Law and the Courts

Law and the Courts

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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Law and the Courts Top Story

The lowdown on NC’s “Raise the Age” legislation

A Q&A with key players ahead of today’s House vote

House lawmakers are expected to vote today on House Bill 280, a bill that would raise the age of juvenile prosecution from 16 and 17 years old to 18 years old.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Next “Raise the Age” battle will be making sure some felonies remain in law

As legislation to raise the juvenile age of prosecution gains steam, advocates are preparing for their next big hurdle in getting a law on the books.

North Carolina is currently the only state in the nation that prosecutes 16- and 17-year-olds as adults. House Bill 280 would raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction for those teens charged with misdemeanors and low-level, nonviolent felonies.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Up in the air: Bill that would reshape specialty courts leaves uncertain fate for current programs

In a perfect world, every county from Murphy to Manteo would have a state-funded specialty court to address and treat substance abuse and mental health, reduce recidivism and encourage accountability.

In reality, North Carolina stopped funding specialty courts six years ago, and the Administrative Office of the Courts wants to change the law in such a way that could put the future of locally-funded current programs and its clients in jeopardy.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Republican judge on protesting bill reducing Court of Appeals: ‘There weren’t any other options’

On Monday morning, there was only one way left to save the Court of Appeals and a few hours with which to do it.

Just two days earlier, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed House Bill 239, which would reduce the state’s appellate court from 15 judges to 12. It was expected that the Republican-led General Assembly would override that veto as soon as they could, despite a lot of opposition from both sides of the aisle.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

U.S. Supreme Court to revisit challenge to NC’s “monster” voting law Friday

Conference comes a day after new report lauds benefits of same-day registration

The new line-up for the U.S. Supreme Court will meet tomorrow to decide what’s next for the constitutional challenge to North Carolina’s controversial voting rights law.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Full speed ahead: GOP lawmakers plow ahead with plans to remake the state court system

It’s starting to look like “court-packing” may not be as dead in the water as some Republican lawmakers said it was in December.

The General Assembly passed House Bill 239 this week, which would reduce the Court of Appeals from 15 judges to 12 and add more than 100 cases per year to the state Supreme Court’s workload. Gov. Roy Cooper plans to veto the legislation.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

What does subdividing court districts have to do with voters? Everything.

With the exception of authoring formal opinions and issuing court rulings, it’s not often that judges step into the spotlight to make their voices heard.

Judges work for an independent branch of government and must remain neutral to keep the public’s trust. They take an oath to be impartial and deliver equal justice for all.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

High Court ruling raises the bar, ensuring disabled students receive a meaningful education

The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a ruling last week that will empower parents of disabled students to make sure their children are getting a meaningful education and hold public schools accountable if not.

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Law and the Courts

An in-depth look at N.C. lawmakers’ attempt to shrink the Court of Appeals

Each of the 15 North Carolina Court of Appeals judges writes on average about 100 opinions per year.

When former Judge Linda Stephens used to explain the court’s workload to students, she’d often compare opinions to term papers.

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Law and the Courts

Cooper-legislature power struggle unfolds at trial addressing constitutional questions

The leadership battle between North Carolina’s executive and legislative branches came to a head Tuesday in what one judge described as a historic separation of powers case.

Gov. Roy Cooper sued legislative leaders, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, in response to new statutes enacted during a special session in December before he took office that reduce his powers.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Larry Hall wins unanimous committee approval for Veteran Affairs post

Decked out in ‘Marine Corps red,’ nominee impresses Senate committee

Larry Hall stood tall Thursday in a bright red jacket holding a cigar in one hand and a similar-colored cover in the other. He had just been recommended by a Senate committee for confirmation as Secretary of the state Department of Military and Veteran Affairs.

“This is Marine Corps red,” Hall told a reporter. “The Marine Corps has a tradition you’ll notice, usually it’s a red stripe down the dress blue trousers, and that’s a blood stripe.”

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Law and the Courts Top Story

As bipartisan support for redistricting grows, community rallies around issue in effort to get lawmakers’ attention

When the Democrats were the majority party at the North Carolina General Assembly, Republicans wanted redistricting reform. Now that the Republicans are at the helm of power, Democrats want redistricting reform.

But advocates say gerrymandering is not a partisan issue, and if redistricting reform isn’t passed soon, it will permanently corrode the public’s confidence in elections.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

As senators subpoena Cooper cabinet pick, experts weigh legal options, potential outcomes

Larry Hall, a former legislator and Gov. Roy Cooper’s choice to head the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, has been subpoenaed by a Senate committee but he may not be legally obligated to appear.

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