Law

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.

Last week, the US Department of Justice released findings following a two-year investigation into alleged racial profiling by the Alamance County Sheriff’s Department. The D-O-J says the department targeted Latino drivers, installed unnecessary checkpoints in Latino neighborhoods and abused its power as a county taking part in the controversial 287 (g) deportation program. Alamance has since been removed from the program, but the local Sheriff says these accusations are completely false.

Durham bike riders are traveling the city's portion of the American Tobacco Trail hoping to make it safer. Debbie West says it's a route she likes to take to where she needs to go. "I love the Tobacco Trail. I live and work near it," says West.

State police agencies are  mandated by law to track every traffic stop they make...who was pulled over and why. 

Advocates are speaking out about a spike in domestic violence-related homicides in Wake County. There have been five alleged such killings in the last four months - one more than in all of last year. Organizers of a silent march in downtown Raleigh yesterday say about 75 people turned out to honor Agata Vellotti. Police say she was killed by her estranged husband 2 weeks ago. Another march will be held for Kathleen Bertrand, allegedly shot by her ex-husband at a Raleigh shopping center on Monday.

The State Court of Appeals has reversed a Durham judge's decision to dismiss murder charges in a case involving claims of mishandled evidence.

In a decision released earlier today, Appeals Court Judge Sam Ervin says Durham Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson erred by dismissing charges against Derrick Allen. The court has ordered new hearings. Allen was accused of killing his girlfriend's daughter in 1998.

Armstrong
Jeff Tiberii

Issac-Davy Aronson: LaMonte Armstrong walked out of a Greensboro Courthouse a few weeks ago. The 62-year-old grandfather, graduate of North Carolina A&T and longtime basketball coach was free. Convicted of murder in 1995 and sentenced to life, Armstrong has always maintained his innocence. A local law clinic intervened, evidence raising significant doubts was revealed, and ultimately a judge overturned the conviction.

Coming soon to a restaurant near you: a rare hamburger. New food safety rules will free up many establishments to serve undercooked meat as long as they provide a written warning of the risks on the menu or elsewhere. It's part of federal food guidelines adopted by North Carolina last week, and being implemented statewide September 1st.

Larry Michael is head of the food protection program with the state Division of Public Health. He says the rules are about more than just a rare burger.

Overall crime across the state is down by nearly one percent, according to the latest statistics from the North Carolina Department of Justice. That makes the 2011 crime rate the state's lowest since 1977. It also marks the third consecutive year of decline. It's not all good news, though. Murder is up by almost six percent. Overall crime in some Triangle-area counties, including Chatham and Franklin, appears to be on the rise.

Representatives for some Raleigh police officers have filed a grievance against a new department evaluation policy.

Gurnal Scott: Trey Walters is a Raleigh officer of three-and-a-half years. He speaks for the 100 or so officers who say a system installed by Chief Harry Dolan evaluating officers' by quantity of work diminishes what they do.

Trey Walters: Chief Dolan is taking us down a path that will have police officers chasing numbers instead of criminals.

An undocumented immigrant that interrupted a state House hearing in February wants his case heard in Wake County Superior Court.

State lawmakers have overridden the governor's veto of a bill that waters down the Racial Justice Act. The Act, passed in 2009, allows death row prisoners to challenge their sentences based on statistical evidence of discrimination. The new bill will limit the time frame and scope of statistics that inmates can use to challenge their sentences. Republican House Majority Leader Paul Stam thinks that's reasonable.

Republican legislative leaders are expected to try to override the governor's veto of a measure that would water down the Racial Justice Act. The Act, passed in 2009, allows death row prisoners to appeal their sentences using statistical evidence of discrimination.

A new non-profit group will support Greensboro law enforcement.

Fayetteville's city council has approved new dog limits. Starting July 1st, people living in apartments will only be able to keep two dogs, and people living on less than a half acre will be limited to three. Cumberland County approved the same ordinance earlier this month. Three council members voted against the measure, saying the city should focus on problem dogs. But Cumberland County animal control director John Lauby says the new restrictions will make people safer.

A Hickory man has been released from prison as he continues seeking to prove his innocence in a 1987 rape case.

Gurnal Scott: Willie James Grimes served more then two decades in prison for rape and kidnapping. He walked out of prison this morning on parole..but his conviction still follows him. He had to register with the state as a sex offender. The North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission ruled last month that a review of Grimes' case is warranted. His attorney Christine Mumma says they discovered evidence that had been overlooked.

At the John Edwards trial the prosecution has rested, and today the defense is expected to ask the judge to dismiss the case all together.

The town of Chapel Hill's attempt to ban cell phone use while driving has been temporarily blocked by a judge's ruling.

Advocates of the state's Racial Justice Act are hailing a judge's ruling today that race was a factor in a death row inmate's jury selection. Marcus Robinson was sentenced in 1994 for murder. Superior Court Judge Gregory Weeks ruled that prosecutors in the trial disqualified potential black jurors more often than others. Stephen Dear with People of Faith Against the Death Penalty says he thinks this decision shows that bias has played a role in convictions.

John Edwards
Jeff Tiberii

Jury selection continued today in the John Edwards case.

On May 8th, North Carolinians will vote on an amendment to the state constitution that would ban gay marriage and civil unions. Opponents of Amendment One claim the measure would have far-reaching consequences for gay and straight families alike. One claim is that some unmarried people and their children could lose health care coverage. Isaac-Davy Aronson reports for our series examining the arguments over Amendment One.

Parking decks in Downtown Greensboro will now cost a couple of bucks at night.

A new study is detailing housing violations for migrant workers in Eastern North Carolina.

Jeff Tiberii: Researchers from Wake Forest University found violations at all 183 worker camps they examined. Bacteria from human waste were found in the drinking water at 61 of those camps. Dr. Thomas Arcury Directs the Center for Worker Health at Wake Forest School of Medicine. He wrote the report.

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