Law and the Courts

Law and the Courts

Law and the Courts Top Story

Environmental advocates, fossil fuel industry debate Atlantic Coast Pipeline at the U.S. Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Where does a trail end and the land beneath it begin? That’s just one of the thorny questions the Supreme Court grappled with Monday morning during a one-hour hearing on a U.S. Forest Service permit for the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The hearing has been hotly anticipated by both the gas and oil industry, which supports the pipeline, and the environmental advocacy community, which opposes the project.

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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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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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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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Law and the Courts Top Story

Congressional redistricting plans take shape despite objections from the public, advocates

North Carolinians were presented with more than a dozen congressional maps by Tuesday night and had less than 24 hours to provide public comment about them Wednesday.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

North Carolina lawmakers begin drawing new election maps…again

North Carolina lawmakers are drawing electoral maps for the second time this year – this time, they are tackling congressional districts. A court ruled last week that the plaintiffs in a partisan gerrymandering lawsuit challenging the 2016 congressional map are likely to prevail on the merits of their case and enjoined lawmakers from moving forward with those districts in the 2020 election.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at what’s happening at the U.S.-Mexico border

Border Patrol agents apprehended more migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2019 (Oct. 2018-Sept. 2019) than any year since 2007, and the Pew Research Center released a closer look last week at some of the shifting dynamics.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

North Carolina reacts to court decisions in favor of ‘fairer maps’

Voting rights advocates and lawmakers were hit with a double whammy Monday: remedial legislative maps drawn to correct extreme partisan gerrymandering were accepted by a state Superior Court three-judge panel for the 2020 elections, and the 2016 congressional map was struck down.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Raise the Age funding ‘a good foundation’ as Dec. 1 implementation nears

In 39 days, some children and teenagers under the age of 18 will no longer be charged in the adult criminal system in North Carolina for most non-violent crimes. Raise the Age legislation was passed in 2017 to change the age of juvenile jurisdiction in the state – North Carolina was the last in the nation to make the change – and after years of research, advocacy and waiting, the law is finally going into effect Dec. 1.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

New report: Using citizenship data in redistricting will whitewash representation

Common Cause released a report today that shows drawing electoral boundaries using only data for citizens over the age of 18 relies on fundamentally faulty data and is part of a partisan plot to shift representation away from communities of color to areas where white populations live.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

It’s up to the court now: A redistricting update after the final round of filings

It’s a strikingly familiar tale in North Carolina: voters are waiting with bated breath for a court to either approve legislatively-drawn remedial House and Senate maps or to assign the job to a neutral third-party to correct unconstitutional ...
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