Archives by: Melissa Boughton

Melissa Boughton

About the author

Melissa Boughton, Courts and Law Reporter, joined N.C. Policy Watch in September 2016. She covers local, state and federal courts and writes about key decisions that impact the lives of North Carolinians. Before joining the project, Melissa worked the crime and courts beats at The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C.; The Winchester Star in Winchester, Va.; and The Kerrville Daily Times in Kerrville, TX. While reporting in Charleston, she covered the Emanuel church shootings and the police killing of Walter Scott. She was part of the team that was named a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in breaking news reporting for coverage of Scott’s death.

melissa@ncpolicywatch.com
919-861-1454

Melissa Boughton's articles and posts

Law and the Courts Top Story

Greensboro event fuels movement to reform criminal justice fines and fees

Not everyone in North Carolina understands the implications of court fines and fees and how expenses from minor traffic violations and criminal charges can cause a person’s life to spiral out of control. The North Carolina Fines and Fees Coalition and the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program kicked off a campaign last week at Bennett College in Greensboro to change how people think about the burden court debt can pose, particularly to people who are poor.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

PW profile: Deputy Juvenile Justice Secretary draws from painful personal past to help kids in the system succeed

When Billy Lassiter was 12 years old, he sat in the front row of one of his seventh grade classes surrounded by about 30 students who had their sights set on picking apart their substitute teacher’s strange dialect.

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News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at North Carolina’s infant mortality rates

African American babies were nearly three times as likely to die in 2018 in North Carolina than white babies. The state can do better, but to address the issue, it must know the extent of the crisis. Below are just a few of the numbers to reflect how big the problem is in this state.  

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Attorneys to NC Supreme Court: Lead us in ending racial discrimination in jury selection

Imagine three people being interviewed in succession in Juror Seat #10 about their ability to serve in a felony drug trial involving a Black man considered to be a felon who allegedly also possessed a firearm. You’re the prosecutor, and you want the juror who can sympathize most with how you present the case. Juror A is a supervisor at a termite company. He says he's previously been a victim of crime, and that even though no one was arrested, charged or convicted, he still feels that law enforcement did everything it could.

You’re the prosecutor, and you want the juror who can sympathize most with how you present the case.

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Monday numbers: Martin Luther King Jr. Day edition

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a national holiday to honor and celebrate the life of the civil rights activist. King was a Baptist minister and activist who was considered one of the leaders of the civil rights movement until he was assassinated in 1968. The numbers below give more information about King and the life he led.  

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

NC’s new “Raise the Age” law appears to be off to a promising start

New facilities and policies offer hope to 16 and 17 year-olds once consigned to the adult corrections system Tall trees and a rocky, woodsy landscape envelop the C.A. Dillon juvenile detention campus in Butner. Save for the tall metal fence that rings the confinement building, the area could be mistaken for a summer camp or private school grounds. The feeling that greets the visitor of wanting to go for a group hike or play flag football with old pals quickly diminishes inside, however...

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Progress, setbacks in fight against gerrymandering headline an extraordinary year in the courts

Two-thousand nineteen will forever be immortalized as the year North Carolinians fought back against gerrymandering and won. Their prize? For the first time in a decade, voters will get to cast their ballot in something resembling a constitutional ...
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Law and the Courts News Top Story

The gerrymanderer’s daughter

Stephanie Hofeller opens up in exclusive interview about life, family and the explosive files that changed North Carolina politics LEXINGTON, KY. – Almost a year and a month to the day after Stephanie Hofeller turned American Politics on its head by reaching out to Common Cause North Carolina about her family affairs, she stood in the middle of her small Kentucky apartment with a Marlboro Light hanging from her lips and a glass of red Kool-Aid in her hand. She exhaled a thick haze of white smoke and then took a deep breath before delving into what her life has been like in the aftermath of releasing the personal files of her dead father – notorious GOP mapmaker Tom Hofeller.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Breaking: State court cites time constraints in approving congressional maps that are “not perfect”

North Carolina Republicans officially ran out the clock – at least legally – when they enacted a new Congressional map just weeks before candidate filing. A three-judge state Superior Court panel ruled unanimously Monday that the map can go forward and set aside its prior injunction postponing congressional candidate filing.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Lawsuit seeks to restore voting rights to North Carolinians with felonies, strike down ‘Jim Crow era’ law

Dennis Gaddy missed out on the opportunity to elect the nation’s first African-American president because of his criminal record, despite re-entering society, paying taxes, taking care of his children and being a responsible and respected citizen. After losing the right to vote for seven years, he’s now a lead plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the statute that took away that “sacred” right, even after he served his time and “fully returned to society.”

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