Law

NC Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation
NC Dept. of Administration

Victims of North Carolina's discontinued eugenics program could get the compensation they've sought if Gov. Pat McCrory's budget proposal is accepted.  He's allocated $10 million in his spending plan to compensate past victims of forced sterilization.  The program ran from 1929 to 1974.  State researchers said during hearings in 2011 that there could be anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 victims still alive. 

North Carolina is among 39 states to reach a settlement with Google over privacy concerns about the company's Street View feature.

Google used cars equipped with cameras and antennas to capture street level photos across the country from 2008 to 2010.  Authorities say the vehicles gathered personal information over open wi-fi networks during that time. 

"In broad terms, it might include URLs of web pages and possibly partial or complete email communications,"  says Kevin Anderson, head of the Consumer Protection Division of the North Carolina Department of Justice.

North Carolina is among 33 states that face penalties for not complying with federal regulations designed to crack down on drunken drivers. 

Winston-Salem Police armored car
Walt Unks / Winston-Salem Journal

The largest law enforcement agencies in the state are being questioned about their use of military style weapons, technology and arrest tactics.  The North Carolina American Civil Liberties Union has sent public records requests to 62 law enforcement agencies.

“One of the reasons that we were very interested in sending out these public records requests, we learned that Gaston County had a drone.  And that was a big revelation,” says state ACLU director Chris Brook.

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory took on a major state issue following a meeting Tuesday with several North Carolina mayors.   McCrory's meeting with members of the Metro Mayors Coalition addressed issues that are critical to cities and towns trying to cope with sequestration, transportation issues and taxation.  The Governor also answered questions on a hot legislative issue.  He disagrees with immigrants' advocates who say pink driver's licenses are no more than a scarlet letter.

North Carolina driver's license
NCDOT

Some state House Democrats are speaking out against a move to create pink driver's licenses to identify young immigrants.  House Bill 184 would prohibit the state Department of Motor Vehicles from issuing the licenses to young people who are legally in this country under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.  The proposed licenses would have a pink strip at the top and the phras

The small video camera is made to attach to sunglasses.
Taser.com

The Greensboro Police Department will begin wearing small $1,100 video cameras next month in an effort to improve public trust, give officers peace of mind and capture evidence. The 125 new cameras were paid for with federal stimulus money.  

A federal safety panel will open hearings on the sinking of a tall ship during Hurricane Sandy last October.  The H-M-S Bounty set out to sea from a Connecticut port to outrun Sandy before it grew into the superstorm that slammed the northeast.  The crew had to abandon ship in 30 foot swells before the tall ship sank just off Cape Hatteras.  One crew member died.  The body of the the ship's captain was never recovered.  Coast Guard spokesman Lieutenant Mike Patterson says eight days of hearings are scheduled to find out what went wrong.

A laboratory in Burlington will begin testing forensic evidence and building a regional database of DNA evidence in an effort to help local law enforcement agencies solve crimes. The privately owned DNA: SI Labs says it can test samples and provide results much more quickly than the State Bureau of Investigation.

Laura Candler

The new $119 million Durham County Courthouse opens this month on South Dillard Street in Durham. In addition to its location beside the jail, the 11-story building incorporates an array of new features, many focusing on efficient design and energy use. The building’s internal layout includes three separate areas of circulation - one for the public, one for courthouse staff, and a secured circulation area for transporting inmates. The only place that all three can converge is in one of its 20 courtrooms.

Researchers at Duke University say the number of Muslim Americans convicted of terrorist acts in the U.S. is on a steady decline. They released the findings in conjunction with the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security.  In 2009, 49 people were arrested, and the number has dropped each subsequent year to 14 arrests last year. David Schanzer, director of the Triangle Center, says recent terrorism plotters haven’t been as sophisticated.

Cassandra Deck-Brown
www.raleighnc.gov

City Manager J. Russell Allen announced today that he has named Cassandra Deck-Brown to be Raleigh’s new Chief of Police. Deck-Brown has been serving as Interim Police Chief for the Raleigh Police Department since October 1, 2012, when former Police Chief Harry Dolan retired. Prior to being Interim Police Chief, she was the Deputy Chief. Deck-Brown is the first African-American female to hold the position. Her promotion is effective February 1.

District Attorneys are touting a plan to help North Carolina become safer as the General Assembly prepares to begin its legislative session.  The blueprint for a safer North Carolina is a collection of bullet points. Ben David wrote it and hopes it can lead to a more proactive approach when dealing with crime prevention, funding for the courts and recidivism. David is president of the state conference of District Attorneys and the DA in New Hanover and Pender Counties. He says these building blocks could help Manteo with one issue, and assist Asheville in another area.

North Carolina's attorney general wants new laws for state agents and prosecutors to urge cooperate in public corruption investigations.

Attorney General Roy Cooper says state prosecutors should be able to convene grand juries to get to the heart of corruption.  He's tried before to secure the power..but says the legislature has so far refused to act.  Wake County D-A Colon Willoughby says they can do it for drug offenses..but that needs to expand.

A gun-rights group is suing the city of Winston-Salem over what it claims are unconstitutional restrictions of concealed weapons.

Two years ago the general assembly gave cities the ability to regulate concealed handguns at county and municipal recreational facilities. Winston-Salem leaders defined recreational facilities as playgrounds, swimming pools, athletic fields and athletics facilities. Of the city's 69 parks, concealed handguns are prohibited in parts or all of 52.

Two same-sex couples are submitting applications for marriage licenses today, knowing they will be turned down. The couples are heading to courthouses in Wilson and Winston-Salem as part of a movement called "We Do" from the group Campaign for Southern Equality. The organization hosted a similar event last week in Asheville as a protest of North Carolina's constitutional ban of gay marriage. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara is the group's executive director and an openly gay minister in the United Church of Christ.

A company planning to bring nearly 500 jobs to Winston-Salem is being investigated by the federal government.

Just last month Herbalife announced plans to develop an east coast distribution center and create more than 490 new full-time jobs. Now the Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into the nutrition and skin care company, after claims by some investors that Herbalife is a well organized pyramid scheme. Mayor Allen Joines said the State Attorney General already looked into these allegations and found nothing illegal.

A new chief has been hired for the Fayetteville Police Department.

Harold Medlock accepted the job as top cop in Fayetteville today. He appeared at a news conference with his wife to be formally introduced as chief. Medlock comes to Fayetteville from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department where he served as deputy chief. He says he won't begin his new duties until mid-February.

There were 460 meth lab busts in the state last year. That's a record high. It's up from 344 busts the year before. State Bureau of Investigation agents attribute the rise to an increase in a simpler method of making the drug called "one-pot" or "shake and bake." Criminals cook the meth in a plastic soda bottle - using much smaller levels of the main ingredient, pseudo-ephedrine - commonly found in cold medicine.

The fight against mortgage fraud and other financial crimes just got a little easier in North Carolina – thanks to a new Financial Crimes Initiative.

Ben David is the District Attorney for New Hanover and Pender counties and heads the state conference of D-As. He says the rise in mortgage fraud and other scams is what helped North Carolina get funding for a Financial Crimes Initiative.

Chatham County's new Justice Center is open for business.

The new justice center has four courtrooms, and significantly more office space than the previous, historic courthouse in Pittsboro. Plans to move out of that building started 13 years ago, but a fire in 2010 threatened its future. David Hughes is the Public Works Director in Chatham county. He says the 130-year-old building has been preserved.

A new state law requires more extensive background checks for people working with children.

In years past employees at day care centers could start working with children before a background check was complete. Anna Carter is with the Department of Health and Human Services.

Anna Carter: "What this law change did was, it changes it to be a pre-service requirement for when a new staff is hired. So before you work with children it would have to be completed."

State children's advocates say statistics are showing a rise in reports of child abuse cases.

Organizations that track these cases say results can be deadly if left uninvestigated. President of Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina Rosie Allen Ryan said at one point there were 125 thousand reported cases annually in the state.

Rosie Allen Ryan: "And then this past set of data that we have shows an increase up to 129-thousand."

The North Carolina Bankers Association says the number of bank robberies is down slightly since last year. The group met with law enforcement agencies yesterday to discuss how to reduce the crime rate. The association says there have been 113 robberies this year compared to 129 in 2011. Associate counsel Dawn Thompson says the group keeps track of crime trends to help law enforcement cut down on robberies.

State lawmakers' work in the last session means several new laws will take effect starting today. Legislators say anyone who engages in an act of terrorism will be subject to state as well as federal penalties. Threatening to use explosives, dirty bombs and using violence to intimidate people and governments will be treated as a felony.

Two people, one a former Raleigh school teacher, have pleaded guilty to plotting a murder-for-hire scheme in the Triangle. 

Two defendants in this case have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder for hire.  This was not your average shoot to kill murder. Nevine Elshiekh and Shukumbin Sherifi allegedly paid someone five-thousand-dollars to be-head witnesses from a terrorism trial in Raleigh.  Turns out they were paying an FBI informant. 

Greensboro Police will share recent accomplishments and listen to residents when a second round of community forums begins tonight.

Jeff Tiberii: Police Chief Ken Miller started these events last year with the hope of highlighting some of his department's initiatives while building better communication with local citizens. The Police Department says between 25 and 50 residents turned out to the first wave of forums. Captain Brian Cheek:

Supporters of a man convicted of murder in Georgia plan to hold a prayer vigil in Wilson tonight.

John McNeil sits today in a Georgia prison. He killed a man he said threatened him and his son at his home in 2005. McNeil was sentenced to life in prison nine months after the incident. The jury went against what police found

Alamance County is expected to respond to the US Department of justice today, following the findings of an investigation and alleged racial profiling by the Sheriff's Department.

A Johnston County Ku Klux Klan leader was convicted this week in a plot to kill the sheriff of his county. Gurnal Scott reports.

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