The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department could implement no-go zones to prevent criminals from returning to the same areas.
James Willamor / Flickr Creative Commons

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department is considering a policy that would preclude people who are arrested from returning to designated areas.

The measure is designed to reduce crime and other cities have instituted similar measures with carried successes. Opponents say the no-go zones raise constitutional concerns.

Photo: The lethal injection room at San Quentin State Prison
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation / Public Doman

North Carolina prosecutors have sought the death penalty against about two people per year since 1989 without enough evidence to prove their guilt, according to the Center for Death Penalty Litigation.  The advocacy group opposes the death penalty and helped represent former death row inmate Henry McCollum, who was recently exonerated after 30 years in jail.

Image of Allison Leotta, who wanted to show the ways the criminal justice system does and doesn't work in her books.
Allison Leotta

Allison Leotta was a federal sex-crimes prosecutor in Washington D.C. for more than a decade. Every day when she came home from work, she would think to herself, “I can’t believe what I saw today…someone should write about this.”

She began writing in the mornings before work and at night when she got home. In 2011, Leotta left the Justice Department to write full-time. She has now written four novels about a prosecutor named Anna Curtis, and people often refer to Leotta as “the female John Grisham.”

Photo: A graffiti painting at an intersection in Asheville
It's Tea / Flickr

State lawmakers are expected to send Gov. Pat McCrory on Wednesday a bill that would make graffiti vandalism a felony if performed by repeat offenders.

Under House Bill 552, which was approved unanimously by the House and is expected to get final approval from the Senate, anyone who has two or more prior convictions for graffiti vandalism or violates the law against it at least five times within two months could be charged with a felony. The offender could face up to 39 months in jail.

Window and Wooden Boards
Sherrie Thai /

The city of Durham is no longer using plywood to cover up windows and doors in abandoned buildings.

Faith Gardner works for city's Neighborhood Improvement Services Department.

"If you're living in a neighborhood with boarded structures, they don't look good, you can tell that they've been abandoned, there's also an attraction there for criminal activity."

Gardner says a new, clear, polycarbonate material has been installed in ten vacant homes, with more to come. She adds that it improves the appearance of the buildings and allows police to look inside.

Photo: U.S. Attorney Thomas Walker
Jorge Valencia

Federal prosecutors charged 13 current and former law enforcement officers in connection with a drug shipment network in North Carolina. 

Authorities say seven officers connected to the Northampton County Sheriff's Office conspired to distribute controlled substances from North Carolina to South Carolina and Maryland. Some also face money laundering, extortion and weapons charges.

Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC reporter Jorge Valencia about the indictments.

Photo: Mohammed Elgamal, chairman of the Islamic Association of Raleigh, and leaders from national Muslim advocacy organizations.
Jorge Valencia

When three young Muslim people were killed in a Chapel Hill apartment last week, their families, friends and advocates from around the world said they knew why: Their neighbor shot them because he hated their religion.

Chapel Hill police didn’t deny that claim, but didn’t validate it either. Within a day of the shooting, authorities said the neighbor, Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, had been disgruntled over a parking space.

As it turns out, there are wide discrepancies between establishing a hate crime in a court room and a hate crime in the court of public opinion.

Composite graphic image of Criminal
Artwork by Julienne Alexander

The North Carolina podcast Criminal is on a mission to tell the stories of “people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle.” 

Venus flytrap
David McAdoo / Flickr/Creative Commons

It used to be a misdemeanor to steal Venus flytraps from the wild. But the law changed in November, and now four suspects face felony charges, and up to 39 months in jail.

Hervey McIver of the Nature Conservancy says there’s high demand for Venus flytraps for novelty as well as medicinal use. The plants only grow wild in a roughly-100-mile radius around the Wilmington area.

The cover of Mette Ivie Harrison's The Bishop's Wife.

Linda Wallheim is a stay-at-home wife who is married to quite possibly the most influential man in her Mormon community of Draper, Utah.