North Carolina Expands Opportunities for Certificates of Relief

In mid-June, the North Carolina Senate passed House Bill 774, “Amend Certificates of Relief.” Courts can issue “certificates of relief” to individuals. With this certificate, if that person is hired and commits a crime involving their job or employer, the employer is not held liable. Because the new law gives people with criminal records more opportunities to gain employment, it has the potential to reduce recidivism.

Proposed NC Constitutional Amendments

As the 2018 legislative session draws to a close, the General Assembly has introduced a slew of proposed constitutional amendments that will be on the ballot for voters in the fall.

This move comes before elections that threaten the Republican supermajority in both houses. Overriding vetoes from the governor and amending the constitution both require a 3/5 supermajority.

One proposal is to make photo identification a requirement for in-person voting. Other proposals include capping the state income tax and protecting the right to use “traditional methods” to hunt. Additionally, “Marsy’s Law” would support victim’s rights.

Two of the proposals have the potential to move power from the gubernatorial branch to the legislative one. First, one would give the general assembly the power to appoint the state board of elections and ethics enforcement. Second, Senate Bill 814 would change the process by which judicial vacancies are filled. A commission would review judicial nominations from the public and recommendations would be forwarded to the General Assembly. From there, the legislators would then send a minimum of two names to the governor, who would then pick the person to fill the vacancy.

Read more about all of the proposals here and here, and about the Senate bill 814 here.

Wake County Judge Orders the Release of Law Enforcement Video in Police Beating Case

Judge A. Graham Shirley of Wake County has ordered certain video and audio recordings from the Wake County Sheriff department, Raleigh police department, and state troopers to be released. They are now available to be viewed by the public.

They are from the body and dashboard cameras of officers who responded to calls that a man was standing in the middle of North Raleigh Boulevard on April 3. These officers have been accused of beating Kyron Dwain Hinton, 29, with flashlights and a police dog. Hinton said that he had a broken eye socket and nose, 21 bite marks and cuts on his head after the incident.

Officer Cameron Broadwell of Wake County and NC Highway Patrol Troopers Michael Blake and Tabithia Davis have been indicted by a grand jury. The video and audio recordings are highly disturbing. Hinton has said that although he was upset at the time, he made no threats. Some of the officers’ attorneys have requested that the 9/11 calls and radio traffic between law enforcement also be made public. The Carolina Justice Policy Center continues to advocate for Mr. Hinton, and hopes that the incident will serve as a catalyst for greater police accountability. Learn more here.

Two State Troopers Indicted for Beating Wake Co. Man Fired

Two State Highway Patrol Troopers indicted for the brutal beating of Kyron Hinton have been fired. N.C. troopers Michael G. Blake and Tabithia L. Davis were terminated, resulting from an internal department investigation. Read more about the firings here.

The firing of these officers, in the face of what can only be characterized as an abuse of the public trust at the highest level, is a step towards the type of law enforcement accountability North Carolina citizens deserve. However, many more policy and procedural safeguards need to be put in place for law enforcement to be truly accountable to the pledges to protect.

Carolina Justice Policy Center is proud to stand with Save our Sons and Justice Service to help bridge the trust gap that exists between our law enforcement and our communities.

NCGA Try to Force ID for Voting…AGAIN

Despite being told that it is unconstitutional to require and ID for voting, NC General Assembly is trying again to force an voting ID requirement on the citizens of North Carolina. This time they are trying to use a constitutional amendment, that will appear on Novembers ballot, to make showing ID mandatory for voters in North Carolina.

When you see this constitutional amendment on your ballot, VOTE NO! An ID requirement for voting disproportionally chills the voting rights of African Americans and senior citizens. Read more about the proposed constitutional amendment here.