Kelan Lyons

Kelan Lyons

Investigative Reporter Kelan Lyons writes about criminal and civil justice, including high-profile litigation, prison and jail conditions, housing, and the challenges people face when they leave prison.

Senate Budget requires new reports from prison system

By: - May 26, 2023

The Senate budget would require the Department of Adult Correction to submit reports to the legislature on nurse staffing levels at state prisons and data on crimes committed by prison employees while they’re on the job. The provisions are located deep in the Senate budget, beginning on page 306. For the next two years the […]

The NC Legislative Building

Legislators advance bills giving more powers to prosecutors

By: - May 25, 2023

Members of the Senate Rules Committee advanced two bills Thursday that would allow district attorneys to file a petition to modify a person’s probation and permit prosecutors to appoint at least one special investigator. House Bill 116 would allow district attorneys to recuse themselves from cases for “good cause” and permit each prosecutorial district across […]

Senate budget would expand medical release for aging, sick prisoners

By: - May 25, 2023

State senators have proposed expanding the eligibility criteria for the medical release of people in North Carolina prisons, potentially giving thousands of sick and aging people in state custody an opportunity to go home before they die. The law change, which can be found on page 310 of the Senate budget, comes after an NC […]

Justice Michael Morgan not running for re-election to NC Supreme Court

By: - May 18, 2023

Associate Justice Michael Morgan announced on Twitter Thursday morning that he will not run for re-election to retain his seat on the state Supreme Court. “With the incredibly good fortune to be the only person ever in NC to serve in 4 different judgeships over my 34 years of judicial service, I shall not seek […]

The House budgeted for Voter ID. The Senate did not.

By: - May 17, 2023

In its budget proposal unveiled last month, North Carolina’s House of Representatives budgeted $3.5 million for the State Board of Elections to implement voter ID requirements — before the state Supreme Court even ruled on whether it was constitutional. The Senate released its budget proposal this week. Unlike their House colleagues, however, it did not […]

images of the police raid on Aston Park

City, prosecutors resist records demand of lawyer for Asheville journalists

By: - May 17, 2023

After two Asheville journalists were convicted of trespassing last month, their lawyer, Ben Scales, said he would get a bevy of documents and records before his clients appealed to Buncombe County Superior Court.  On May 1, Scales attempted to make good on that promise, subpoenaing a long list of items from the Asheville Police Department. […]

Legislators advance foster care assessment bill

By: - May 16, 2023

Members of the House Health committee advanced a bill Tuesday that attempts to help children in North Carolina’s foster care system, and those at risk of entering it. “We have to do better than this,” said Rep. Kristin Baker (R-Cabarrus), one of the primary sponsors of House Bill 860. Baker said her bill is focused […]

New report considers role of probation and parole in mass incarceration

By: - May 12, 2023

A new report from the Prison Policy Initiative looks at the ways the “mass supervision” of people on probation and parole contributes to mass incarceration, giving a more thorough picture of the expansiveness of the U.S. criminal justice system. “Understanding how each state fares in probation and parole in addition to its systems of confinement […]

A sign for Asheville's Aston Park

Asheville prosecutors want journalists’ lawyer to stop talking to the press

By: - May 9, 2023

The Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office has asked a judge to reprimand an attorney representing two journalists convicted last month of trespassing while reporting late Christmas night 2021 on police activity in Asheville’s Aston Park. The attorney’s offense, according to Assistant District Attorney Robert A. McRight: talking to the press. A rule set by the […]

Compromise jail mugshot bill passes House and survives crossover deadline

By: - May 8, 2023

Last week, in between the vote to advance bills banning most abortions after 12 weeks and prohibiting gender-affirming surgeries for transgender children, House legislators passed a bill that attempts to remove people’s jail mugshots from the public sphere, provided they are not convicted of the crimes for which they were arrested. Rep. Joe John (D-Wake), […]

Bail bill passed last week shows fissures among House Democrats

By: - May 8, 2023

Members of the House passed a bill last week that would strip magistrates of the responsibility to set bail for certain felonies and instead allow judges to determine whether people charged with some violent crimes should be granted pretrial release. Under current law, police take people they’ve arrested to a magistrate, who determines bail or […]

House Republicans pass children gender-affirming surgery ban over Democrats’ objections

By: - May 4, 2023

Members of the House passed a bill Wednesday evening that would prohibit gender-affirming surgery for minors in North Carolina. On a fast track to passage, House Bill 808 cleared the House Committee on Health on Tuesday. On Wednesday afternoon legislators in the House Rules Committee advanced the bill to the House, where it passed by […]