Law and the Courts

Law and the Courts

Law and the Courts Top Story

Future, past of NC death penalty in focus at state Supreme Court

Death row inmates ask justices for life in prison after racial bias infected their trials Six North Carolina death row inmates are fighting to to spend the rest of their lives in prison without any possibility of parole and to escape an early death at the hands of an execution team.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Board of Elections dismisses security concerns; votes to allow barcode ballots

The North Carolina Board of Elections went against the request of thousands of voters Friday when they voted 3-2 to certify a barcode elections system susceptible to hacking.

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

Monday Numbers: Who has been removed from NC’s voter rolls?

Every year, North Carolina removes registered voters from its voter rolls as part of a maintenance routine required by state and federal laws. The removal is often referred to as “purging,” but North Carolina State Board of Elections spokesman Pat Gannon said the term is “an overused, inaccurate and misleading way to describe maintenance of the voter rolls.” Below is information from the State Board about its voter list maintenance process in 2017 and 2018, as well as nationwide voter “purge” data from the Brennan Center for Justice.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story Trump Administration

Advocates, officials: New Trump anti-immigration rule is harshest yet

The Trump Administration’s new public charge rule will do more to keep families separated than it will to discourage immigrants from using public benefits by implementing a “wealth test” and defining the type of foreigner they’re willing to let stay in this country.

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

Must read: The N.C. Racial Justice Act and why it still matters in the fight to end the death penalty

Editor's note: On August 26th and 27th, the North Carolina Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in six death penalty cases involving the Racial Justice Act -- a law enacted by the North Carolina General Assembly and Gov. Beverly Perdue in 2009 and later repealed after Republicans took control of the legislature and the Governor's mansion in 2013. The following review of the law and its history...

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Law and the Courts Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

PW exclusive: Durham’s new D.A. is breaking the mold

In a one-on-one interview, Satana Deberry explains how she's transforming the prosecutor's office in NC's 6th largest county When Satana Deberry was executive director of the North Carolina Housing Coalition, it was easy for her to see the ripple effects of interactions with the justice system. A single arrest, a single plea, a single conviction for even a low level infraction could close doors to employment, housing and education, she said. That could lead to further arrests, perpetuating generational cycles of poverty.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Board of Elections does a 180 on decision to delay certifying voting machines

The North Carolina State Board of Elections plans to move forward with certifying new voting machines ahead of the 2020 elections after a member mistakenly voted Monday night to delay the process to create stricter requirements out of concern for cyber security. The reversal of course came as a surprise to voting rights advocates and citizens who had praised Board members last night for postponing certification in the name of voter integrity.

The reverse course came as a surprise to voting rights advocates and citizens...

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Partisan gerrymandering trial to conclude today after Thursday bombshell

A two-week long trial about whether Republican lawmakers violated the constitution when they drew voting maps to maximize their partisan advantage will come to an end today. The Wake County Superior Court three-judge panel likely won’t make a decision for a least a few weeks...

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Expert witnesses, lawyers offer dramatically different assessments at state gerrymandering trial

They say the best defense is a good offense, and GOP legislative leaders appear to be attempting heed that old adage. The legislative defendants in North Carolina's partisan gerrymandering trial, Common Cause v. Lewis, started presenting their case this week and, simultaneously, started sending out daily...

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Law and the Courts Top Story

NC Supreme Court justice publicly maligns colleagues, urges critics of America to “just leave” the country

State judicial code makes discipline unlikely for Justice Paul Newby The only registered Republican on the state Supreme Court likely won't face any consequences after publicly disparaging his fellow justices, urging a crowd to watch their work over the next 18 months for judicial activism, and telling people who don't like America to "just leave."

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

North Carolina court begins high-stakes partisan gerrymandering trial

North Carolina voting rights groups and Democrats were compared to the legendary Pied Piper at the start of a highly-anticipated partisan gerrymandering trial on Monday – actors who would lure a state court with their legal flutes into a "thicket" of thorns. “There is no need for the thicket under our current constitutional order,” said Phil Strach, an attorney for the legislative defendants. “The court should resist the flute, avoid the thicket and uphold the constitutional order by dismissing these claims.”

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

North Carolina partisan gerrymandering trial could provide roadmap for other states

All eyes will be on North Carolina next week as partisan gerrymandering takes center stage, once again. The trial in the case of  Common Cause v. Lewis – the state constitutional partisan gerrymandering challenge – will begin at 10 a.m. Monday

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Will the Hofeller files make it to trial in partisan gerrymandering case?

North Carolina Republicans believe the files from deceased mapmaker Thomas Hofeller shouldn’t be used at the upcoming partisan gerrymandering trial because he’s not around to testify. “There are lots of things, your honors, that we are never going to know about those files and that, frankly, we can’t know about those files because Dr. Hofeller is not here to testify about them...

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Monday numbers: A look at Census data

The U.S. Supreme Court last week at least temporarily blocked the Trump Administration from asking a citizenship question on 2020 Census. Challengers to the question say it has driven fear into the immigrant community and could result in inaccurate data, which would mean less federal dollars in some areas.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

U.S. Supreme Court halts Trump Administration’s citizenship Census question for now

In a surprising move Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked the Trump Administration’s addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. It wasn’t the citizenship question in and of itself that gave the high court pause, but rather the rationale behind it, which Chief Justice John Roberts wrote “seems to have been contrived.”

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to address partisan gerrymandering fuels state court fight

The U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative-leaning justices ruled Thursday that federal courts are incapable of solving partisan gerrymandering challenges. “Excessive partisanship in districting leads to results that reasonably seem unjust,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in the 5-4 opinion. “But the fact that such gerrymandering is ‘incompatible with democratic principles’ does not mean that the solution lies with the federal judiciary. We conclude that partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts.

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