North Carolina News – August 17

North Carolina News – August 17


Correctional worker charged with bringing drugs into prison

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (AP) — A former correctional unit housing manager at a North Carolina prison is facing several drug-related charges after law enforcement officials say she was caught bringing marijuana into the prison. The Daily Advance reports Vanessa Uniqua Spence of Elizabeth City was arrested last week and charged with possession of a controlled substance while in a prison facility and possession of drug paraphernalia. Pasquotank Sheriff Tommy Wooten says drugs were found on Spence during a routine search of prison staff at Pasquotank Correctional Institution. An arrest warrant states Spence tried to bring about 12 grams of marijuana into the prison and had grinders, rolling paper. Officials say she resigned that day. Spence was released on $3,000 secured bond.


N. Carolina city removes Confederate monuments’ pedestals

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — Two stone pedestals that once held Confederate monuments in a North Carolina city have been removed. The StarNews reports that the two pedestals, one that once held a statue of Confederate Attorney General George Davis and another that held a memorial to Confederate war dead, were removed Sunday. Last year, officials in Wilmington cited public safety concerns following weeks of Black Lives Matter protests when the statues were removed and stored away last year. Earlier this month, the Wilmington City Council voted 6-1 to permanently remove the pedestals too. The city has agreed to move the pedestals into storage until a local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy takes possession of them.


Medically at-risk North Carolinians can get third COVID shot

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina health officials say medically vulnerable residents with certain health conditions can get an additional does of COVID-19 vaccine. Some in the state have already gotten a third Pfizer or Moderna shot after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it last week. Data from the state Department of Health and Human Services shows COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and the share of tests coming back positive at their worst levels in more than six months. Lack of demand for vaccines has contributed to tens of thousands of doses being thrown out.


Official: North Carolina mayor dies after battling COVID-19

OAK CITY, N.C. (AP) — An official in a North Carolina town says the mayor has died from COVID-19. WITN reports Oak City Town Clerk Vonetta Porter says Mayor William Stalls died on Sunday. There were no additional details on his death. Stalls, who worked for 43 years with Oak City Fire & EMS, served as an EMT and treasurer. Mayor Pro Tem Sue Harrell says Stalls had been hospitalized for three weeks. Harrell says Town Commissioner Joey Brown died from the virus in July 2020.


Report questions NC jail program to stop crowded prisons

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A group advocating for people with disabilities in North Carolina is questioning a program to prevent overcrowding in state prisons by paying county jail operators to hold offenders convicted of misdemeanors. Disability Rights North Carolina calculated in a report released Monday that counties received $4.2 million to hold people sentenced for misdemeanors during months between 2018 and 2020 when their jails were above 100% capacity. A 2011 state law created program. Jails are run by local sheriffs, who can opt out of the program. Disability Rights NC says changes are needed to prevent overcrowding and fix jail safety problems more quickly.


Trial begins on challenge to NC felon voting restrictions

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A state trial has started in a lawsuit challenging when voting rights are restored for convicted felons in North Carolina. Three Superior Court judges heard opening statements and testimony in Wake County court Monday. Several civil rights groups and ex-offenders sued legislative leaders and state officials in 2019. They allege the rules violate the state constitution and unduly hurt Black residents. State law says felons can register to vote again once they complete several aspects of their sentence, including probation and parole. Lawyers defending the law say it treats all people convicted of felonies the same by withholding the right to vote.


Bill retooling NC sheriff candidate rejection now law

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A new law says someone who’s been convicted of a felony can’t run for sheriff in North Carolina, even if the crime has been officially expunged from the person’s record. It’s one of five bills from the General Assembly that Gov. Roy Cooper said he signed into law on Monday.  The bill clarifies how to implement a 2010 addition to North Carolina’s constitution barring convicted felons from running for the post. While criminal offenders have been able to get some felonies removed from their records for years, enough lawmakers agreed that it shouldn’t permit someone to run for county sheriff.


Former judge pleads guilty to indecent liberties charge

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina district attorney says a former Superior Court judge has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to taking indecent liberties with a teenage boy in 2019. News outlets report Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams says former judge Daniel Ray Green was given a two-year sentence, three years of supervised probation, and ordered to undergo sexual offender treatment after pleading guilty to a number of child sex offenses in Buncombe County. In addition, Green has been disbarred, but can petition in 2026 to have his law license reinstated.

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