A brush with the criminal justice system for something as small as a busted tail light or speeding ticket has outlandishly large implications for people who cannot pay the fines, fees and surcharges associated with a court appearance. These costs add up for people, and they add up for the court system too. Last year North Carolina brought in more than $300 million dollars from assessing these charges.
Every night before bedtime, Shana Carignan goes through a special ritual with her six-year-old son, Jax. "Arright buddy, you know the drill! We’re going to have to giggle, get the bubbles out, right?," she says.
Several advocacy organizations have filed suit against the state of North Carolina after Governor Pat McCrory signed broad-based voting reform. Earlier today, leaders with the NAACP spoke out against the law. Reverend William Barber said it unfairly targets African-American voters.
A panel of experts weigh the pros and cons of the coming drone boom
North Carolina is vying to host one of six national test sites for unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones. The prospect of a burgeoning domestic drone industry in the state has some people excited. But others are voicing concerns.
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.
The North Carolina ACLU is urging the state DMV to continue issuing driver's licenses to some immigrants.
The state's Department of Motor Vehicles has suspended its practice of granting licenses to immigrants allowed in the country under a federal policy, Immigrants registered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative are allowed to stay in the country if they meet certain guidelines such as having arrived in the country before age 16, graduating high school or attending college or serving in the military.
The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina says there are potentially thousands of inmates who have been wrongfully convicted because of a problem with structured sentencing unique to North Carolina. Chris Brook, Legal Director of the ACLU of North Carolina, joins host Frank Stasio to discuss how firearms possession and a change in sentencing laws have countless men and women serving undeserved stints in prison.
The American Civil Liberties Union is taking a stand to protect cell phone records in police investigations.
Gurnal Scott: About 40 North Carolina police agencies responded to the national ACLU's question on how cell phone records were obtained. The ACLU said the responses were inconsistent ranging from getting court orders as a safety net to having no written policy at all. North Carolina ACLU spokesman Mike Meno says the intent is not to hamper how police track suspects.
The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina is filing a federal lawsuit alleging the state's adoption of "Choose Life" license plates is unconstitutional on the grounds that a pro-choice alternative isn't offered. Katherine Lewis Parker is a Legal Director at the ACLU.
Federal investigators are looking into allegations of mistreatment at the Wake County jail. The North Carolina ACLU compiled 57 complaints in 2009 and 2010 from detainees accused of illegal immigration. Some say their rights to due process were violated. The ACLU claims that constitutes a violation of an immigration law called 287(g). It allows the federal government to enter into agreements with local law enforcement to carry out immigration functions. Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison: