Law

White polie officer Chris Hickman sits during his trial.
Angela Wilhelm/Asheville Citizen Times

Earlier this month former Asheville police officer Christopher Hickman pled guilty to felony assault in the 2017 case involving black pedestrian Johnny Rush. Hickman was charged in March 2018 after footage of him choking and violently beating Rush was leaked to the media. Now, Hickman could see his charges dismissed after one year if he follows through on a first-of-its-kind restorative justice program.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE
Immigration and Customs Enforcement

North Carolina Republicans have given final legislative approval to a bill requiring all sheriffs to comply with requests by federal immigration agents to jail inmates they believe are in the country unlawfully.

LaMonte Armstrong
@DukeInnocence

A North Carolina man who was released from prison after serving 17 years for a murder he didn't commit has died.

Richard Myers
law.unc.edu

President Donald Trump has nominated a black law professor who previously worked as a prosecutor, defense attorney and journalist to fill the nation's longest federal judiciary vacancy.

Richard Shotwell/Invision / AP

The trial is getting underway in a lawsuit that accuses novelist Nicholas Sparks of defaming the former headmaster of a private Christian school he founded in North Carolina.

www.ncleg.net / NC General Assembly

More than 40 days have gone by since the North Carolina budget was supposed to be enacted. Since the start of the new fiscal year on July 1, negotiations between Republican legislative leaders and Gov. Roy Cooper have barely budged. Cooper vetoed the latest Republican House budget citing low pay increases for teachers and the absence of Medicaid expansion.

Asheville Police Department
Asheville Police Department / Twitter

A white former North Carolina police officer pleaded guilty Friday to beating a black pedestrian in a case that sparked outrage after graphic video of the violent 2017 encounter surfaced.

A three-judge panel of the Wake County Superior Court presides over the trial of Common Cause, et al v. Lewis, et al at the Campbell University School of Law in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, July 15, 2019.
Gerry Broome / AP

Updated at 2:45 p.m. | July 26, 2019

A three-judge North Carolina panel was considering Friday whether politicians can be too extreme in drawing legislative voting districts to their advantage, a judgment the U.S. Supreme Court refused to make about congressional elections.

Courtesty of Drew Wilson / The Wilson Times

In the winter of 1976, Richard Hollomon was gunned down while closing up his gas station just outside of Wilson, North Carolina. Lester Floyd Jones witnessed as three black men robbed the store and engaged in a shootout with his boss Hollomon. Jones testified that Hollomon was shot from two feet away with a shotgun. Hollomon died from gunshot wounds. The quest for justice lead to another black man, Charles Ray Finch, spending more than four decades in prison for a murder he did not commit.

Large-capacity magazines, containers that hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition, have been illegal in Colorado since 2013. Lawmakers passed the ban following the 2012 mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora.

Taxes
www.irs.com

The North Carolina Department of Revenue says it's arrested two businessmen on felony embezzlement charges.

A news release from the department says 47-year-old Charles Burgess and 51-year-old Peter Mark-Anthony Ellison are each charged with embezzlement of state property and embezzlement of Wake County property.

After a tumultuous few months, the National Rifle Association suffered another in a series of blows Friday, when a second Attorney General opened an investigation into its nonprofit status.

The Attorney General for the District of Columbia is looking for “financial records, payments to vendors, and payments to officers and directors,” for the NRA and the NRA Foundation, Inc., the group’s charitable foundation, according to a press release issued Friday.

Nationwide, police shoot black people at a rate three times higher than white people. Between 2013 and 2018, 28% of police shooting victims were black, twice their proportion of the overall population, according to the Mapping Police Violence Project.

A study from researchers at Duke University and the University of Chicago found that about 40 percent of the prisoners they surveyed did not own a gun six months before committing the crime that landed them in prison.

“What they told us was that they had a lot of experience in obtaining guns but they didn’t hang onto them,” said the study’s lead author, Philip Cook, a professor at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.

Since 2005, if you purchase a gun in the United States, you’re going to be given a free gun lock. It’s a federal law. But many gun safety experts don’t believe the most popular kind of these locks are effective at keeping people, especially older children, from gaining access.

gavel
wp paarz / Flickr - Creative Commons -https://flic.kr/p/GDRLvC

A lawsuit challenging North Carolina's legislative districts for having excessively political boundaries is going to trial, just days after the U.S. Supreme Court declared it has no authority to rule on partisan gerrymandering claims.

Activists at the Supreme Court opposed to partisan gerrymandering hold up representations of congressional districts from North Carolina, left, and Maryland, right.
Carolyn Kaster / AP

The battle for political advantage in state capitols is poised to become more intense after the U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring that federal judges have no role in settling disputes over partisan gerrymandering.

Updated 7:45 p.m. ET

In a 5-4 decision along traditional conservative-liberal ideological lines, the Supreme Court ruled that partisan redistricting is a political question — not reviewable by federal courts — and that those courts can't judge if extreme gerrymandering violates the Constitution.

The ruling puts the onus on the legislative branch, and on individual states, to police redistricting efforts.

The money bail system disproportionately affects marginalized communities.
Pexabay

Two Western North Carolina counties are hoping to revamp the money bail system in the interest of public safety and making better use of taxpayer resources related to jail costs. 

Alternative fuels include gaseous fuels such as hydrogen, natural gas, and propane; alcohols such as ethanol, methanol, and butanol; vegetable and waste-derived oils; and electricity. These fuels may be used in a dedicated system that burns a single fuel.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Federal agents say they've mopped up a theft ring involving 21 co-conspirators, responsible for stealing a precious commodity: $3.9 million worth of used cooking oil known as "yellow grease."

photo of an electric chair
pixabay

There are 142 inmates on North Carolina’s death row, but the last time the state executed someone was 2006. North Carolina’s history with the death penalty is complicated.

Rihanna fled the threat of violence in El Salvador in 2014.
Michal Huniewicz / Creative Commons

President Donald Trump’s administration has made several significant shifts in the country’s immigration policies, including a travel ban on those from several Muslim-majority countries; reducing the number of refugees admitted to the country; and enforcing policies that make it harder for individuals to seek asylum in the United States. A case in western North Carolina highlights the impact of the changes for asylum-seekers.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE
Immigration and Customs Enforcement

North Carolina Republicans have retooled legislation intended to counter decisions by some new sheriffs who refuse to comply with written requests by federal immigration agents to hold criminal defendants.

Craig Hicks when he was first brought into Durham County courtroom 7D.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Craig Stephen Hicks pled guilty to murdering three Muslim students at a Chapel Hill apartment complex in 2015. The death penalty was taken off the table and both sides agreed to three life terms in the shooting deaths of Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, and her younger sister Razan Abu-Salha who lived in the same apartment complex as Hicks.

NAACP William Barber
Leoneda Inge

The civil rights leader who started the 'Moral Monday' protest movement in North Carolina has been found guilty of trespassing during a 2017 protest at the General Assembly.

In 1984 when Clarence F. Birkhead became a deputy sheriff in Randolph County, he had no idea he would eventually take the helm as Durham’s first African American sheriff. Birkhead finds it counter-intuitive that a town with such rich black history and culture had not elected a black sheriff prior to 2018, but he says he is humbled to be the first.

North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley.
nccourts.gov

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley would lose half of her staff under a proposed budget cut by the North Carolina Senate. The Republican budget seeks to eliminate three of the six staff positions for Beasley, a Democrat, who was elevated to chief justice in March.

The U.S. Department of Justice building in Washington D.C.
Liam James Doyle / NPR

Special counsel Robert Mueller is making a statement about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Watch his remarks at the Justice Department live starting around 11 a.m.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

New abortion legislation is sweeping the country, with states introducing ever-more polarizing bills to constrict and expand access. With Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the bench, legislatures in states like Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi are pushing the envelope as they presume the Supreme Court may be receptive to rolling back or overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized the procedure. North Carolina has been issuing legislation aimed at restricting abortion providers, patients and employers since 2011.

A woman in a prison cell
Officer Bimblebury / Creative Commons http://bit.ly/2JTob1G

The number of incarcerated women in North Carolina is growing faster than the number of incarcerated men. According to statistics from Prison Policy Initiative, the number of women in the state prison population increased 19% from 2009 to 2015. In that same time period the number of men in the state prison population increased only one percent.

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