News Roundup

Several people were charged with crimes this week in connection with the alleged absentee ballot fraud scheme that launched North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District race into the national political spotlight earlier this year.  According to the News & Observer, McCrae Dowless was charged with two counts of obstruction of justice and one count each of conspiracy to obstruct justice, illegal possession of an absentee ballot, perjury, and solicitation to commit perjury.  Five other people were indicted on related charges.  Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said the investigation was ongoing and that it was premature to say whether any additional charges would be filed.  Keep reading for more news.

Voting Charges.  In another story involving voting and criminal law, WRAL reports that four people were charged in Hoke County this week with illegally voting in the 2016 elections.  Each of the defendants is a convicted felon on probation or parole, and the WRAL story notes that they are among 441 felons who voted in the 2016 elections in North Carolina.  An earlier story from WRAL says that the State Board of Elections referred all cases it discovered of felons voting to local prosecutors.

Trooper Injured.  Last week Highway Patrol Trooper Christopher Wooten was severely injured in a crash at an intersection while pursuing a driver who had run a red light.  Fox 46 reports that Wooten was struck by a truck that had a green light and was paralyzed.  A GoFundMe site has been established to raise funds to help during Wooten’s recovery.

Goodson Criticizes Newby.  In an op-ed in the News & Observer, former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson says that recent remarks by Justice Paul Newby characterizing his colleagues as “AOCs” – referring to the nickname of New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – were “over the line.”  Timmons-Goodson said that the remarks were “not intended to be positive or a compliment in any way” and undermined the state’s high court.

Sex Offenders.  The Wilmington Star-News says that offenses against children are the most common convictions for registered sex offenders who live in the paper’s distribution area of New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender Counties.   On an annual basis the Star-News uses the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry to sort and display offenders by zip code within those counties.

Smokable Hemp.  The legal complexity of hemp products has been a hot topic in North Carolina in recent months.  South Carolina news outlet WPDE has a story this week that indicates that our neighbors to the south are dealing with their own hemp issues, including confusion over whether it is legal to possess smokable hemp in The Palmetto State without having a state hemp license.

Epstein.  There have been several recent news stories involving the sex trafficking charges against Jeffrey Epstein.  Last week Epstein was discovered unconscious and injured in his jail cell.  This week the New York Times reported that it was relatively widely-known among certain scientists pursuing research contributions that Epstein was interested in eugenics and was hoping to seed the human race with his DNA by impregnating dozens of women at his New Mexico ranch.

Bumper Crop.  The North Carolina Department of Public Safety says that a gardening project by inmates at Lincoln Correctional Center produced more fruits and vegetables than the facility’s kitchen could hold – 2,400 pounds more.  The project involved a greenhouse made from materials donated by local churches, and garden-grown fruits and vegetables have been incorporated into meals at the facility.  The extra produce was donated to two local non-profits that distribute food to people in need, with the director of one of the organizations saying that it received enough vegetables to make a week’s worth of sandwiches and snacks.

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