Nearly half of North Carolina’s counties are “legal deserts.” State budget proposals could help with that.
Almost half of North Carolina’s counties are “legal deserts,” meaning there is less than one lawyer for every 1,000 residents, the executive director of the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services (IDS) told members of state a commission Thursday morning. Almost two-thirds of North Carolina’s attorneys are in Wake, Mecklenburg, Guilford, Durham and Forsyth […]
A miscarriage of justice, a life in prison
This story mentions sexual assault. It was April 2022, and come summer 66-year-old Bobby Norfleet would begin another year behind bars. He bore the marks of 44 years in North Carolina prisons. He had a lump in his left leg. He didn’t have any teeth. His dentures had broken, so talking was difficult. Bobby’s younger […]
New public defender offices planned in the House budget, but no intent to expand public defense statewide
The House budget unveiled by Republican leaders Wednesday night would provide funding to establish new public defender offices serving eight counties across North Carolina, an infusion of funds to ensure poor people charged with crimes are adequately represented in court. But despite that there are such offices in less than half of the state’s 100 […]
Dispatches from the North Carolina court system: Guilford County’s ‘jail docket’
Shaletta Ryans went to court Monday afternoon without even having to leave jail. She appeared in a Guilford County courtroom via a live video feed, her image beaming onto five computer screens in front of prosecutors, a public defender and a judge. She didn’t say much, but the courtroom’s speakers rattled with the sound of chains, the cacophonous soundtrack of jail.
Public defenders are the bedrock of our legal system. How Tom Cotton damaged that
Since it seems to have become something of a thing of late, here’s what the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says about the right to an attorney and the right to a fair and speedy trial: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an […]
Public defender group weighs in on Charlotte police shooting
After taking some time to sift through the publicly available facts and measuring them against their decades upon decades of combined experience in North Carolina’s criminal justice system, the good people at the North Carolina Public Defender Committee on Racial Equity or NC PDCORE weighed in yesterday on the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott last […]
Indigent defense – the “civil rights issue of our time”
Jon Rapping’s at it again. Watch the founder of Gideon’s Promise, an organization that trains and supports public defenders, talk about how his young proteges are taking on what he calls the biggest civil rights issue of our time — ensuring that those who can’t afford an attorney get the representation they need to navigate the […]