Posts tagged Social Justice
End of the innocence

More guns in schools, even if in the hands of the good guys, will only lead to otherwise avoidable accidents and injuries and do little to confront a mass shooter. Metal detectors may pick up a knife or a handgun, but do little to stop a gunman intent on blasting away at the entrance. 

And active shooter drills? What are we doing to preschoolers when we’re hushing them quiet while pretending a murderer is on the loose? Or reminding students huddled under desks to keep their scissors open, so they can stab better?

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The redistricting roadmap

Three separate challenges to North Carolina’s 2011 redistricting plans are pending in state and federal courts here, and each is on a certain path to the U.S. Supreme Court. Whether they’ll get there in time for any meaningful change to occur ahead of the November elections is less clear though.

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Paradise for polluters

 Conservatives rolled out the welcome mat for business when they took control of state government, making clear that unleashing companies from regulatory burdens ranked at the top of their agenda. “The reason I’m running for governor is to represent business,” then Charlotte mayor and longtime Duke Energy employee Pat McCrory told a group from the Council of Independent Business Owners during a 2012 campaign stop in downtown Asheville.

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Open season on individual rights

The party of less government rolled into Raleigh after the 2010 elections champing at the bit, eager to fulfill an agenda long delayed. “Regulations kill jobs” became the rallying cry, but as it turned out, that cry only went so far. When it came to voting booths, bedrooms, doctor’s offices and execution chambers, the self-styled opponents of intrusive government injected themselves in ways not seen before in state government.

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Win the courts, win the war

Conservative justices hold a 4-3 majority on the ostensibly nonpartisan state Supreme Court and, as party operatives understand well, maintaining that edge has been critical to ensuring Republican control elsewhere throughout the state. “Lose the courts, lose the war.” Political consultant John Davis labeled this “Rule Number Five” in his 2013 report, “How the North Carolina Republican Party Can Maintain Political Power for 114 Years.”

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Death penalty secrecy bill headed to governor's desk

Secret and swift. That’s what executions in North Carolina would become under a bill headed to the governor’s desk for signature. Despite recent examples of botched prosecutions here that sent innocent men to death row – Henry McCollum comes to mind – and botched executions elsewhere in the country, state lawmakers this morning adopted H774, which eliminates obstacles that have kept the state from carrying out the death penalty since 2006.

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For voting rights, a blockbuster summer ahead

Just as the U.S. Supreme Court wraps up its term with decisions in several high-profile cases expected in late June, state and federal courts here will be gearing up for what promises to be a long hot summer for voting rights – with more to follow. Several constitutional challenges to the sweeping voting law changes enacted in 2013 head to trial starting in July and the state Supreme Court rehears the redistricting case in August.

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Begging for a pardon: Why some of the wrongfully convicted could go penniless

The 1983 rape and murder of 11-year-old Sabrina Buie rocked the small North Carolina town of Red Springs and led quickly to the arrest of two area men – Henry McCollum and Leon Brown. From there the two brothers, whose IQs once measured in the 50s, withstood a trial and then four years later, retrials. They spent thirty-one years behind bars — McCollum, on death row — while attorneys pursued allegations of prosecutorial misconduct and pushed for renewed examination of evidence.
 

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Wrong place, wrong time, wrong conviction

After 36 years behind bars, man seeks exoneration. Joseph Sledge may just have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. And for that he’s spent half of his life behind bars. Broke and unemployed in 1973, the Georgia native and Army veteran stole a few boxes of clothes from a department store and landed in a Bladen County prison. While working on a highway litter crew one day in 1976, he got into a fight with another inmate who was then punished with a stint at another prison. When that inmate returned, Sledge – a slight man of 147 pounds – feared for his life and ran.

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Battle over hog farm pollution escalates as groups accuse state of environmental racism

For years now, complaints about the stench and pollution seeping from the state’s factory hog farms have lingered. In the courts and in the press, residents living with the mess and their advocates have traded barbs with industry and local leaders about failed oversight and influence in the legislature. But now environmental groups have stepped in and, in a precedent-setting complaint filed last week with the Environmental Protection Agency, allege that the state’s lax regulation of hog waste disposal discriminates against communities of color in eastern North Carolina.

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NineBar CreativeAll, Social Justice
Eugenics: A flawed process follows a a shameful program

Here’s what happens when a state admits a wrong but then takes years to get to reparations. Records go missing. Memories fade. People die. And the opportunity to provide at least some recompense is lost. That sad truth is unfolding now as North Carolina finally moves towards fulfilling long-promised redress to some of the thousands unwillingly sterilized here under the state’s sanctioned eugenics program.

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Delays piling on over Bonner Bridge dispute heads back to courts

The fate of the state’s proposed Bonner Bridge project remains hanging in the balance after the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday sent a challenge by conservation groups back to a lower court for further review. In Defenders of Wildlife v. NCDOT, the judges unanimously ruled that the lower court failed to consider requirements relating to the protection of wildlife refuge land — here, the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on Hatteras Island, through which the battered NC-12 runs – when determining if the project complied federal law.

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