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.

‘Kayla’s Law’ domestic violence bill clears committee with bipartisan vote

By: - March 22, 2023

The proposal would allow survivors of domestic violence to testify remotely against their alleged abusers and increase the statute of limitations for prosecution of misdemeanor domestic violence. Kayla Hammonds was afraid to go to court. She couldn’t bear the thought of facing her ex-boyfriend in the courtroom alone, so she’d bring her sister for moral support.

Notable prison system appropriations in the governor’s budget

By: - March 21, 2023

Gov. Roy Cooper released his budget last week, offering raises to teachers, increasing appropriations for the Department of Environmental Quality and funding the comprehensive remedial plan in the long-running Leandro school funding lawsuit. It also includes a substantial allocation of state dollars to pay for the new Department of Adult Correction, responsible for overseeing the roughly […]

Cooper launches Office of Violence Prevention as Republicans send gun reform bill to his desk

By: - March 20, 2023

Last week Gov. Roy Cooper announced that he’d launch an Office of Violence Prevention, an initiative aimed at reducing violence and firearm misuse across North Carolina. “All of us deserve to feel safe in our homes, our schools and our communities,” Cooper said in a statement. “This new office will help coordinate the efforts to reduce […]

Déjà vu: NC Supreme Court rehears arguments in voter ID case 

By: - March 16, 2023

For the second time in two days, the Republican-majority high court rehears arguments in a case decided by a Democratic majority just months ago The North Carolina Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday on whether a voter ID law passed in 2018 was intended to discriminate against prospective voters of color.

Biden Administration launches pardon app for low-level marijuana convictions

By: - March 15, 2023

The Biden Administration has opened pardon applications for people convicted of low-level federal marijuana possession. President Joe Biden announced in October that he would issue pardons for people convicted of simple possession of marijuana, affecting about 6,500 people convicted of the federal crime between 1992 and 2021. A person can be charged with simple possession, […]

Organizers plan rally at the Capitol before Supreme Court hears voter ID, redistricting arguments

By: - March 13, 2023

Organizers from across North Carolina will meet in downtown Raleigh Tuesday ahead of the state Supreme Court re-hearing two voting rights cases that a previous iteration of the high court decided last year. Dubbed the “People’s Rally at the Capitol,” a group of advocacy organizations calling themselves “A People’s Coalition” will demonstrate to “sound the […]

Monday numbers: Nearly 19,000 children in NC have a parent who’s imprisoned

By: - March 13, 2023

Data obtained through a records request illustrates how many parents are in North Carolina prisons — and how many kids have parents behind bars Almost 10,000 people in North Carolina prisons are the parent of a child younger than 18 years old. And at least 18,800 children across the state have a parent who is […]

North Carolina to be represented on national life-without-parole webinar

By: - March 9, 2023

The Sentencing Project will host a webinar next Tuesday titled “Life Without Parole in the Era of Mass Incarceration” — and North Carolina will feature prominently in the discussion. Among the panelists are Anthony Willis, who served 26 years of a life-without-parole sentence before Gov. Roy Cooper commuted his sentence last year, and Rep. Marcia […]

Lawmakers file bill to eliminate cash bail for NC’s lowest-level crimes

By: - March 8, 2023

Democratic legislators from some of the state’s biggest counties — and busiest courthouses — have filed a bill that would prohibit judges from imposing cash bail on a person charged with one or more Class 3 misdemeanors. Class 3 misdemeanors are the least serious types of misdemeanors in North Carolina, punishable by up to 20 […]

After the GOP proposes ‘commonsense gun reform,’ Dems float their own ideas

By: - March 8, 2023

The bills are broadly aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of people deemed a risk to themselves or others. After he found out his fiancée had been shot and killed while walking her dog, a grief-stricken Rob Steele took his gun out of his safe. He unloaded the magazine, put the ammunition back in the metal box, then handed his firearm to a doctor.

Crime Commission publishes new figures on domestic violence in North Carolina

By: - March 6, 2023

A new report from the state’s Criminal Justice Analysis Center sheds light on the prevalence of domestic violence in North Carolina. Analysts broadened their definition of domestic violence as they gathered the data for the report. Researchers classified all crimes against people committed by current or former intimate partners or family members as domestic and […]

A fentanyl bottle

Stein to keynote summit on fentanyl as legislature considers related bills

By: - March 3, 2023

Attorney General Josh Stein will be the keynote speaker at a “Family Summit on Illicit Fentanyl Fatalities in North Carolina” this Saturday. Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid used to manage pain that has become popular in the illicit drug market, is a scourge in North Carolina and across the country, responsible for more than 13,000 deaths […]