criminal justice

criminal justice

Law and the Courts Must Reads News Top Story

‘Must read’ report: The deep racial and ethnic disparities in state prisons

When former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd by kneeling on his neck in 2020, the world witnessed the most racist elements of the U.S. criminal legal system on broad display. The uprisings that followed Floyd’s death articulated a vision for transforming public safety practices and investments.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Ambitious criminal justice reform agenda spurred by George Floyd murder makes little headway in NC

The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May of 2020 and the demonstrations that ensued in scores of communities helped spur efforts across the nation during the months that followed to reassess systems of policing and criminal justice. North Carolina State Sen. Mujtaba Mohammed, D-Mecklenburg, says the Floyd murder illustrated an injustice in policing that is both “frightening” to a lot of people in the country and badly in need of attention...

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Law and the Courts Top Story

NC just enacted ambitious criminal justice reform legislation. Here’s what it does.

Gov. Roy Cooper signed a comprehensive criminal justice reform package (Senate Bill 300) into law last Thursday. The law became effective immediately. The bill, originally sponsored by Republicans with input from Democrats, gained bipartisan support – though not universal acclaim.

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Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

The NC Drug Tax is designed to ensnare and penalize people, especially those of color

Damned if you do, damned if you don't: The tax is required, but nearly impossible to pay Last week, I tried and failed to pay the North Carolina Drug Tax. Turns out, failure was inevitable: It’s virtually impossible to pay this tax. So why is it still law?

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Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

I represented an innocent man on death row: Here’s why NC must end the death penalty

In September 2014, I was sitting with Henry McCollum at the moment a judge ordered his release from death row for a crime he did not commit. Many folks in the courtroom clapped in celebration. Others embraced out of relief. It had been 30 years since Henry and his brother Leon Brown--two innocent and intellectually disabled children--had been convicted and sentenced to death in Robeson County, North Carolina.

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Must Reads News Top Story

‘Must read’ report: The price of poverty in North Carolina’s juvenile justice system

A new 'must read' report from authors Gene Nichol and Heather Hunt of the North Carolina Poverty Research Fund at the UNC School of Law provides a powerful and damning examination of the ways in which poverty has become, in the words of one knowledgeable attorney, "the foundational principle of what's going on" in North Carolina's juvenile justice system.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Steps we must take to begin to stop the killing

There’s no doubt that serving as a law enforcement officer in most parts of modern America is an extremely difficult and often thankless job, or that most of those who serve are good people doing fine work. Unfortunately, this doesn’t change the fact that our nation is mired in a terrible vicious cycle right now in which people of color – usually, but not always, young men – are being repeatedly and wrongfully killed or terrorized by white cops.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Chauvin trial shows that justice requires diverse, inclusive juries

No one should have been on the edge of their seat about the verdict in Derek Chauvin’s trial. He was caught on video kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as Floyd begged for his life. But this is America, where police are almost never held accountable, so we held our breath and prepared for Chauvin to be acquitted. 

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Events

March 10 Crucial Conversation: Race, mass incarceration and criminal justice reform in NC

Join us Wednesday, March 10 at 3:30 p.m. for a very special (and virtual) Crucial Conversation: Satana Deberry and Dawn Blagrove: A conversation about race, mass incarceration and criminal justice reform in North Carolina

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Even on Death Row, there’s no escape from racism and discrimination for Black women

When the State places its noose around a white woman’s neck, the world cries foul. On January 13, Lisa Montgomery, a white woman, was led to the death chamber. The federal government used its weapon of choice, lethal injection, to kill her. She was the first woman executed by the federal government in 68 years. Widely condemned, her execution was seen as a tragic killing of a victim of horrific sexual and physical abuse.

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Radio Interviews

Duke University Law Professor Brandon Garrett discusses a new study that shows racial bias in sentences of life without parole in NC


What explains the puzzle of life without parole (LWOP) sentencing in the United States? In the past two decades, LWOP sentences have reached record highs, with over 50,000 prisoners serving LWOP. Yet during this same period, homicide rates have steadily declined. To shed light on what might explain the sudden rise of LWOP, this report examines characteristics of the more than 1,627 cases in which LWOP was imposed from 1995 to 2017, in North Carolina, one of the states that imposes the largest numbers of these sentences.Read: Life Without Parole Sentencing in North Carolina

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