Law and the Courts

Law and the Courts

Law and the Courts News Top Story

NC Court of Appeals issues controversial rulings on involuntary commitment process

Why would public defenders representing patients want a requirement that prosecutors be present? Each year, Bob Ward, an assistant public defender in Mecklenburg County, helps more than 1,000 patients with mental illness navigate a process in which a doctor asks the state for permission to force them to receive treatment.

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Law and the Courts News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Former McCrory aide, Locke Foundation staffer to help lead new, partisan oversight staff at legislature

After top Republican state lawmakers eliminated the legislature’s in-house watchdog agency, the Program Evaluation Division, in February Joe Coletti, then a senior fellow at the John Locke Foundation lauded the decision. In a Feb. 22, 2021, article that appeared on the conservative think tank’s website, he opined that a partisan staff might be more nimble in performing the oversight function and making recommendations to increase government efficiency.

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

Watchdog group asks Wake DA to investigate political contributions by former employees of Louis DeJoy

Large sums went to McCrory, Tillis campaigns There has been renewed scrutiny of U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, as watchdog groups have identified irregularities in political contributions to former Gov. Pat McCrory and Sen. Thom Tillis.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

PW investigates: Lax reporting laws allow campaigns to hide how millions are spent

Election watchdogs call on regulators to better track and police campaign consultant expenditures In the final two months of the 2020 General Election, the campaign of Cal Cunningham, the Democratic candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in North Carolina, shelled out $25 million to the consulting firm Screen Strategies Media, apparently for advertising.

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

DC update: Debates over race, discrimination and history take center stage on Capitol Hill

U.S. House votes to scuttle statues of Confederate leaders and slavery defenders, including NC's Vance WASHINGTON — The U.S. House voted Tuesday to remove from the Capitol a bust of the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney, a Marylander who wrote the despised Dred Scott decision—as well as evict statues and busts of men who fought for the Confederacy or served in its government.

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

Monday numbers: New study on death penalty shows it’s expensive, racially disproportionate and unpopular

The death penalty is more expensive and no more effective at deterring crimes than alternative punishments such as life imprisonment, according to a report by Appalachian State University professor of government and judicial studies Matthew Robinson. In the report published earlier this month, Robinson examined data to answer the question of whether death penalty should still be maintained as a state policy.

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COVID-19 Law and the Courts News Top Story

NC Department of Labor continues to resist workplace safety rules for COVID-19

Department is now required to adopt workplace standards for COVID for healthcare workers – whether others will be covered remains in question The U.S. Department of Labor is adopting new emergency standards to protect healthcare workers from COVID, while its North Carolina counterpart has gone to court to defend its position that the potentially fatal disease is not a workplace hazard.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Are NC district attorneys a roadblock to needed criminal justice reform?

Lawmakers, civil rights groups and researchers say DAs often thwart necessary change Jim Woodall made a promise to the family of Eve Carson, the UNC-Chapel Hill student body president who was murdered in 2008. Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., 17 years old at the time, was convicted of first-degree murder for killing Carson after a robbery attempt.

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

Black people in North Carolina twice as likely to be killed by police as whites

Council for Criminal Justice says police are poorly trained to de-escalate tense situations. Implicit racial bias is widespread. Black people were twice as likely to be killed by the police in North Carolina than whites from 2013 to 2021, according to the Mapping Police Violence Project.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Bill seeks to increase penalties for “rioters,” but advocates worry about threat posed to free speech

Biracial.’ ‘Artist.’ ‘Supporter of social justice.’ Nic Cassette could think of many labels describing his identity. ‘Rioter,’ however, was never one of them. An Alamance County prosecutor, however, saw it differently. Cassette was among a group of demonstrators who were charged under the state's rioting statute after a succession of demonstrations in Graham. 

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Advocates say Senate leader Phil Berger is torpedoing effort to end child marriage 

Under amended legislation, 8th graders will still be able to wed in North Carolina, but not buy a lottery ticket or work with commercial ovens Dr. Judy Wiegand was only 13 years old when her mother accompanied her to get married to the 16-year-old father of her unborn child in Virginia.

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

PW exclusive: NC minister who counseled George Floyd’s family discusses the Chauvin verdict

Rev. Gregory Drumwright, who was in the courtroom Tuesday, has hope and continuing concern about the relationship between law enforcement and Black Americans The minutes leading to Judge Peter Cahill’s reading of the jury verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin were filled with anxiety, angst and uncertainty, says Rev. Gregory Drumwright, a Greensboro minister who has provided pastoral care to George Floyd’s family the past several months.

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COVID-19 Law and the Courts News Top Story

As landlords find loopholes to evict tenants, a concurrent push for gentrification in communities of color

The red Honda parked on Debee Anderson's lawn saved her and her daughter's life when they fled Hurricane Florence in September 2018. Anderson was picking up medication for her daughter and about to return to her Spring Lake home when a state trooper told her she couldn't, because of river flooding.

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

Renters facing eviction must navigate a legal labyrinth that favors lawyers and landlords

A morning in evictions court: 123 cases, residents of 31 households on the verge of homelessness On the brisk Monday morning of March 29, Magistrate William Glascoff in the Forsyth County small claims court handed down one eviction judgment after another. Residents of 31 households lost their homes.

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COVID-19 Law and the Courts News Top Story

House of cards: Despite a federal stay on evictions, landlords are ousting their tenants

Legal loopholes in the moratorium fail to protect some renters Kerston Rankins put all her plans and belongings for a better life in boxes when she moved to Winston-Salem. Five chests of clothes, three cases of DVDs and several other keepsakes, which she and her husband loaded in the car and drove up from Statesville.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

Voting rights advocates air worries about onslaught of new state election laws

NC's G.K. Butterfield and Allison Riggs featured prominently in U.S. House hearing WASHINGTON—A U.S. House elections panel on Thursday heard from witnesses about the need to craft a new formula that identifies which states or jurisdictions have problematic histories of racial discrimination when it comes to access to the ballot box.

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