Crime

Execution chamber
Wikipedia

Stephen Lich Tyler drove to Texas last week to witness the execution of his father’s killer, Ramiro Hernandez Llanas. Before he left, he spoke on The State of Things about his struggles with the decision to attend and his expectations of the execution. He returned to the studio today to talk with host Frank Stasio about the experience and how it shaped his perspective on the death penalty.

Lethal injection room
Wikipedia

On Wednesday night, the State of Texas executed Ramiro Hernandez-Llanas, a man convicted of the 1997 killing of professor Glen Lich.

Hernandez-Llanas was an immigrant hired to work on the Lich property when he lured Lich outside the home and beat him to death. He then returned to the house and attacked Lich's wife.

Lich was not Hernandez-Llanas's first murder victim. Hernandez-Llanas had escaped from Mexican prison where he was serving a 25-year sentence for murder.

classroom
Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

Crime, violence, dropout rates and out-of-school suspensions declined across North Carolina public schools last school year, according to a report released by state education officials.

The report shows 10,630 reported acts of school crime and violence last school year, a 4.8 percent decrease from the 11,161 acts in 2011-12. The most common reported acts involve illegal possession of drugs or alcohol, weapons or assault.

Brain scan
creative commons

In the future, neuroscientific evidence may be as prevalent as DNA evidence in the criminal justice system. Today on The State of Things, experts discussed the future of neuroscience and the law. Here are some highlights. 

MRI brain scan
creative commons

In the not so distant future, brain scans may be as prevalent as DNA evidence in the criminal justice system. This neuroscientific evidence has the potential to correct biases and predict criminal recidivism. But critics argue it could be misleading and difficult to refute. Exploring the brain as a means of assessing intent also raises privacy concerns. 

Wake County District Attorney Colon WIlloughby
http://web.co.wake.nc.us/ / Wake County District Attorney's Office

  

In his 27 years as Wake County’s District Attorney, Colon Willoughby has prosecuted everything from high-profile murder cases to corruption in state government. For Willoughby, integrity and impartiality are vital components of the role. 

Photo: The old Jackson County Courthouse in Sylva, N.C.
Jimmy Emmerson via Flickr

North Carolina will move one step closer today to allowing people accused of a crime to waive the right to a trial by a jury of peers and instead choose to be tried by a judge.

A proposed constitutional amendment, which is scheduled for a public hearing March 17 in Raleigh, would allow any criminal defendant except for someone facing the possibility of death the right to waive a jury trial.

Gavel
SalFalko via Flickr, Creative Commons

More than 40 new laws passed by state legislators earlier this year went into effect yesterday.

The laws that went on the books are primarily criminal. They include greater punishments for those who abuse or endanger children.

One of them would more than double the maximum prison terms for the most serious child abuse charge. It was inspired by the case of a three-year-old from Concord, who was severely beaten by her stepfather.

Gavel
SalFalko via Flickr, Creative Commons

  

More than 40 new laws go into effect on December 1st in North Carolina.

They include harsher penalties for those who abuse or endanger children, and a lessening of punishments for certain misdemeanors. Host Frank Stasio gets an overview from Associated Press politics reporter Gary Robertson.

A teenager died in a Durham police car in the department’s headquarters parking lot early Tuesday after the officer driving him heard "a loud noise" in the car, authorities said. 

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