Law

The old Orange County courthouse in Hillsborough.
Joseph A. / Flickr

Updated: Jan. 14, 2021. 12:10 p.m.

Hillsborough is the first North Carolina municipality to pass an ordinance to protect its LGBTQ residents from discrimination since a three-and-a-half-year statewide pause on enacting such rules expired in December.

North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley.
nccourts.gov

The first Black woman to serve as chief justice of North Carolina's Supreme Court has become a partner in the law firm McGuireWoods.

An image of a gavel
creative commons

The North Carolina Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it will remove a portrait of a former chief justice from its courtroom who staunchly defended slavery and owned slaves himself.

Prison cells
sean hobson / Flickr Creative Commons

The North Carolina Supreme Court decided Friday to allow a new trial for a death row inmate convicted of robbing and murdering an elderly couple in their Whiteville, North Carolina, home in 1991.

screenshot WRAL

Five wrongfully convicted Black men pardoned by Governor Roy Cooper on Thursday are now eligible for up to $750,000 each for compensation for their years behind bars.

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley and Senior Associate Justice Paul Martin Newby
Courtesy North Carolina Judicial Branch

North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley conceded on Saturday to Republican Paul Newby in their extremely close election after two rounds of recounts saw little change in the vote margin between them.

A correctional institution facility that has two floors, there are 10 brown square tables and blue chairs.
NC Department of Public Safety

Increased coronavirus case numbers and deaths in North Carolina have taken a lethal toll on people inside state prisons. The number of coronavirus-related deaths has doubled since the end of September, and more than one of every six prisoners has tested positive, according to reporting by Charlotte Observer investigative reporter Ames Alexander. In December, four prisoners at four different facilities died in the span of five days. Outbreaks have continued across the system.

A bespectacled middle-aged Black man with an ear-ring speaks and looks off camera
National Registry of Exonerations


Darryl Hunt served 19 years in prison for a rape and murder he did not commit. The crime committed against him by the state — his wrongful conviction and wrongful imprisonment — stands as one of the most egregious examples of the injustice built into our penal system.

gavel at courtroom
William Johnson / US Airforce Photo

After more than eight months without jury trials, Union County is holding its first Superior Court trial this week.

Scheduling that trial — or any trial — hasn't been easy. District Attorney Trey Robison said one felony case his office tried to schedule had to be delayed because the defense attorney was quarantined. Another — a breaking-and-entering case — couldn't be tried because someone in the defendant's household contracted COVID-19.

Photo: 'Vote Here' sign in English and Spanish
Erik Hersman / Flickr

A federal judge wrongly blocked North Carolina's latest photo voter identification law, an appeals court ruled Wednesday, deciding she erred when declaring the requirement was tainted by racial bias because a previous voter ID law had been struck down on similar grounds.

man in handcuffs
houstondwiphotos / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/nQGa3o

New laws began Tuesday in North Carolina that are designed to help more people convicted of lower-level crimes and nonviolent drug trafficking get records cleared or punishments eased.

Attendees stand during the Oct. 22 silent vigil, for mothers of people who've been killed by police, at the Dallas Police Department.
Keren Carrion / KERA

According to the national database Fatal Encounters, an average of 1,500 people have been killed annual during interactions with police since 2000. And about 70% of those killings happen with guns.

Protestors at the March For Our Lives on March 24, 2018. Gun violence researchers say the lack of data makes it hard to understand the impact gun violence has on local economies, and how to go about the best solutions.
Victoria Chamberlin / WAMU

On Oct. 21, the District of Columbia hit a grim milestone for the year — 10 assaults with a firearm in one day. Data from the Metropolitan Police Department also showed 140 gun deaths since January, outpacing last year’s numbers with two more months to go on the calendar.

Adams Wood

What’s the difference between committing the same non-violent crime in one North Carolina county and another? For Daniel Noell, a homeless man convicted of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and drug trafficking in Buncombe and Yancey counties, the difference was vast: he was sentenced to 30 months of probation in Buncombe County and nearly six years in prison in Yancey County. 

A photo of the Durham County Jail: a large silver building.
Laura Candler/WUNC

COVID-19 is spreading more quickly throughout North Carolina's population: public health metrics in the last week have some experts worried the state is heading in the wrong direction. Research shows the virus spreads more quickly indoors and when people have prolonged close contact with one another — something that's almost unavoidable in places like jails and prisons. 

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has set the stage for a historic shift in the court’s makeup and could significantly change how the court views any given gun law in relation to the Second Amendment.

Portrait of Amy Coney Barrett in 2018.
commons.wikimedia.org

President Donald Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Saturday, capping a dramatic reshaping of the federal judiciary that will resonate for a generation and that he hopes will provide a needed boost to his reelection effort.

Updated at 11:01 a.m. ET

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is lying in repose at the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday and Thursday, a two-day event honoring a justice who was both a cultural and legal icon.

As Ginsburg's casket arrived at the high court, former law clerks lined the Supreme Court steps. Supreme Court police officers served as pallbearers. Then the justice's family, close friends and members of the court held a brief ceremony in the court's Great Hall.

In this image provided by C-SPAN, Allison Jones Rushing speaks during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee to be a judge on the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Capitol Hill in Washington, on March 21, 2019.
C-SPAN via AP

Called both a legal "rock star" by Republican senators and an "ideological extremist" by critics, Allison Jones Rushing had already landed what most lawyers would consider a career-defining position before turning 40. But the Trump administration may have even bigger plans.

Headshots of Tessie Castillo, Lyle May and three other co-authors of "Crimson Letters"
Tessie Castillo

The criminal justice system puts prisoners out of sight and out of mind for the public. But the recently published book “Crimson Letters: Voices from Death Row” (Black Rose Writing/2020) aims to draw back the veil on the people and realities that make up North Carolina’s death row. 

Image of Asheville police car
Osajus / Flickr Creative Commons

Thirty-one police officers in the western North Carolina city of Asheville have resigned from the force since June.

McKenzie County Sheriff's Office

Hundreds of inmates have been released from state prisons during the COVID-19 pandemic to help curb the spread of the virus. But the same is not true in the state’s jails, which housed just under 16,000 people statewide in the first five months of 2020, according to data from the University of North Carolina School of Government. The North Carolina Department of Public Safety oversees the response to the coronavirus in the state’s prisons, but jails around the state do not have the same accountability or oversight. 

This article is an installment of the Three Types of Loss series. It examines the different types of loss three families experienced following the death of Karlonzo Taylor and wounding of James Harris in a December 2018 shooting in Hartford, Connecticut. The alleged shooter, Bill Moore, is incarcerated. You can read other stories in this series here and here.

When someone fires a gun in Youngstown, Victoria Allen usually hears it — at least on her phone. Allen, who runs the ICU Neighborhood Watch group on Youngstown’s south side, has access to the city’s Shot Spotter app, which records the sound, time and location of gunshots.

On a recent August weekday, Allen was driving to a house that was the site of at least two shootings in the last two days.

A picture of lights on a police car.
Alejandro Mejía Greene/JubiloHaku / Flickr Creative Commons

Police officers in a North Carolina city wrongly detained a 15-year-old boy with their guns drawn. Now, the city's police chief is apologizing for the incident.

Gavel, Court
SalFalko via Flickr, Creative Commons

The attorney for a North Carolina man who has spent 44 years in prison for a rape he says he didn't commit will be freed.

The Charlotte Observer reported that Ronnie Long's attorney shared the news via Twitter on Wednesday.

An undated file photo provided by Robert Brown Public Relations of Greg Lindberg.
Robert Brown Public Relations/Greg Lindberg / via AP

An insurance company founder and big political donor heading to prison after being convicted of attempting to bribe North Carolina’s top elected regulator of the industry remains confident he'll get a new trial or overturned conviction.

StarsApart/Flickr/CC

The North Carolina Supreme Court banned the state from reinstating the death sentence on a Black man named Marcus Robinson last Friday. Robinson was removed from death row in 2012  and sentenced to life without parole after a North Carolina judge found that his trial was influenced by racial discrimination in the jury. At Robinson’s original trial, the prosecution removed half of qualified Black jurors from serving — but only 15% of white jurors. 

Latest Shot Fired In Lead Ammo Debate

Aug 20, 2020

The latest round in the fight over lead ammunition is working its way through Congress.

A bill introduced in July by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) would ban lead ammunition on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services land. The agency is responsible for administering national wildlife refuges, which cover 95 million acres across the country — much of that prime hunting ground.

Raleigh Police Cruiser
PDpolicecars, via Flickr / https://bit.ly/2Q7UmMD

Raleigh Police are creating a new unit that would send both officers and social workers to certain calls.

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