Those who lost North Carolina driver's licenses are restored

Court Watch 2017/01/08 16:46   Bookmark and Share
Court officials say North Carolinians who lost their driver's licenses because of problems at the Department of Motor Vehicles have gotten them back.

The Winston-Salem Journal reported that Forsyth County Clerk of Court Susan Frye said in May that thousands of North Carolina drivers had lost their licenses because DMV officials had not updated records.

Frye said the state agency did not update driver's records to show when people complied with requirements such as taking care of a ticket or getting a re-scheduled court date.

The exact number of people affect is unclear. Frye says the DMV has done a great job of fixing the problems. She says she's getting virtually no complaint calls now.
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Man who fired shots in DC pizza parlor expected in court

Court Watch 2016/12/16 16:20   Bookmark and Share
Family members noticed a change in the man charged with firing an assault rifle in a Washington pizza parlor after he hit a 13-year-old pedestrian with his car in October, his parents said.

Edgar Maddison Welch shifted from energetic and outgoing to melancholy and quiet, Terri Welch and Harry Welch Jr. told The Washington Post at their son's public defender's office Monday.

"He was very traumatized. We feel that accident changed him," Harry Welch said, and his wife said they have wondered whether it could have been a catalyst for the incident at Comet Ping Pong.

Police and prosecutors say that on Dec. 4, Maddison Welch went into the restaurant and fired an AR-15 rifle multiple times inside. No one was hurt.

He told police "he had read online that the Comet restaurant was harboring child sex slaves," and he wanted to investigate, according to court documents.

The couple from North Carolina was in town to attend a Tuesday court hearing for their son, whom they have not spoken with since the shooting. The 28-year-old Welch, of Salisbury, North Carolina, has been in jail since the shooting. He faces charges including assault with a dangerous weapon.

Harry Welch said his son felt guilty after the crash and worried about the long-term effects for the child, who had to be airlifted to a hospital with broken bones and a head injury. His parents said Maddison Welch began having nightmares but did not to seek help.

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Supreme Court takes up cases about race in redistricting

Court Watch 2016/12/05 13:22   Bookmark and Share
The Supreme Court is taking up a pair of cases in which African-American voters maintain that Southern states discriminated against them in drawing electoral districts.

The justices are hearing arguments Monday in redistricting disputes from North Carolina and Virginia.

The claim made by black voters in both states is that Republicans created districts with more reliably Democratic black voters than necessary to elect their preferred candidates, making neighboring districts whiter and more Republican.

A federal court struck down two North Carolina districts as unconstitutional because they relied too heavily on race. In Virginia, a court rejected a constitutional challenge to 12 state legislative districts. The justices have frequently considered the intersection of race and politics.

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Muslim cleric is in US court fighting against deportation

Court Watch 2016/12/03 13:22   Bookmark and Share
The leader of one of New Jersey's largest mosques has taken the stand to defend himself against charges that he lied on his green card application.

Imam Mohammad Qatanani is the leader of the Islamic Center of Passaic County.

A judge ruled against immigration authorities' attempt to have him deported eight years ago. Federal officials say he didn't disclose that he'd been convicted in Israel for being a member of Hamas.

Qatanani began testifying Tuesday before an immigration court judge in Newark as part of the appeals process.

Qatanani denies he was ever part of the group classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. He says he was only detained and never convicted.

Qatanani came to the U.S. from Jordan. He was born in the West Bank.

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Election judge pleads not guilty in absentee ballot case

Court Watch 2016/11/21 12:48   Bookmark and Share
An 88-year-old election judge from southern Illinois has pleaded not guilty after allegedly sending in an absentee ballot in her late husband's name.

The (Belleville) News-Democrat reports that Audrey Cook appeared Thursday in Madison County Circuit Court.

Cook, of Alton, told The Associated Press this month that she filled out the ballot for her husband after he died in September because she knew he would want Donald Trump to be president.

She was charged a few days before the Nov. 8 election with two felony counts of election fraud.

Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons has said the ballot was never even opened because a clerk found it had been submitted in the name of a deceased person.

Gibbons also said Cook would be removed as an election judge.

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Court fight over Ohio executions likely to focus on sedative

Court Watch 2016/10/13 22:44   Bookmark and Share
Ohio says it's resuming executions in January with a three-drug protocol similar to one it used for several years.

The concept is one adopted for decades by many states: the first drug sedates inmates, the second paralyzes them, and the third stops their hearts.

The key difference comes with the first drug the state plans to use, midazolam, which has been challenged in court as unreliable.

The state argues that a planned dose of 500 milligrams will ensure that inmates are properly sedated.

Defense attorneys say it's unclear what a much bigger dose would achieve.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that midazolam can be used in executions without violating the Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.
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