Law

Specialty license plates are becoming more common in North Carolina.
N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles / N.C. Department of Transportation

Be prepared to pay more in North Carolina for your driver’s license, your vehicle registration or copy of your driving record.

Pixabay

Are protesters surveilling the police or vice versa? Law enforcement agencies use cell phone location-based data to identify and incriminate demonstrators. Yet handheld videosof police violence, shared online, prompted and sustained the ongoing wave of demonstrations.

NC Legislative Building
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

While North Carolinians were sleeping early Friday morning, the General Assembly swiftly passed a bill that would shield death-investigation records from the public.

This article is part of the Guns & America explainer series. You can read other entries here.

Updated at 5:35 p.m.

A sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court stood by its most recent abortion-rights precedent Monday, delivering a major defeat to abortion opponents who had hoped for a reversal of fortunes at the court with the addition of two new Trump-appointed justices.

By a 5-4 vote, the court struck down a Louisiana law that was virtually identical to a Texas law it invalidated just four years ago. Chief Justice John Roberts cast the fifth and decisive vote.

Fayetteville City Council
City of Fayetteville, North Carolina

Who polices the police? Protesters rising up against George Floyd’s death and police violence have raised this question, including in Fayetteville. The Fayetteville City Council voted in support of establishing a citizens advisory board for issues of police misconduct at a special meeting Monday night. 

Police in riot gear stand in the street.
Jason deBruyn/WUNC

Where is the data on police violence? Every time a law enforcement officer uses a weapon, they submit a report justifying use of force. Police department procedures make those reports inaccessible to the public.

A person waves a rainbow flag in front of the Supreme Court building.
Ted Eytan

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gay, lesbian and transgender employees are protected from discrimination on the basis of sex on Monday. The 6-3 decision extended the definition of “discrimination on the basis of sex” in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sexual orientation and gender discrimination. 

Updated at 6:35 p.m. ET

In a major rebuke to President Trump, the U.S. Supreme Court has blocked the administration's plan to dismantle an Obama-era program that has protected 700,000 so-called DREAMers from deportation. The vote was 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing the opinion.

furniture on the street
70023venus2009 via Flickr

Updated June 19, 3:30 p.m.

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley’s moratorium against evictions ends on June 21. Those living in federally-subsidized housing — also called Section 8 — have until July 25.

The North Carolina House of Representatives' meeting room
North Carolina General Assembly

Cities around the country are facing pressure to reform their policing and take a hard look at systemic racism. Minneapolis announced the intent to defund portions of their police department. Other cities have ended relationships between school systems and the police. 

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

The family of a man who was killed by a Raleigh police officer last year has filed a lawsuit against the officer and Raleigh's city manager and police chief. 

Liam James Doyle / NPR

The House Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on racial profiling and policing following the killing of George Floyd. The hearings follow congressional Democrats unveiling legislation that would amount to major reforms for the nation’s police departments.

Barbed wire perimeter fence.
Colby Rabon / Carolina Public Press

North Carolina has failed to protect inmates from COVID-19, according to a ruling from a Wake County Superior Court judge. The litigation against Gov. Roy Cooper and members of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety highlights evidence and affidavits that contradict DPS’ claimed safety measures. 

Charlotte 2020 Host Committee
Charlotte Regional Vistors Authority

As President Donald Trump plans to move his presidential nomination acceptance speech to a different venue, the city of Charlotte continues its plan to host the Republican National Convention this August. 
 

 

An image of a jail cell
AlexVan / pixabay Creative Commons

At least two death row inmates in North Carolina can use a law addressing racial discrimination to seek life sentences instead, even though the law has since been amended and repealed, the state Supreme Court ruled on Friday.

Image of Asheville police car
Osajus / Flickr Creative Commons

The police chief in Asheville has apologized for the destruction of a medic station that was set up for people protesting police brutality and the death of George Floyd.

(AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)

Do looting and property damage subvert the movement against police violence? Or do rubber bullets in response to material destruction expose law enforcement’s prioritization of private property over human life? 

People gathered outside CMPD headquarters in uptown Charlotte on May 30 to protest. (WFAE)
Nick de la Canal / WFAE

The police department in North Carolina's largest city is coming under criticism after a video posted to social media appeared to show officers using chemical agents on demonstrators who were boxed in while protesting the death of George Floyd.

Media Coalition Sues Cooper, Cabinet Agencies For COVID-19 Records

May 29, 2020
N.C. Governor Roy Cooper and N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen.
N.C. Department of Public Safety

A coalition of more than two dozen media outlets – including North Carolina Public Radio – filed a lawsuit on Thursday seeking the release of a list of records related to COVID-19 that the state had, so far, refused to provide.

The lawsuit names as defendants Gov. Roy Cooper and two of his Cabinet secretaries, Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and Erik Hooks, secretary of the Department of Public Safety.

Frank Taylor/Carolina Public Press

In North Carolina it is unlawful to separate a child from a biological parent without the oversight of a judge. But in Cherokee County, a grand jury has indicted at least three current and former Department of Social Services officials for allegedly doing just that. 

Andrea Circle Bear was eight months pregnant and serving a two-year sentence for a drug charge when she became the first female federal prisoner to die from the coronavirus. Her death sparked questions and conversation about what placed her in prison and why she was held there under the circumstances. 

Protestors march for MMIW.
Courtesy of Crystal "Red Bear" Cavalier Keck

Gov. Roy Cooper declared Tuesday, May 5 a “Day of Awareness for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women.” The advocacy group Shatter the Silence reports that 31 native women have gone missing or been murdered in eastern North Carolina since 1998. The state tracked at least 90 cases of murdered or missing indigenous women in North Carolina since 1994. But advocates say the real numbers are likely much higher. 

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Stimulus checks are rolling into bank accounts across the country, but many have experienced confusion about when, and if, their portion of the $2 trillion economic relief package is coming. 

Lawyers representing residents of a nursing home in Rowan County have filed suit against the facility, which has the largest documented outbreak of COVID-19 of any nursing home in the state.

Senior Airman Mariah Haddenham

The weeks of stay-at-home orders have created space for some families to spend more time together than ever before. This could mean more bonding, family meals and joyful activities. But for others it makes for a dangerous situation.

A rendering of the ExpressVote machine manufactured by Election Systems and Software.
Election Systems and Software

The threat of hand-to-hand contamination from the new coronavirus while voting entered arguments in a lawsuit seeking to stop the use of touch-screen ballot-marking machines in North Carolina.

Donn Young

Seventy-two of the 33,863 people currently detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Monday, April 13. That is a higher infection rate than the general U.S. population, and immigrant rights groups dispute those official numbers, saying new detainees are not tested upon arrival. 

N.C. Prisons began staff medical screenings to reduce chances of COVID-19 getting into facilities. Efforts began March 20 and were implemented system-wide after no-touch thermometers arrived.
N.C. Department of Public Safety

In an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, North Carolina prisons will release some non-violent offenders early, officials with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety announced Monday.

In Charlotte federal court, Washington-based Judicial Watch filed  a lawsuit against the state, state election administrators and those in Guilford and Mecklenburg counties
Judicial Watch

A conservative-leaning group sued North Carolina election officials on Thursday, accusing them of not doing enough to thin out voter registration rolls as federal law directs.

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