There are more than 30 new laws that take effect today in North Carolina.

People with multiple convictions of driving while impaired will face harsher punishments and higher fines. "Laura's Law" is named after a 17-year-old girl from Gaston County who died after a drunken driver collided with her car last year.

A panel of three judges has found two North Carolina men innocent of a murder to which they had once pleaded guilty.

The judges announced their decision Thursday in Asheville after nearly two weeks of testimony in the cases of Kenneth Kagonyera and Robert Wilcoxsin.

Both men had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Walter Bowman of Fairview at his home in 2000. They claimed they agreed to the pleas to avoid the possibility of getting the death penalty or spending life behind bars.

Defense attorneys have decided to present evidence during jury selection in the murder trial of Robert Stewart. He's accused of shooting and killing eight people two years ago at the Pinelake Health and Rehabilitation Center in Moore County. Stewart's attorneys say he was under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs at the time and is not legally responsible for his actions. Defense lawyers are showing potential jurors graphic images of the shootings and Stewart admitted this week during jury selection he killed the victims.