Courts and justice

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 […]

entry to Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

Three-judge panel in U.S. appeals court hears arguments in abortion pill case

BY: and - May 18, 2023

NEW ORLEANS — A federal appeals court panel quizzed lawyers during oral arguments Wednesday over a Texas judge’s decision that could end access to the abortion pill nationwide. Observers see the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals as a legal way station for the case, in which anti-abortion groups sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, […]

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. […]

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 […]

hog farm

In defeat for pork industry, U.S. Supreme Court okays California animal cruelty law

BY: - May 11, 2023

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today in a case challenging a California law approved by that state’s voters in 2018 that could have a significant impact on pork producing states like North Carolina. As was explained in this column last Spring, the case revolved around a law that requires all pork sold in the nation’s […]

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 […]

Common Cause of NC’s Bob Phillips on a trio of remarkable rulings from the state Supreme Court

BY: - May 8, 2023

The Republican majority of the North Carolina state Supreme Court issued a trio a rulings last week on the subject of elections and voting rights that promise to further undermine our increasingly fragile democracy. In Harper v. Hall, the court ruled that state lawmakers are free to gerrymander electoral districts for partisan gain to their […]

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 […]