Law

A trio of North Carolina judges in Raleigh, N.C., listen Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018, as attorneys argue whether proposed amendments to the North Carolina constitution were worded to be misleading and mask the goal of Republican legislators to reduce Democra
Emery P. Dalesio / AP

A panel of judges was asked Wednesday to decide whether North Carolina's Republican-dominated legislature is trying to fool voters by calling for constitutional changes without explaining the effect would be to strip more power from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

A screengrab of a video showing the Wrightsville Beach Fire Department use a drone for a simulated beach rescue.
Courtesy of Wrightsville Beach Fire Department

The Wrightsville Beach Fire Department is experimenting with drones to help lifeguards with water rescues.

The department is testing equipment that allows drones to carry a lightweight inflatable buoy to swimmers who might be in distress, according to Wrightsville Beach firefighter Sam Proffitt. He said the drone can quickly fly a few hundred yards and drop the device.

A woman's hands on a tablet in front of a computer.
Pexels / Pixabay

A North Carolina woman was stalked and harassed on social media for months, and police said they could not do anything to help her. 

HSUS
HSUS

Last week a federal jury awarded more than $470 million to six neighbors of a hog farm operation in Pender County, North Carolina following a nuisance lawsuit. The neighbors said the farm produced smells, noise, flies and pests. 

Ballot Box
Wikipedia

Updated 9:15 a.m. | Aug. 8, 2018

A state judge declined Tuesday to give immediate relief to Gov. Roy Cooper and interest groups who want proposed constitutional amendments off fall ballots because they argue referendum language written by Republican lawmakers is false and misleading.

Courtesy Jesse Hamilton McCoy II

Jesse Hamilton McCoy II was raised by a single mother in low-income neighborhoods in Vance and Durham Counties. Growing up in the late 1980s and 1990s, he witnessed the drug epidemic firsthand and remembers not being able to trust some adults in the community because of their addiction. 

A hog farm in Lyons, Georgia.
Jeff Vanuga, USDA NRCS

A federal jury decided Friday that the world's largest pork producer should pay $473.5 million to neighbors of three North Carolina industrial-scale hog farms for unreasonable nuisances they suffered from odors, flies and rumbling trucks.

Anton Moussaev, center, stands with family and friends after his naturalization ceremony in 2017.
Courtey of Anton Moussaev

It's Anton Moussaev's birthday. Well, he was born in the Soviet Union in March 37 years ago, but he officially became an American on July 4, 2017 at a naturalization ceremony at Old Salem. So, he said that's his "second birthday."

Picture of gavel
Flickr.com

Voters will see yet another proposed amendment to the North Carolina Constitution on their November ballots.

A mother migrating from Honduras holds her 1-year-old child as surrendering to U.S. Border Patrol agents after illegally crossing the border Monday, June 25, 2018, near McAllen, Texas.
David J. Phillip / AP

Seventeen states, including North Carolina, New York and California, sued President Donald Trump's administration Tuesday in an effort to force officials to reunite migrant families who have been separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Photo: The U.S. Supreme Court building
Sno Shuu / Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court announced yesterday that it refuses to hear a political gerrymandering case that would have decided whether Republican legislators in North Carolina violated the Constitution when they redrew voting maps.

Plaintiff Joaquin Carcano, center, addresses reporters after a hearing Monday, June 25, 2018, in Winston-Salem, N.C., on their lawsuit challenging the law that replaced North Carolina’s “bathroom bill.” Carcano and other transgender plaintiffs argue the n
Jonathan Drew / AP

Updated 4:20 p.m.

A federal judge said Monday he was "at a loss" to understand how transgender North Carolinians are being harmed by a compromise law that undid the state's "bathroom bill" but also prevented local governments from enacting new LGBT protections.

Supreme Court building, Washington, DC, USA. Front facade.
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Daderot

The Supreme Court is choosing not to take on a new case on partisan redistricting for now. Instead, the justices are sending a dispute over North Carolina's heavily Republican congressional districting map back to a lower court for more work.

Image of Jay Styron working with oysters
Baxter Miller / Bit & Grain

Some North Carolina lawmakers want to help the state make a name for itself in oyster farming.

Greensboro city skyline
Mark Goebel / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/4UYDyX

A petition is circulating to demand a thorough housing inspection of a low-income housing apartment building in Greensboro. Five children, who were Congolese refugees, died after a fire broke out Saturday.

Beth Benton co-manages Greensboro's Compliance division. She said there had been complaints against that apartment in the past, but it had been fixed and passed its last inspection in 2013.

photo of Hinton. he has a black eye and other abrasions.
City County Bureau of Identification

A Wake County grand jury handed up felony assault indictments this week for Cameron Broadwell, a Wake County sheriff’s deputy and North Carolina State Highway Patrol troopers Michael G. Blake and Tabitha Davis. The three are accused with violently beating and injuring Kyron Dwain Hinton, a Raleigh resident who was homeless at the time of the incident. Hinton was approached by law enforcement on April 3 in East Raleigh, and what happened next landed him in the hospital for three days with injuries that included a fractured eye socket, broken nose and 20 dog bites.

A picture of a gavel on a table.
Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

Durham County Magistrates will no longer offer civil domestic violence restraining orders. Until Tuesday, it had been one of the few counties to offer this option.

A hog waste lagoon in Beaufort County, NC.
DefMo / Flickr Creative Commons

Two weeks ago, 10 Bladen county residents were awarded $5 million each in punitive damages after winning a hog nuisance lawsuit against Murphy-Brown/Smithfield Foods. This week U.S. District Judge Earl Britt severely cut the award. Instead of the millions they were expecting, the plaintiffs will each get only $250,000.

A sample REAL ID, with the identifying gold star.
https://www.ncdot.gov/dmv/driver/realid/ / NCDOT

It's been a year since North Carolina began offering REAL ID cards in compliance with federal law, which requires extra documentation to get the card.

Pigs on a Farm
Eric Mennel / WUNC

A federal judge has slashed $50 million in damages that a jury awarded neighbors of an industrial hog operation in order to punish a pork producer for smells and noise so bad that people couldn't enjoy their rural homes.

photo of a drone against a blue sky
Don McCullough / Flickr Creative Commons

Across North Carolina, police departments in urban and rural areas are getting into the drone game. A statewide de facto moratorium on law enforcement drone use ended in 2015. Since then the technology has become more affordable and police departments are purchasing the aerial tools for a range of reasons – from chasing down suspects to showing off to kids at community events.

Henry McCollum, left, spent 30 years, 11 months and seven days on death row. Leon Brown was imprisoned at the age of 15 and spend the first decade in solitary confinement. In 2014 the men were released after DNA evidence implicated another man.
Courtesy of Patrick Megaro

In 1983, an 11-year-old girl was raped and killed in Red Springs, North Carolina. Half brothers Henry McCollum and Leon Brown, teenagers at the time, initially confessed to the crime, but later recanted saying they were coerced. They spent 31 years in prison until DNA from the crime scene proved them innocent.

photo of a brown lagoon, farm buildings in the background
Bob Nichols / USDA

A federal jury awarded more than $50 million in damages to 10 neighbors of a 15,000-head hog operation in Eastern North Carolina. The residents said the stench and noise from the hog farm made living in their rural homes unenjoyable.

photo of a barbed wire fence
Pxhere / Public Domain

Most state prison employees charged with crimes while on duty get off with little punishment, according to a new review from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. From 2013-2017, 57 employees were charged, and only four got prison time. 60 percent of criminal charges were dismissed.

photo of David Crane speaking at a podium
Ken Harper

In the 1990s, officials founded five criminal tribunals to seek international justice: four temporary bodies in Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Cambodia, and the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands. The first four were put in place to handle specific civil war crimes. Since then, the issue of international criminal justice has faded.

Aug. 25, 2017 image made from video and released by the Asheville, (N.C.) Police Department, Johnnie Jermaine Rush grimaces after officer Christopher Hickman overpowers Rush in a chokehold
Asheville Police Department via AP

Weeks after a North Carolina police beating became public, new footage is revealing what was said in the aftermath of the black pedestrian being punched and choked by the white officer.

A barbed wire fence stock image
Pxhere / Public Domain

Staffing and safety issues inside North Carolina prisons are at a perilous point. In 2017, five corrections officers were killed in violent incidents at Bertie and Pasquotank Correctional Institutions. And according to new reports, the deaths are a symptom of a bigger problem.

photo of Tutu Alicante
Courtesy of Tutu Alicante

Tutu Alicante grew up in Equatorial Guinea, a small nation on the western coast of Central Africa. The country is one of the largest oil producers in sub-Saharan Africa, yet many of its citizens live in extreme poverty. The oil profits stay within the government, and long-serving President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo uses intimidation tactics like imprisonment or even execution to silence his critics.

Annette Elizabeth Allen
For NPR

The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on school safety following the mass shooting at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The committee is hearing from a Stoneman Douglas teacher as well as from the father of one of the shooting victims, Florida lawmakers and Justice Department officials. Watch the hearing live starting at 9:30 a.m.

photo of sunshine week logo - 'your right to  know'
American Society of News Editors / http://sunshineweek.rcfp.org/sw-logos/

North Carolina law gives citizens the right to all sorts of government data, from state employee emails to the minutes of closed meetings. But how reliable are our state institutions when it comes to delivering that data? That is one question that North Carolina reporters hoped to answer this year for Sunshine Week, an annual nationwide event dedicated to holding government agencies accountable and making citizens aware of their rights to open government data.

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