Law

A picture of a traffic stop
Ildar Sagdejev / Wikipedia

Greensboro's police chief is reporting a steep drop in racially disparate traffic stops.

Gavel
www.stockmonkeys.com / Flickr Creative Commons

A new lawsuit challenges the law that allows magistrates to opt out of presiding over same-sex marriages if they oppose it for religious reasons.

Plaintiffs claim the measure is discriminatory and elevates a specific religious belief. But proponents of the law say it balances freedom of religion with the rights of same-sex couples.

Voter Sticker
Vox Efx on Flickr

The NAACP is seeking an injunction to halt the state's new voter identification law in the March primary elections.

Litigation over the law was put on hold until January, after legislators amended it this summer. Under the revised law, voters who don't have state-issued IDs must fill out a form explaining why they couldn't get one.

North Carolina NAACP President Rev. William Barber says an amendment to the law now requires voters without IDs to fill out a form explaining why they couldn't get one. Barber says that's confusing and intimidating.

A picture of the Shaw University sign.
Daderot / Wikipedia

A group of Shaw University alumni is suing two trustees, alleging mismanagement and conflict of interest.

Shaw alumnus  and attorney Christopher Young filed the lawsuit in North Carolina's Eastern District Court against Board Chairman Joseph Bell, Jr. and immediate past chairman Willie Gary.

Judge Arnold Jones
NC Innocence Inquiry Commission

North Carolina Superior Court Judge Arnold Ogden Jones II has been charged with trying to bribe an FBI agent to collect text messages between two phone numbers in what the judge said was a family matter.

A picture of lights on a police car.
Alejandro Mejía Greene/JubiloHaku / Flickr Creative Commons

The Greensboro Police Department is reviewing its records of traffic stops, after a New York Times article revealed deep racial discrepancies.

The newspaper's analysis found that Greensboro police searched black drivers more than twice as often as white drivers, even though they found contraband more often when the driver was white.

An image of people holding up alcholic beverages
Pixabay Public Domain

The State Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission has rejected a proposed penalty for a Chapel Hill bar. La Residence, commonly known as La Rez, is accused of serving 20-year-old Chandler Kania prior to a fatal highway crash this summer. Kania is a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and is accused of driving the wrong way on I-85, hitting a Jeep and killing three people. Police say his blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.

sex trafficking, human trafficking
Ira Gelb / Flickr Creative Commons

A group of attorneys is urging the Durham city council to create a task force to fight child sex trafficking.

Durham-Orange Women Attorneys—or DOWA—says county and community agencies need to coordinate their efforts to address child sex trafficking.

Jose Lopez, Durham Police Department
Durham Police Department

Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez will retire at the end of 2015, the city announced Tuesday. The department has come under fire in recent years, especially after 17-year-old Latino Jesus Huerta died from a gunshot wound while in police custody in 2013.

"The last two years have been difficult for law enforcement, but together we have weathered it in a manner in which we can all be proud," Lopez wrote in a letter to his department.

A man in handcuffs.
Lionel Allorge / Wikipedia

Durham is expanding a program that allows young first-time offenders to remove a misdemeanor conviction from their record.

Previously available to 16 and 17 year olds, those 21 and under can complete the misdemeanor diversion program beginning in October. Instead of facing jail time or a fine, participants go to court, attend workshops and do community service work.

Durham Chief District Court Judge Marcia Morey says during a typical misdemeanor court appearance, an offender is able to have just a few seconds before a judge, plead guilty, and pay a fine.

A bicycle commuter.
Heb / https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycling_in_Copenhagen#/media/File:Copenhagen_cycle_chic.jpg

North Carolina's "Share the Road" signs and "sharrows" on the pavement are confusing to many motorists.

That's according  North Carolina State University researchers George Hess and Nils Petersen. Their study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, reports that language is ambiguous and does not reflect state law.

Henry McCollum (left) spent 30 years, 11 months and seven days on death row. Leon Brown was imprisoned at the age of 15 and spend the first decade in solitary confinement. In 2014 the men were released after DNA evidence implicated another man.
Patrick Megaro (McCollum and Brown's attorney)

Two North Carolina men who were wrongfully convicted of murder and spent 30 years in prison are receiving financial compensation. Henry McCollum and his half-brother Leon Brown are each getting $750,000 from the state. The men were released a year ago after DNA evidence helped to exonerate them. Henry McCollum said no amount of money can make up for the lost time. The 51-year-old is hoping to make the most of his future.

The North Carolina Attorney General’s office has announced it will not retry a white police officer who shot an unarmed African-American man in Charlotte. Officer Randall Kerrick shot and killed Jonathan Ferrell in 2013 after responding to a breaking-and-entering call.

The voluntary manslaughter trial of Kerrick ended in a mistrial last week. The hung jury was stuck at 8-to-4 in favor of an acquittal.

An image of a shrimp on a fork
Ramiroja / Wikipedia Creative Commons

A federal court has sentenced a Harnett County seafood processor for mislabeling  imported farm-raised shrimp. Alphin Brothers Incorporated faces a $100,000 fine and three years probation for falsely marketing 25,000 pounds of shrimp as wild-caught in the U.S.

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

 

Updated Friday, August 14, 3:15 p.m.

Carlos Antonio Riley was acquitted Friday of shooting Durham Officer Kelly Stewart in the leg at a traffic stop three years ago. The jury convicted Riley of only common law robbery.

Riley, 24, is charged with robbery with a firearm, common law robbery, reckless driving, felonious larceny from a person, assault on law enforcement inflicting serious injury, and assault with a firearm on a law enforcement officer. 

A picture of a cat at the Chatham County Animal Shelter
Chatham County Animal Shelter

Many of the 190 animals seized from a Chatham County property last month will soon be available for adoption. Beyond dogs and cats, authorities and animal welfare agencies rescued goats, ducks, chickens, horses, cows and a hog.

Leigh Ann Garrard, Director of Chatham County Animal Services, said it took months to coordinate with partner agencies to find places for the various species.

Image of lethal injection table
Ken Piorkowski / Flickr Creative Commons

Legal challenges to the death penalty in North Carolina have effectively stayed any executions since 2006.

This week, lawmakers look to change that with a bill that would allow any medical professional, not just doctors, to administer a lethal injection.

Federal Building Winston-Salem
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

Fierce testimony from experts and disenfranchised voters has been delivered in a Winston-Salem courtroom during the first two weeks of a federal trial challenging North Carolina's controversial new voting law.

Harnett County Courthouse
Gerry Dincher / Wikipedia

The Harnett County Veterans Treatment Court is looking for volunteers to help veterans navigate the legal system.

The Veterans Treatment Court assists former service members who have committed minor misdemeanor crimes. Mentors are now working with 20 veterans, and 10 more are expected. But only nine mentors are enrolled.

NC General Assembly
Jorge Valencia

Members of the General Assembly are back in Raleigh after a week-long vacation. They still must pass a budget for the next two years and consider several other bills, including Medicaid reform and Gov. Pat McCrory's bond proposal.

And Greensboro challenges the legislature’s measure changing voting districts for the city council. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC capitol reporter Jorge Valencia about the legislature's agenda for the rest of the summer.

Photo: Rosanell Eaton and Mary E. Perry
Jorge Valencia

The federal trial challenging North Carolina's new voting regulations continues Tuesday morning in Winston-Salem.

Inside the courtroom yesterday were opening arguments and testimony from seven witnesses. An attorney for the plaintiffs, Penda Hare, called this case a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement, one she says will have a lasting and decisive impact on African American and Latino voters for years to come.

Outside the courthouse was a massive Moral Monday protest and a march through downtown.

A picture of Duke Law School.
Krazos / Wikipedia

The fraternities at Duke University are creating a sexual assault task force. The University suspended its Alpha Delta Phi chapter amid rape allegations this winter.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch says fighting human trafficking is one of her priorities.
Jeff Tiberii

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch spoke about fighting human trafficking this morning in North Carolina. The nation's  top prosecutor described human trafficking as modern-day slavery during a visit to the Triangle on Wednesday.

"Whether it is sexual trafficking, whether it is forced labor, but it is quite frankly the 21st century scourge of our time- and it really has no place in modern society, it has no place in the country, it has no place in this state," said Lynch.

Lynch praised federal prosecutors based here for their efforts to stop trafficking.

Chad Biggs (left), 35, and Chris Creech, 46, were the first gay couple to be wed in Wake County.
Jorge Valencia / WUNC

In a 5-4 ruling today, the U.S. Supreme Court said all 50 states must recognize marriages between same-sex couples. The decision also means those couples can now get married anywhere and have their marriages recognized in all states.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the decision for the majority. Each dissenting justice also wrote his own opinion.

Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC capitol bureau chief Jeff Tiberii about this morning's ruling.

An image of the Supreme Court
Kjetil Ree / Wikimedia Commons

The United States Supreme Court issued a decision today upholding tax subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the court's opinion.

Three justices, the court's most conservative members, dissented. The decision allows 460,000 North Carolinians to continue to receive subsidies for their health insurance.

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