Law

The State of Things
12:15 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Trayvon Martin's Killing Reverberates In North Carolina

Photos from the Million Hoodies Union Square protest against Trayvon Martin's shooting death in Sanford, Florida.
Credit David Shankbone

On Saturday, July 13, George Zimmerman was pronounced not guilty of second degree murder for the killing of Trayvon Martin. The jury acquitted him on the grounds of self-defense. What does self-defense mean in a case like this?

Before the trial began, Judge Deborah Nelson forbade use of the term “racial profiling” in the courtroom. How does race play into the criminal justice system? 

Host Frank Stasio speaks with a panel of experts to discuss these questions and what the Trayvon Martin case in Florida means for us in North Carolina. His guests are:

Read more
Law
5:00 am
Thu July 4, 2013

Governor Orders Revision Of Prison Home Leave Policies

Credit Dept. of Public Safety

State prison inmates will soon find it tougher to make home visits as their sentences wind down.  Governor Pat McCrory ordered a review of the program the Department of Public Safety has used for over four decades to reacclimate inmates to life outside prison walls.  He approved four recommendations he and DPS leaders believe may cut back on parolees returning to prison. 

Read more
The State of Things
11:14 am
Wed July 3, 2013

DOMA And Voting Rights Act Decisions’ Impact On North Carolina

The United States Supreme Court
Credit Jeff Kubina

Frank Stasio discusses the Supreme Court's latest decisions with his guests.

Two landmark decisions handed down by the United States Supreme Court last week could have serious implications for North Carolina. Justices struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, leaving southern states free to pursue changes to election law without prior federal approval. The court also struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, saying that same-sex couples are entitled to the same benefits as heterosexual couples.

Read more
Law
7:36 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Fayetteville Ranks Fifth In Nation For Property Crime

City of Fayetteville Police Department
Credit bethebadge.com

The FBI says Fayetteville has the fifth highest rate of property crime in America, according to analysis of crimes rates for large cities in 2012. The figures come in the same week the Fayetteville City Council voted to pass up a tax increase that would have raised money for 15 new police officers.

Read more
Law
6:00 am
Thu June 20, 2013

SCOTUS Justice Antonin Scalia To Address NC Bar Association

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is the keynote speaker at this year's meeting of the NC Bar Association.
Credit Stephen Masker / Flickr Creative Commons

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is in North Carolina this week for the state Bar Association's annual meeting. 

Read more
After Innocence: Exoneration in America
1:00 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

After Innocence: Wrongfully Convicted Inmate Escaped Prison, Finally Exonerated

Exoneree Orlando Boquete
Credit David Persoff

In 1982, a woman notified the police that two men had broken into her home, and one of them had sexually assaulted her. She described the sexual offender as a Latino man wearing no shirt and with no hair.  After the police responded to the call, they found a group of Cuban-Americans in the parking lot of a convenience store. A man named Orlando Boquete was among them, the only one who wore no shirt and had little hair, although he did have a large, black mustache. 

The police arrested Boquete right there and took him to the victim’s home, where she identified him, from 20 feet away in a police cruiser at night, as the perpetrator. After she identified him that night, she added to her testimony that the perpetrator had a mustache.

Boquete testified at the trial that he was with his family watching TV at the time of the crime. Afterwards, he went to the convenience store with his cousins, where the police picked him up.  The jury didn’t buy it. Another piece of evidence ignored at the trial was blood type. The fluids found on the victim’s clothing revealed that the perpetrator had Type A blood. Boquete and the victim are both Type O, but the forensic analyst who testified at the trial did not mention this crucial fact.

Boquete was charged and convicted of sexual battery and burglary in 1983 and sent to prison.

Read more
The State of Things
11:06 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Remembering The Hunt For Eric Rudolph

Eric Rudolph
Credit FBI

At one time, Eric Rudolph was one of the most wanted men in the country. He was responsible for a series of bombings in Georgia and Alabama, including at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

Reporter Jon Elliston talks about the 10-year anniversary of Eric Rudolph’s capture

Read more
After Innocence: Exoneration in America
6:00 am
Thu June 13, 2013

After Innocence: James Waller Speaks About What Exoneration Feels Like

Exoneree James Waller
Credit David Persoff

“The worst thing you can be is a sex offender because it’s dirt that you can’t wash off.”

Those words were spoken by James Waller in an interview with WUNC at the Innocence Network Conference in Charlotte in April. Waller spent decades in prison and on parole after being wrongfully convicted of sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy. When he went to jail, he was 23. When he was exonerated in 2007, he was 50.

Read more
After Innocence: Exoneration in America
1:00 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

After Innocence: Exoneree Christopher Scott Fights To Free Other Innocents Behind Bars

Exoneree Christopher Scott
Credit David Persoff

Update 12/31/13: This story was mentioned in a Huffington Post list of notable prison stories from 2013. All the stories from this series are available for you to read and hear.

When Christopher Scott walked out of the Dallas courthouse a free man after 12 years of wrongful imprisonment, Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins declared that it might be the biggest case yet for his office.  Not only had they exonerated two people (the other was Claude Simmons Jr.) involved in the same murder case, but they did it without DNA evidence. Watkins said that the case would likely cause DA offices across the country to take non-DNA exoneration requests a little more seriously.

Read more
The State of Things
12:15 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Exonerees Share Stories Of Wrongful Conviction At Innocence Network Conference

Vanessa Potkin, senior staff attorney with the Innocence Project, helped to exonerate Bennie Starks earlier this year.
Sameer Abdel-Khalek

Frank Stasio talks with Keith Findley, president of the Innocence Network; Vanessa Potkin, Innocence Project senior staff attorney; and exonerees Bennie Starks and Audrey Edmunds.

Across the country, 306 wrongfully convicted inmates have been exonerated because of DNA evidence. The number of people exonerated through other means is hard to calculate, since not all states keep records of exonerees.  It might be close to 1,000. But that could be a gross undercount. Over 100 exonerees and many others gathered in Charlotte this past weekend for the 2013 Innocence Network Conference.  There, The State of Things host Frank Stasio sat down with two exonerees and two legal professionals to learn more about their stories.

Read more

Pages