Policy Watch Investigates

Policy Watch Investigates

Defending Democracy Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

NC officials order dozens of campaigns to forfeit illegal PAC contributions from pharma giant

In one of the largest campaign donation forfeitures in state history, 48 improper donations from the Pfizer Inc. political action committee will be forfeited by political campaigns and committees across the state.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Speakers at Durham conference: Criminalization of poverty is big and growing problem in NC

When Andrea Hudson was pulled over for a routine traffic violation in 2013, the police officer found outstanding warrants for her arrest. The charges – abusing an elderly person and fraud – were a surprise to Hudson, who insisted it was a case of mistaken identity. Her bail was initially set at $10,000 – out of reach for the mother of two. Even pulling together the ten to fifteen percent that’s necessary to pay a bail bond agent to secure her release was a stretch. When a judge raised the bail to $30,000, she could see no way out.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

A surprising voice comes to NC in support of progressive policy solutions

Republican Chief Justice of Texas Supreme Court pushes for legal aid funding, criminal justice reforms in Raleigh talk

Equal access to justice isn’t a partisan issue, Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht told a crowd of more than 100 at the N.C. Bar Association Tuesday. It just looks like one.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Orange County: Part of the changing-face of pretrial justice

The inequity of the cash bail system is something Orange County has long understood. The county is one of dozens across the state that supports pretrial services - a jail alternative system that identifies poor people who are low risks for violence and likely to show for their court dates and allows them to be released on very low or no bail.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Monday numbers

In a unanimous vote by its board of county commissioners, Orange County recently became one of the latest jurisdictions to proclaim their support for the 3DaysCount campaign.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

National pretrial expert: Reform is coming to the broken cash bail system

When Cherise Fanno Burdeen talks about the U.S. justice system, she’s speaking from more than 20 years of experience. After getting her Master’s degree in Criminal Justice at Indiana University, she worked with the Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice, did post-9/11 work with the Department of Homeland Security and field work with the Safer Foundation in Chicago.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Experts: We already know how to reform the state’s flawed cash bail system

In a 2016 report, the North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice called for pretrial justice reform – reform that would move the state away from a de facto system of requiring all criminal defendants to post a cash bail in order be released from jail prior to their day in court.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Veteran NC judges: State’s bail system is a “scam,” “immoral,” and in need of “massive change”

Gregory Weeks had a distinguished career as as judge for Fourth Division of the Superior Court of North Carolina and Senior Resident Superior Court Judge for the 12th Judicial District.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Is NC’s cash bail system just? Advocates, reforms in other states raise serious doubts

David Clark works in the Guilford County Public Defender’s Office, representing clients charged with high level felonies. All of them are presumed innocent until proven guilty, but that doesn’t mean they receive equal treatment.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Arrests, convictions, predatory behavior plague North Carolina’s bail bond industry

By the time Phillip Armachain was arrested last year, the 50-year old man from Cherokee had for years built a reputation for being “creepy” and “a pervert” who made women in the town uncomfortable and afraid.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Legislature takes first step to combat sexual harassment; advocates say it’s far from sufficient

When the N.C. General Assembly’s top staffer announced plans last week to roll out sexual harassment training for state lawmakers and legislative employees, some state lawmakers hailed the move as a good first step.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Removal of state monuments back in the spotlight

Public hearing scheduled for next week This week the North Carolina Historical Commission’s Confederate Monuments Study Committee scheduled a forum to hear public comments on moving three monuments from the State Capitol grounds.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Owners of bail bond outfits admit industry abuses and shortcomings, call for reforms

Jimmy Roberson has read a lot about the bail bond industry in North Carolina lately - from violence and fraud to wide-ranging criminal investigations and million dollar lawsuits.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

NC Policy Watch stands by its reporting about Rep. Duane Hall

As most of our readers are aware by now, NC Policy Watch reported last week on the allegations made by several witnesses that State Rep. Duane Hall of Wake County had committed a series of inappropriate sexual advances toward women while serving in the General Assembly. All told, seven separate sources told reporter Billy Ball stories of persistent sexual innuendo and, in some instances, unwanted sexual overtures.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

New witnesses elaborate on alleged sexual misconduct by Rep. Duane Hall

North Carolina Rep. Duane Hall forcibly pulled a woman into his lap and kissed her against her will at Equality N.C.’s 2016 gala, according to two people, including the alleged victim, who spoke to Policy Watch Thursday.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

North Carolina’s bail industry draws severe criticism from criminal justice experts

Brennan Aberle sees a lot of tough stuff over the course of his workday. Working on behalf of indigent clients for the Guilford County Public Defender’s office, the 31-year old attorney averages around 200 clients at any given time, most facing mid-level felonies. Working with people facing jail time and too poor to pay for their own defense, there are a lot of casual tragedies to be observed.

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