Law and the Courts

Law and the Courts

Law and the Courts News Top Story

Company for the governor: Criminal justice reform advocates launch vigil to urge use of clemency powers

For the third year in a row, Decarcerate Now NC will host a vigil outside the governor's mansion urging Gov. Roy Cooper to use his clemency power to reduce the number of people in North Carolina prisons and pardon people who have since gone home so they have a chance to move on with their lives after serving their time behind bars. Organizers will maintain a constant presence outside the mansion for the next month, calling for justice, fairness and second chances for those locked in prisons across the state, especially those who are Black and other people of color.

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Health Law and the Courts News Top Story

Supreme Court case could curtail rights of Medicaid patients

Gorgi Talevski did not live long enough to see his case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court this month. A Macedonian-born resident of Indiana, Talevski operated a crane for three decades, raised a family and loved to dance before his dementia deepened, and he died last year. But the court’s decision, expected in spring, could have profound effects for tens of millions of beneficiaries of federal safety net programs, including those that provide health care, housing, education services and heating aid.

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at how Buncombe County women are criminalized for poverty and substance use

A new study finds authorities rely on police and jails to address low-level charges that don’t threaten public safety. Drug abuse and violence are experiences commonly shared among the women detained at the Buncombe County Jail, according to a study released last week by the Vera Institute of Justice.  Of the 40 women surveyed in the Buncombe County Detention Center in September 2021, all but one said they struggled with drugs or alcohol use.

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

Worries abound for criminal justice under a Republican state Supreme Court

Many advocates for reform are concerned about the high court’s rightward shift. Republicans took control of the North Carolina Supreme Court last week, winning two seats and flipping the court from a 4-3 Democratic majority to a 5-2 Republican one. The Republican majority is guaranteed through at least 2028. That could mean more gerrymandered maps that favor the GOP, a reversal of the landmark Leandro ruling that would lead to a massive increase in education funding across North Carolina, and further restricted access to abortion.

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Elections
Congress Law and the Courts News Top Story

Budd defeats Beasley, but expected GOP ‘red wave’ is more of an uneven ripple

Repubs sweeps state appellate courts, but fall just short of veto-proof General Assembly; Dems gain in state US House delegation, while national picture remains undecided -- Full team coverage At the top of the ticket this year, three-term congressman Ted Budd defeated former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley in a close race to determine who replaces retiring Sen. Richard Burr.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

PW special report: Restoring hope in the vote among those with felony convictions in North Carolina

More than 50,000 North Carolinians can vote this fall thanks to a court ruling that restored the rights of people on probation and parole. But their gains are precarious. One hot afternoon in early October, Corey Purdie helped put the finishing touches on the exterior of the 300-square-foot house at Broad and Queen streets in New Bern, North Carolina.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Court of Appeals backs suspension for lawyer who swindled wrongfully convicted Black men

A three-judge North Carolina Court of Appeals panel on Tuesday upheld the State Bar’s decision to suspend the license of an attorney who took hundreds of thousands of dollars from two Black men with intellectual disabilities who served more than 30 years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit. The unanimous ruling was authored by Judge Allegra Collins and joined by Judges Richard Dietz and Jeffery Carpenter.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Supreme Court candidates tout nonpartisanship as deeply partisan election looms

The four candidates running for two open seats on the North Carolina Supreme Court all gave different versions of the same message at ...
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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

National government associations and legal scholars want U.S. Supreme Court to reject NC Republicans’ theory on elections   

If NC lawmakers prevail, states face the prospect of being forced to run different elections under different voting rules National associations representing cities, counties and mayors are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reject North Carolina Republicans’ claim that legislatures should be the sole state authority setting rules for federal elections.

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

U.S. Supreme Court case from North Carolina could unleash profound changes to elections nationwide

High court will hear oral arguments in Moore v. Harper on Dec. 7 A U.S. Supreme Court case originating in North Carolina could ...
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Law and the Courts Top Story

Policy Watch interviews NC Supreme Court candidates: Part Two

Two Supreme Court seats are on the ballot this Election Day, offering Republicans the opportunity to flip the state’s highest court. Policy Watch has reached out to each of the four candidates and is publishing their responses from interviews conducted in October. Democrat Lucy Inman and Republican Richard Dietz are squaring off in a race to replace Supreme Court Justice Robin Hudson, who is retiring. Both Inman and Dietz are judges on the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Policy Watch interviews NC Supreme Court candidates: Part One

Two North Carolina Supreme Court seats are on the ballot this Election Day, offering Republicans the opportunity to flip the state’s highest court, which currently includes four Democrats and three members of the GOP. Policy Watch has contacted each of the four candidates and is publishing their responses. Sam J. Ervin, IV is the incumbent associate justice running for reelection as a Democrat. He has been a member of the Supreme Court since 2015. He served on the North Carolina Court of Appeals before that, from 2009 to 2015. He was also a member of the North Carolina Utilities Commission from 1999 to 2009.

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

Costs of incarceration rise as inflation squeezes inmates, families

Across the nation, prison commissaries are raising prices on items that many consider basic necessities — from deodorant to fresh fruit — not provided by the state department of corrections. The markups come as decades-high inflation is also squeezing inmates’ families, making it harder for them to help.  It’s a burden that families shouldn’t have to shoulder, advocates say, and a situation that some worry will lead to unrest or violence.

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

Dispatches from the North Carolina court system: The cash bail-jail paradox

Jordan needed an unsecured bond, or he wasn’t getting out of jail. The 24-year-old Black man had been arrested on Oct. 8, charged with possessing drug paraphernalia, trespassing, resisting a public officer, and failing to show up for a court hearing, allegations that kept him in jail on a bond he couldn’t afford. The couple thousand dollars it would cost to get that bond threatened his livelihood, a job at a pizza shop. Jordan was caught in a paradox familiar to people locked up pretrial in a money bail system: unable to work because he was in jail, but unable to get out of jail because he can’t work.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

Gerrymandering debate returns once more to the NC Supreme Court

Elections week continues at the state’s high court as justices weigh another appeal involving redistricting. The North Carolina Supreme Court wrestled once again with the issues of redistricting and gerrymandering on Tuesday in a case in which Republican lawmakers contend they should be allowed to draw maps however they choose, regardless of whether they dilute the voting power of people casting a ballot in favor of Democrats.

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

Monday numbers: New report details how much more likely Black people are to be wrongly convicted than whites

More than 3,200 people have been exonerated since 1989. Over half of them are Black. Henry McCollum and Leon Brown were sentenced to death in 1984 for the rape and murder of 11-year-old Sabrina Buie in Robeson County. The teenagers — half-brothers who were 19 and 15 years old, both Black and with cognitive disabilities — confessed under pressure from police, but there wasn’t physical evidence connecting them to the crime.

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