Crime

Laurence Lovette will serve the rest of his life behind bars for murdering UNC Chapel Hill student body president Eve Carson. On Tuesday Lovette became the second man convicted in the killing. District Attorney Jim Woodall says in the four years since the crime, the Carson case has received attention throughout the country.

Jim Woodall: "I've literally prosecuted thousands of cases. One thing that made this case different is that it was so senseless. And then that Eve had such a bright future. She meant so much to so many people."

A judge has ruled that Durham novelist Michael Peterson will get a new trial in his wife's 2001 death. Judge Orlando Hudson ruled Wednesday that former State Bureau of Investigation agent Duane Deaver misled the court about the bloodstain evidence at the 2003 trial in which Peterson was convicted of murder in the death of Kathleen Peterson, who was found at the bottom of a bloody staircase. The SBI fired Deaver in January after an independent audit found he misreported, mishandled or exaggerated forensic evidence in 34 criminal cases.

Major crimes, like homicides and robberies, are way down in Raleigh. The number of homicides fell from 35 two years ago to 14 in 2010.

City officials are crediting efforts in “community policing” in 2009 for the decrease. It involves increased foot patrols, juvenile programs, and specially-trained officers.

Another part of the community policing strategy is to increase enforcement of lesser crimes, like prostitution and drug offenses, before they lead to major crimes. Prostitution arrests rose from 64 in 2008 to 239 last year.

North Carolina's crime level has dropped to its lowest level since 1977.

Lawmakers in the House have voted to nullify a 2009 law that allows death row prisoners to contest their sentences on the basis of racial bias. The law, called the Racial Justice Act, allows a judge to commute a condemned prisoner's sentence to life in prison if he or she determines the case was tainted by race. Republican representative Justin Burr says the law has forced prosecutors to spend too much time reviewing old cases.

State senators have voted unanimously to approve reforms that would rename the state's crime laboratory and toughen up standards.  Under the bill, the state crime lab would be known as the North Carolina Crime laboratory. Lawmakers say it's a symbolic gesture designed to help give the beleagured institution a fresh start.

Advocates: Raise The Age For Juvenile Offenders

Mar 16, 2011

Advocates for young people were at the legislature yesterday, pressing lawmakers on children's issues.  One issue for advocates is North Carolina's policy of charging 16 and 17-year-olds as adults in the criminal justice system. 

Brandy Bynum from Action for Children North Carolina says she hears from young people who get caught in the adult system for relatively minor offenses:

Roy Cooper
governor.state.nc.us

People arrested for violent felonies and some misdemeanors dealing with sexual predators will have their DNA entered into the state’s database as part of a new law taking effect February 1st. Attorney General Roy Cooper has been outspoken supporter of the measure.

A coordinated effort among law enforcement, schools, and non-profits would help to combat the impact of gangs in Guilford County. That’s according to a study presented today by UNC Greensboro. Youth Focus, a non-profit for at-risk youth is one of the groups involved in that effort.

Executive Director Chuck Hodierne says he hopes the study will make the community more aware of the issue of gangs. He says gang activity is a very difficult problem to address directly:

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