It was a busy news day in the legal community Monday, both in North Carolina and in other states. Here are three of the biggest headlines you may have missed:
- Senate lawmakers took the first step last night toward reducing the Court of Appeals from 15 judges to 12. House Bill 239 is expected to have a third reading in the Senate today. A Senate
judiciary committee gave the bill a favorable review last week based on incorrect data Rep. Sarah Stevens (R-Surry, Wilkes) presented regarding the court’s workload. The Senate reconvened at 9:30 a.m. but stands in recess until 3:30 p.m.
- North Carolina is now officially the last state in the nation to prosecute 16- and 17-year-olds in the adult criminal system. New York’s legislature passed a “raise the age” initiative over the weekend, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed the bill into law Monday. It looks like North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin lost his bet with former New York Court of Appeals Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman that North Carolina would become the first of the two states to raise the age. Now the lingering question: Will North Carolina remain the only state in the nation to prosecute kids as adults, or will they join the ranks of the other 49 states and use a proper juvenile system? Lawmakers have introduced HB280, and it has incredible bipartisan support, but it is waiting to be heard in a judiciary committee.
- A federal judge again ruled Texas’ voter ID law was passed to intentionally discriminate. There has been a six-year ongoing legal battle over the 2011 legislation. The Dallas Morning News reports that the 10-page ruling could land Texas back on the list of states that need approval from the U.S. Justice Department before changing its election laws. A federal court also struck down North Carolina’s omnibus voter ID law, and that legal battle continues.