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North Carolina News – June 19, 2022

North Carolina News – June 19, 2022

No updates on 4 inmates who escaped prison satellite camp

HOPEWELL, Va. (AP) — Authorities haven’t released any updates about the search for four escaped inmates a day after they were discovered missing from a federal prison’s satellite camp in Virginia. The Federal Bureau of Prisons says inmates Corey Branch, Tavares Lajuane Graham, Lamonte Rashawn Willis and Kareem Allen Shaw were discovered missing from the Federal Correctional Complex Petersburg’s satellite camp in Hopewell, Virginia, around 1:45 a.m. Saturday. Officials did not release any details about how the inmates escaped. Officials say the U.S. Marshals Service, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies were notified and an internal investigation has been initiated. Officials didn’t release any new information about the search Sunday.

SUPREME COURT-ELECTIONS

Justices seem poised to hear elections case pressed by GOP

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court seems poised to take on a new elections case being pressed by Republicans. It could increase the power of state lawmakers over races for Congress and the presidency, as well as redistricting. It also could cut state courts out of the equation. The issue has arisen repeatedly in cases from North Carolina and Pennsylvania, where Democratic majorities on the states’ highest courts have invoked voting protections in their state constitutions to frustrate the plans of Republican-dominated legislatures. Already, four conservative Supreme Court justices have noted their interest in deciding whether state courts that find violations of their state constitutions can order changes to federal elections and the once-a-decade redrawing of congressional districts.

FIREFLIES AND ROBOTS

Researchers hope fireflies will aid robot communication

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — Researchers from the University of Colorado are studying the Great Smoky Mountains’ synchronous fireflies to determine whether understanding the way they communicate could help with developing robot communication. Researcher Orit Peleg tells the Knoxville News Sentinel the fireflies need to solve complex problems while communicating in large groups. He hopes to learn something from the fireflies that can be applied to man-made systems. Semi-autonomous robots communicating with flashes of infrared light could be used to locate victims after a natural disaster, for example. The coordination it takes for thousands of fireflies to flash together isn’t well understood.

INMATES ESCAPE

Officials: 4 escape from Virginia prison satellite camp

HOPEWELL, Va. (AP) — Federal officials say four inmates have escaped from a federal prison’s satellite camp in Virginia. The Federal Bureau of Prisons says inmates Corey Branch, Tavares Lajuane Graham, Lamonte Rashawn Willis and Kareem Allen Shaw were discovered missing from the Federal Correctional Complex Petersburg’s satellite camp in Hopewell, Virginia, around 1:45 a.m. Saturday. Officials say the minimum security facility houses 185 male offenders, but they did not release any details about how the inmates escaped. Officials say the U.S. Marshals Service, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies were notified and an internal investigation has been initiated.

AP-US-HOUSING-MARKET-FLOOD-BUYOUTS

Housing market slows retreat from rising seas, bigger storms

Hot real estate markets have made some homeowners wary of participating in voluntary flood buyout programs. And that is impacting efforts to move people away from flooding from rising seas and more frequent storms. Flood buyout programs typically purchase flood-prone homes, raze them and turn the property into green space. They can help prevent flood-related deaths and health problems. Buyouts are also considered cheaper for taxpayers compared to rebuilding flooded houses with government payouts and federal flood insurance. Some cities have seen waning interest in the programs in the wake of rising home prices. People who take buyouts usually want to relocate to similar homes in the same community. But some worry that buyout dollars won’t be enough to buy the homes they want.

FREEDOM RIDERS-VACATED CONVICTIONS

Freedom riders’ 1947 convictions vacated in North Carolina

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (AP) — Legendary civil rights leader Bayard Rustin and three other men had their convictions vacated posthumously. They were sentenced to work on a chain gang in North Carolina after launching the first of the “freedom rides” to challenge Jim Crow laws, which mandated segregation on buses. Friday’s ceremony vacating their convictions took place at the Orange County Courthouse in Hillsborough. Rustin was a pioneer of the civil rights movement and an adviser to the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. He was instrumental in organizing the 1963 March on Washington.

MURDER-EVIDENCE

NC Supreme Court reinstates conviction in co-worker’s death

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina Supreme Court has reinstated a man’s murder and robbery convictions in the death of his co-worker. The justices ruled 5-2 on Friday to reverse another appeals court’s ruling that had declared the circumstantial evidence at the 2019 trial of David Myron Dover for the death of Arthur “Buddy” Davis to be too weak for guilty verdicts. Their boss had found Davis stabbed to death in his Kannapolis home in 2016. Chief Justice Paul Newby wrote that substantial evidence supports the reasonable inference that Dover killed Davis and took $3,000 from him. But a dissenting justice wrote the evidence only led to “suspicion or conjecture.”

YOUNG OFFENDERS-PAROLE

NC justices: Young offenders are parole-eligible at 40 years

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A sharply divided North Carolina Supreme Court has ruled juvenile offenders sentenced to long prison terms for deadly and violent crimes must be eligible for parole after 40 years behind bars. The Democratic majority held the prevailing opinions Friday in a pair of cases involving youths who committed murder, rape, or both. It agreed that sentences that required the offenders to serve 45 or 50 years before a possible release were the equivalents of having no chance at all and are thus constitutional. The court’s three Republicans joined in dissenting opinions, accusing their colleagues of judicial activism and limiting the sentences that judges can hand down.

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