Law and the Courts

Law and the Courts

Law and the Courts Top Story

Merit or maps? Judges’ futures could come down to clashing legislative proposals

Senate favors form of merit selection for judges as alternative to House judicial redistricting bill

The fate of judicial selection in North Carolina may come down to a clash between the House and Senate.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Architect behind changes to NC judiciary late (again) in filing campaign finance report

North Carolinians hoping to find out who’s been funding Rep. Justin Burr’s crusade this legislative session to change the judiciary are in the dark.

The five-term Republican legislator from Stanly has not yet filed his mid-year semi-annual campaign finance report, according to the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. The report was due July 31.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

State courts attempting to cope as number of emergency judges is slashed by more than two-thirds

The General Assembly’s recent budget decision to slash the state’s corps of emergency judges has started to take effect.

According to the latest lists released by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), there are now only 10 active emergency superior court judges and 25 emergency district court judges. Prior to the July 1 effective date of the Fiscal Year 2018 budget, there were 42 emergency superior court judges and 72 emergency district court judges. The new list reflects an overall reduction of 69.2%.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Republicans silent in wake of court order to draw new maps in one month

Republican legislative leaders are staying mum about a federal court ruling that requires them to submit new maps by September 1.

The date is almost three months in advance of the deadline they asked for, though the three-judge panel did deny a request for a special election – a win for GOP lawmakers who argued against such a request after delaying drawing new maps until the 11th hour.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Courtroom rundown: Democrats show political disadvantage as judges scold GOP map delay

Democratic candidates are paralyzed until Republican lawmakers redraw the State House and Senate districts that were found to have been unconstitutionally racially gerrymandered.

The GOP partisan advantage in the absence of constitutional districts is so great that it’s driven opponents into the shadows and all but halted their fundraising efforts for the 2018 election, according to testimony during a federal court hearing Thursday.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Attorney General Josh Stein scrambling to cover $10 million budget gap

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein’s most important job is to keep people safe.

For the Department of Justice, which he heads, that can mean helping to keep criminals behind bars, protecting residents’ drinking water...

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Trial judges gain new, valuable resources in Judicial Fellowship program

For the first time in a long time, trial judges in North Carolina have independent research assistance for complicated cases and questions of law. The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) launched the N.C. Judicial Fellowship program in April after a recommendation from the N.C. Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice (NCCALJ). The Fellowship is currently staffed by a director and four fellows, with four more to be added in August. Fellows provide independent legal research and writing support to the state’s 370-plus superior and district court judges. ...
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Law and the Courts Top Story

Gerrymandering, the courts and the next election in North Carolina: All of your burning questions answered

It’s been a little over a month since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that 28 state North Carolina House and Senate districts were racially gerrymandered but lawmakers have yet to draw new maps.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Attorneys for Board of Ed, Superintendent clash over transfer of power

Lawmakers either had no authority to transfer constitutional powers and duties from the state Board of Education to Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson or full authority to do so, and both arguments presented to a three-judge panel yesterday hinge on Article IX, Section 5 of the North Carolina Constitution. The provision reads as follows...

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Law and the Courts

Politically-driven judicial redistricting halted…for the time being

North Carolina lawmakers’ latest attempt to insert politics into the judiciary was thwarted Tuesday but is expected to be taken up again the next time they gather in Raleigh. Legislators unveiled new prosecutorial and judicial district maps this week that would dramatically change the way district attorneys and judges are elected across the entire state.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Linda McGee speaks out: An interview with the Chief Judge of the NC Court of Appeals

The North Carolina Court of Appeals celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. As the court heads into its next half century, Chief Judge Linda McGee has a lot of hopes, but the biggest is for an improved relationship between the judicial branch of government and the people it serves.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

U.S. Supreme Court agrees NC legislative districts were illegally gerrymandered based on race

The U.S. Supreme Court is sending a clear message to North Carolina lawmakers: racial gerrymandering is unconstitutional. The nation’s highest court handed down its third decision in three weeks regarding a North Carolina racial gerrymandering case — North ...
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Law and the Courts Top Story

Judges who upheld Cooper’s first challenge to Elections-Ethics merger dismiss his second try

A three-judge panel has unanimously dismissed Gov. Roy Cooper’s challenge to a new state law that would merge the State Board of Elections and State Ethics Commission. The ruling was based upon the judges’ determination that they did ...
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Law and the Courts Top Story

House and Senate differ over budget provision making it harder for judges to waive fees for poor defendants

You can’t get blood from a stone — it’s one of those cliché proverbs that rings especially true when it comes to debt collection.

It’s also a concept that is currently before the North Carolina General Assembly as lawmakers crafting the state budget debate a budget provision that would make it extremely cumbersome for judges across the state to waive court fines or costs for indigent defendants.

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Law and the Courts

House subcommittee advances another “austerity” budget for Justice and Public Safety

The House unveiled pieces of its budget Thursday morning at various appropriation committee meetings, and lawmakers wasted no time reading it and getting through the amendment process.

The Justice and Public Safety (JPS) budget provides funding for four agencies: Department of Public Safety, Department of Justice, Indigent Defense Services and the Administrative Office of the Courts.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Assessing the Supreme Court’s gerrymandering decision

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that the North Carolina GOP drew unconstitutionally racially gerrymandered congressional districts, but what does it mean and where do lawmakers go from here?

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