Wednesday was the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the country has celebrated his legacy this week while also reflecting on our national obligation to continue to work towards a society of equal justice. The Associated Press has republished selections of its contemporaneous coverage of King’s assassination, and the News Hour aired a segment discussing King’s enduring influence on campaigns for civil rights. Keep reading for more news.
Traveling Mood. Chief Justice Mark Martin has a guest column in the Winston-Salem Journal this week discussing the upcoming 200 year anniversary of the North Carolina Supreme Court. As part of the anniversary celebration, the Court is taking a road trip of sorts, convening sessions of oral argument in places other than the Court’s usual home in Raleigh. The first traveling sessions will be held in May in Morganton, Hendersonville, and Asheville. Later this year, there will be stops in Halifax, Greenville, and New Bern.
Pulse. Last week, a jury in Florida acquitted Noor Salman, the wife of Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen, on charges of obstruction of justice and aiding and abetting Mateen in providing material support to the Islamic State. The Orlando Sentinel has the story here. Prior to the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting, the 2016 attack at Pulse was the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.
Restorative Justice. WRAL reports that a guilty plea in Durham on Thursday marked the first instance where a violent felony charge had been handled in North Carolina using a restorative justice program. James Scott Berish pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and possession of a stolen firearm, charges arising from an incident where a bullet from a gun he fired in an apartment hit a child in a neighboring apartment. As part of the restorative justice program, Berish met with the victim’s family on several occasions, apologized, and asked for forgiveness. Berish will be required to speak at gun safety and awareness programs in the future.
Prison Policy. The News & Observer reports that the North Carolina prison system has made changes to its policy regarding the restraint of pregnant inmates. The report says that leg or waist restraints will no longer be used on pregnant inmates, and that only in exceptional circumstances may restraints be used while an inmate is in labor.
County Manager Indicted. WLOS reports that former Buncombe County Manager Wanda Greene and her son Michael have been indicted in federal court on charges of embezzlement and fraud. According to WLOS, “prosecutors say Greene and her son misused their county-issued credit cards and cards distributed to other employees to make hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of improper purchases.”
Correction Officer Sentenced. The Charlotte Observer reports that former Lanesboro Correctional Institution officer Evangeline Hunt recently was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for smuggling drugs and other contraband into the prison. The Observer story says that Hunt pretended to cooperate with an FBI investigation into an inmate’s smuggling operation while being an active participant in it.
2nd Amendment. Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens wrote an op-ed in the New York Times last week suggesting that the Second Amendment should be repealed, calling it a “simple but dramatic action” that would make American society safer. Stevens’ op-ed was widely criticized by both sides of the gun control debate.