protesters.

Differing accounts of the encounter circled almost immediately after the crowd of more than 100 was dispersed from the edge of the Durham Police Department’s headquarters parking lot on South Duke Street.

A judge in Durham dropped criminal charges Wednesday against 14 people who were cited for panhandling. Charges were filed under a new ordinance that makes it illegal to beg for money in parts of the city.

Chief District Court Judge Marcia Morey dropped the charges as part of the court’s effort to keep offenders out of jail under the condition they not violate the ordinance again and seek help with health, addiction, housing or employment issues.

Photo: Rosanell Eaton and Mary E. Perry
Jorge Valencia

A federal judge has ruled that challenges to the North Carolina law that requires voters to show identification at polling stations will not be heard until after the mid-term elections of 2014.

U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Joi Elizabeth Peake said in a a hearing Thursday that the law was too complex to be thoroughly reviewed prior to the November elections. Peake scheduled a trial for July 2015.

Durham Police Department badge.
City of Durham

Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez said it might be hard for people not in law enforcement to believe how a 17-year-old boy died while in police custody.

The chief said at a news conference Wednesday that Jesus Huerta shot and killed himself while handcuffed in the back of a police car.  He had been detained by Officer Samuel Duncan after police received a report on a runaway.

Raleigh/Wake Emergency Communications Center
Dave DeWitt

If you use a cell phone to call 9-1-1 from your home or office, there's a good chance the dispatch center will receive inaccurate coordinates to your location. That's according to a report from the Federal Communications Commission.

Wireless providers deliver location information to 9-1-1 centers with each call. Land line calls include a name and address. The FCC established location accuracy standards when people generally used land lines at home and cell phones on the road. But now, 70 percent of 9-1-1 calls come from cell phones.

A woman is arrested at the state capitol as a part of a Moral Mondays protest.
NAACP

The head of the state's NAACP and 11 other Moral Monday protesters have been found guilty of trespassing at the General Assembly earlier this year. District Court Judge Joy Hamilton found the group guilty after a hearing that lasted two days.

Irving Joyner is one of the attorneys representing the defendants. He says he didn't call Barber and other members of the group to the stand in order to focus on their first amendment right to free speech- and to assemble at the legislature.

Raleigh Police Memorial
Dennis Lane / Raleigh Police Memorial Foundation

In 2009, Major Dennis Lane and other police officers road their bicycles from Raleigh to Washington D.C., in honor of officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.  They stopped at various cities along the route. And they noticed something different between these cities and Raleigh; Many of them had memorials erected in honor of fallen officers.

"Of the 50 largest cities in the country, there were only two cities that did not have a police memorial of some sort; Raleigh and Indianapolis, " said Lane.

Gavel
SalFalko / Flickr Creative Commons

  

More than 40 new laws go into effect on December 1st in North Carolina.

They include harsher penalties for those who abuse or endanger children, and a lessening of punishments for certain misdemeanors. Host Frank Stasio gets an overview from Associated Press politics reporter Gary Robertson.

Durham Police Department badge.
City of Durham

Protesters are planning a march to the Durham Police Department tonight to ask for answers in the recent death of a 17-year-old who died while in police custody in the department’s headquarters parking lot.  Police have said Jesus Huerta was sitting in the back of a police cruiser at about 3 a.m. Tuesday before "a loud noise" was heard and he died. In a 911 recording released that day, the officer driving Huerta said the teen may have suffered a gunshot wound.

A teenager died in a Durham police car in the department’s headquarters parking lot early Tuesday after the officer driving him heard "a loud noise" in the car, authorities said. 

Gavel
SalFalko / Flickr Creative Commons

Individuals facing criminal charges are entitled to legal representation even if they are unable to afford attorneys. But what about people facing civil issues like divorce, child custody and medical claims?

There are services that provide legal counsel, such as Legal Aid of North Carolina.  In 2010, Ashley Quiñones became a client of Legal Aid after Medicaid her denied a kidney transplant as she was experiencing renal failure.  Quiñoneschose to appeal the claim and she turned to Legal Aid for help. 

Technical Park International

Authorities have issued arrest warrants for the owner of a ride at the North Carolina State Fair that investigators say injured five people after safety equipment was tampered with.

The Wake County Sheriff's Office said the warrants for 32-year-old Joshua Gene Macaroni were issued Wednesday. The statement said Macaroni is charged with two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, and a third felony charge of assaulting a juvenile.

mcsurely.com

  

Al McSurely has spent more than five decades fighting racism, poverty and discrimination.

In the 1960s, he was arrested for sedition in Kentucky and then for Contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents to the McClellan Committee. His experience in the legal system led him to start law school at the age of 48. McSurely worked for many civil rights clients, including a landmark case on behalf of UNC housekeepers.
 

NCDOT

A federal appeals court is scheduled to hear arguments today on whether North Carolina can offer license plates with an anti-abortion message without making an alternative available to supporters of abortion rights.

The deliberations, set for the U.S. Court Of Appeals for the Fourth District in Richmond, Va., center around the question: Does a license plate represent the speech of the state or of the driver carrying it on a vehicle?

Wake County Shjeriff's Office

The man accused of tampering with a thrill ride at the North Carolina State Fair had his first court appearance Monday.

Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow is charged with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, inflicting bodily injury. 

A judge denied a defense request to reduce his $225,000 bond.  Prosecutors are concerned that because he has no ties to the area, he may be a flight risk. 

Raleigh attorney Roger Smith, Jr. is representing Tutterrow.

www.flickr.com/photos/ncstatefair
NC State Fair

Police say it was an apparent malfunction that led to five injuries on a ride at the North Carolina State Fair.

The incident happened Thursday night shortly after 9 p.m. on a ride called The Vortex.

"We have been told that the ride had stopped and they were unloading, and all of the sudden, the ride started up again," said Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison in a press conference Friday morning.

Harrison said that report is preliminary and investigators are still looking into exactly what caused the accident.

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