Law

A federal judge has ruled North Carolina's voter ID law is constitutional.

In a 485 page opinion issued Monday, federal district judge Thomas Schroeder upheld North Carolina's voter identification laws. The decision also uphold changes to same-day registration and out of precinct provisional balloting.  

Pixabay / Public Domain

The politics of North Carolina’s House Bill 2 continue to make national headlines, as religious communities weigh in on the law's effects. Supporters of HB2 say it is a necessary measure to keep people safe in bathrooms. Opponents say the measure discriminatory and not in line with their faith.

 

Attorney Wade Smith
Tharrington Smith

As a young boy in Stanly County, North Carolina, Wade Smith did not know what he wanted to be when he grew up; he knew only that he had a deep desire to do something "good and useful." 

Raleigh Police Shooting, Akiel Denkins
Leoneda Inge

No charges will be filed against the white Raleigh police officer who shot and killed a young black man he was trying to arrest back in February.

The Wake County District Attorney’s office has ruled that police officer D.C. Twiddy shot Akiel Denkins in self-defense.

A drawing of a man with a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle.
Julienne Alexander / Criminal

Bourbon is a hot commodity these days, but one brand is considered among the finest in the world.  It's called Pappy Van Winkle.  In this week's episode of Criminal, Phoebe Judge examines the rise of the brand, and how a theft in 2013 made it even more popular.

A drawing of a judge's robe.
Julienne Alexander / Criminal

Note: this article contains graphic language.

In 1985, three men in South Carolina viciously raped and attacked a woman at a motel. In this week's episode of Criminal, Phoebe Judge tells us about a judge who proposed a punishment he thought would fit the crime better than jail time. Criminal is a podcast recorded at WUNC and hosted by Phoebe Judge

Robert Wagner, Bragg N East, Raleigh Police
WagzFilm.com

The shooting deaths of black men by white police officers over the past few years has brought about much tension in city neighborhoods across the country.

They're raising questions like, “What happened to community policing?”

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrest.
Wikimedia Commons

Riverside high school senior Wildin David Guillen Acosta was headed to school on a typical morning in January when Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers detained him and took him into custody.

Acosta is being held in a facility in Georgia, awaiting deportation to his native Honduras. Acosta says he came to the United States to escape the ultimatum of a violent gang: join us or we will kill you.

Photo: Memorial for Akiel Denkins
Jorge Valencia

Hundreds of people attended a vigil Monday night for a man who was shot and killed by a police officer in Southeast Raleigh.

A picture of a gavel on a document.
Brian Turner / Flickr Creative Commons

The North Carolina legislature votes today on new congressional district maps. The move is required by a ruling of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals that declared the current districts unconstitutional because of racial gerrymandering.

Lawmakers are expected to move the primary date for the congressional races from March 15 to June 7 and reopen the filing period for those races. The measure also calls for the elimination of runoff elections. 

A picture of a gavel on a table.
Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

Lawmakers have until Friday to redraw two North Carolina congressional districts after a federal appeals court said they were unconstitutionally gerrymandered.

A three-judge panel from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals said the 1st and 12th districts were drawn primarily on race. 

Republican lawmakers have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to grant a stay of a lower court’s ruling to keep the districts intact with the March primaries just weeks away. However, they are also moving forward with plans to redraw the districts.

An image of the 1st congressional district in NC
Wikipedia / Public Domain

North Carolina Republican legislators said on Tuesday that they want to keep racial considerations out of consideration when drawing new congressional district lines for the state, even as they hope the U.S. Supreme Court will issue an order telling them they can continue using current voting maps.

A Republican-led special redistricting committee voted to draw maps using political party information from elections since 2008 -- but not voters’ race. They will use the criteria to ensure Republicans keep their 10 to 3 majority in the state’s congressional delegation.

Photo: Federal judges have struck down North Carolina's 1st and 12th Congressional districts.
Wikipedia

North Carolina lawmakers heard from dozens of citizens on Monday, as they await a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on whether they will be required to immediately re-draw some of the state’s congressional district lines.

About 80 people signed up to speak to lawmakers during a five-hour meeting heard at the General Assembly building and five satellite locations from the mountains to the coast. Some did not answer when their names were called and inclement weather forced the cancelation of a site in Guilford County.

Litigation, legal, gavel
Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal appellate court declared North Carolina's 1st and 12th Congressional Districts unconstitutional because they were gerrymandered on race. The court ordered legislators to redraw the districts within two weeks.

The ruling puts many issues surrounding the March 15 primary, including early voting and absentee ballots, in question.

A drawing of a sick tree.
Julienne Alexander / ThisIsCriminal.com

An iconic oak tree is the subject of this week's Criminal podcast, produced at WUNC. The program tells the stories of people who have done wrong, been wronged or gotten caught somewhere in the middle.

John Giedraitis was the city forester in Austin, Texas in 1989, when a beloved live oak tree there got sick.

"I proposed to my wife underneath the tree, because it's a big, strong, important tree that symbolizes timelessness, endurance, strength and that sort of stuff," Giedraitis says.

A picture of the US Supreme Court building.
Daderot / Wikipedia

Attorneys will argue Wednesday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit about the merits of prayer at government meetings. A lawsuit challenging prayer at County Commission meetings is before a panel of three judges.

Phil Roeder / Flickr Creative Commons

The federal trial over North Carolina’s new voting requirements began yesterday in Winston-Salem.

The key issue is the photo identification requirement passed by the North Carolina legislature that’s set to go into effect during the March primary. Republican leaders say the measure is designed to prevent voter fraud.

Opponents, including the state’s NAACP chapter, argue that the law effectively disenfranchises minority voters.

Photo: Rosanell Eaton and Mary E. Perry
Jorge Valencia

Elderly minority people who are unfamiliar with North Carolina’s new photo identification requirement for voting are likely to not participate in national or local elections because they may find it difficult to obtain proper documentation to show at the ballot, according to testimony in federal court on Monday.

A picture of a voting sign.
Tom Arthur / Wikipedia

A federal judge in Winston-Salem began hearing arguments Monday in a case challenging North Carolina’s new voting law. It is the second time U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder has presided over a trial involving the controversial legislation. This week’s arguments deal with whether it is constitutional to ask people to show photo identification in order to vote, along with how state officials are educating voters about the new law.

Two ads on NC's Controversial Voting Law
North Carolina Board of Elections, Democracy North Carolina

The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP complained this week that state officials are misleading voters with their educational campaign about the state’s controversial election law. The measure will require voting officials to ask voters for photo identification.

The NAACP argues the ads should inform voters that they can cast ballots "with or without a photo ID. The board of election’s posters and flyers say, “Most voters will need to show acceptable photo ID.”

New Laws In North Carolina

Jan 7, 2016
North Carolina legislative building
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

A new year means new laws on the books. The state now requires doctors performing abortions after the 16th week to send ultrasounds to state health officials. Supporters say it protects women’s health, but opponents say the law violates patient privacy and is meant to intimidate physicians.

Plus, when you head to the polls in March, you’ll now need a photo ID due to a law passed in 2013 that goes into effect this year. 

A picture of a Wake County Sheriff patch.
scoutnurse / flickr.com/photos/scoutnurse/5362436543

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison plans to hire three new investigators to halt the increase of heavy drugs circulating in the area.

Photo: Jim Rose, regional president of Yadkin Bank in Raleigh, speaks before a crowd at the launch of the Connect NC campaign
Jorge Valencia

Governor Pat McCrory made his first public speech for a bond referendum on Tuesday, urging North Carolina voters to approve $2 billion in borrowing for public service investments such as building new science education and research facilities on college campuses, new facilities for the National Guard, and sewage renovations in small towns.

There are mixed reviews over the North Carolina Department of Transportation's new recommendations for bicycle safety.
Daniel Oines / Flickr Creative Commons

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is getting mixed reviews on its new recommendations for bicycle safety rules.

Cyclists’ groups support a proposal that would require cars to give them more room when passing, but they oppose another that would restrict them to one side of the lane.

The Greensboro Police Department has been training and deploying its new Civil Emergency Unit.

Captain John Wolfe commands the 90-member team, which is most often mobilized to observe and respond to public demonstrations. The CEU trains several times a year. Wolfe says it has learned from the mistakes of departments who have sent untrained officers to deal with tense protesters.

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