criminal justice

criminal justice

Law and the Courts Top Story

Dispatches from the North Carolina court system: Guilford County’s ‘jail docket’

Shaletta Ryans went to court Monday afternoon without even having to leave jail. She appeared in a Guilford County courtroom via a live video feed, her image beaming onto five computer screens in front of prosecutors, a public defender and a judge. She didn’t say much, but the courtroom’s speakers rattled with the sound of chains, the cacophonous soundtrack of jail.

...
Read more 0
Law and the Courts News Top Story

Dispatches from the North Carolina court system: A family apart

Cases were moving slowly through Courtroom 2A on Monday morning. Several of those whose names were written on a criminal docket pinned to the wall in the lobby grumbled that they had to get a move on. They didn’t want to spend their whole day at the Chatham County Courthouse. The room got quiet when District Court Judge Samantha Cabe called Garima Sinha’s name. Sinha took her place beside her public defender, Melissa A. French, and stood in front of a microphone, her back to what would soon become a rapt audience. Sinha had been charged with assault and battery and injury to real property, both misdemeanors, and assault by strangulation, a felony.

...
Read more 0
Top Story

Two men serving life sentences lobby lawmakers to expand parole eligibility

"People with no reason to change will not change.” Phillip Vance Smith II first met Craig Wissink in 2004, toward the beginning of the life sentences the men were serving for separate murders. Smith thought Wissink was a friendly guy, the type who was always trying to make those around him laugh. The pair lost touch for about 10 years, a gap in a friendship common among imprisoned men subjected to unanticipated transfers to other correctional facilities.

...
Read more 0
Law and the Courts News Top Story

PW special report: Two recent state Supreme Court decisions could alter NC’s juvenile justice landscape

After growing up behind bars, many who committed serious crimes when they were children now have a chance at parole  James Ryan Kelliher first tried to kill himself when he was 10 years old. A high school dropout who had been abused by his father, Kelliher spent all his time getting or staying high by the time he was 17, robbing people to support his addiction.

...
Read more 0
Law and the Courts News Top Story

Retailers urge NC legislators to crack down on organized retail crime

Pandemic, opioids, rising prices blamed for sharp rise in retail thefts "In retail, we're in business to sell, they are in business to steal." Craig Dowdle, the regional investigation manager for Lowe's Home Improvement, told state legislators Tuesday that Organized Retail Crime has been rising steadily since the pandemic.

...
Read more 0
Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

States weigh how to shield election officials from threats, harassment

Following the turmoil of the 2020 election, a photo of Washington state Election Director Lori Augino marked with crosshairs, her address, and the words "your days are numbered" was posted on a website alongside photos of numerous other state election officials described as “enemies of the people.” Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman said in a press release in December 2020 that she reported the so-called doxxing to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI. But it's unclear...

...
Read more 0
Law and the Courts Top Story

In Georgia, testimony concludes in trial of men accused of killing unarmed Black jogger, Ahmaud Arbery

Black pastors flock to courthouse from across the country as prosecutor pokes at credibility of man who fired fatal shots The lead prosecutor in Travis McMichael’s murder trial hammered him Thursday for contradictions and failing to take steps to avoid the deadly confrontation that ended with him shooting Ahmaud Arbery on a suburban Brunswick street in February 2020.

Read more 0
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.

...
Read more 0
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...

...
Read more 0
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.

...
Read more 0
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?

...
Read more 0
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.

...
Read more 0
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.

...
Read more 0
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.

...
Read more 0
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. 

...
Read more 0
Send this to a friend