NC Courts

Primer on the NC GOP's war on the court system

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A systematic and sustained effort to subvert the judiciary:

Number of actions they've taken in recent years to change the makeup and independence of state, district and local courts: at least 12

Date on which the N.C. legislature sustained a bill eliminating judicial primary elections that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper had vetoed: 10/16/2017

Days later that they introduced a bill to wipe out the terms of all state judges, from the N.C. Supreme Court to the district courts, at the close of 2018 and require them to run again: 1

Hat-tip to the Institute for Southern Studies for compiling this list. Every single one of those Legislative Republicans who are licensed attorneys should be disbarred for these attacks, or at least formally (and loudly) censured by the NC Bar Association. Follow the link to see the true depth of the GOP's meddling, but here's another taste:

Justice denied: New judicial maps decimate District and Superior Court judges

As usual, NC Policy Watch is right on top of this mess:

The team at NC Policy Watch thought it important to remove the blinders so that legislators will have a chance to make an informed decision on HB 717, and their constituents will have a chance to analyze the maps before deciding whether or not to show up for public comment. Accordingly, we have prepared the maps that appear below.

All three maps reflect the most up-to-date proposed districts in HB 717 (released at 11:58 p.m. Monday) – prosecutorial, district court and superior court – and indicate the districts in which all current incumbents would have to run for office based on their addresses of residence.

As I've mentioned before, I am not the most adept at evaluating redistricting maps. But you don't have to be a political topographer to know that when you see 2-3 blue dots within the same borders only one of those dots is going to survive. There will be a handful of Republican judges removed by this idiotic proposal, but (unless I'm reading it wrong) a couple of dozen Democratic judges swept out of the system. Aside from being a partisan pogrom, it will also cripple NC's Court system, which is already hard-pressed to handle its current caseload.

Add judges to that list of GOP cuts to legal professionals

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Our entire system of justice is being put at risk:

According to the latest lists released by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), there are now only 10 active emergency superior court judges and 25 emergency district court judges. Prior to the July 1 effective date of the Fiscal Year 2018 budget, there were 42 emergency superior court judges and 72 emergency district court judges. The new list reflects an overall reduction of 69.2%.

According to emails obtained by NC Policy Watch, the cuts were causing concerns in the court system even days after the budget was passed.

I'm sure they were. In any given month, NC's Superior and District Courts handle over 15,000 cases. And they've been doing so under an ever-shrinking budget since Republicans took over the General Assembly. Understand, these are both civil and criminal cases, and some of the latter deal with violent criminals. When you refuse to fund the system properly, the number of violent criminals who plea bargain their case down increases, and the number of victims who never get their day in court increases also. Making this a public safety issue, put in the irresponsible hands of unqualified politicians and their lackeys:

In NC, you're guilty until proven innocent

Ignoring evidence of faulty convictions:

As four men sat in prison for a murder they didn't commit, records show that state investigators sent proof of their innocence to a North Carolina prosecutor, but he never revealed it to the convicted men.

He didn't have to. Nothing in North Carolina's legal standards requires a prosecutor to turn over evidence of innocence after a conviction.

In this particular case, the District Attorney was provided solid evidence that five men he'd sent to prison were innocent, but he chose to ignore that evidence and let them remain incarcerated. Not only should there be a Bar Association rule in place to discourage that, there should also be a criminal charge for an officer of the court who does that. He might as well have kidnapped these people and chained them in his basement.

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