Published On: Fri, Sep 17th, 2010
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The Raleigh Report – Sept. 16

From the Office of Representative Phil Haire

North Carolina is getting tougher on criminals in this state, while also trying to assure that we are punishing the right people. In this past session, several laws were passed to help us better track criminals and to provide better education to our judicial officials. We are proud of the work we have done in this area and we will continue pressing for changes in the General Assembly and in our courts. The integrity of our court system should never be called into question.

 Animal Abuse

_ Following the abuse case of a dog in Guilford County named Susie, the General Assembly toughened the animal cruelty laws in North Carolina. The new law (S.L. 2010-16, SB 254)<http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2009/Bills/Senate/PDF/S254v4.pdf> increases from a misdemeanor to a felony the penalty for maliciously killing an animal by depriving it of food or drink. It also allows for stiffer punishment in cases of abuse. The law becomes effective December 1.

DNA Evidence

_ The DNA Database Act of 2010 requires law enforcement to take DNA sample from some criminal suspects upon their arrests. Currently, 23 other states and the federal government have DNA upon arrest statutes and North Carolina already permits collection of DNA from convicted felons. The new law (S.L. 2010-94, HB 1403)<http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2009/Bills/House/PDF/H1403v8.pdf> requires DNA collection for suspects accused of murder, manslaughter, rape or sex offenses, felony assaults with a deadly weapon or causing serious bodily injury, kidnapping or human trafficking, burglary offenses, arson, armed robbery, stalking, cyber stalking, and any offense which would require the person to register as a sex offender. The act applies to anyone arrested for attempting, soliciting, conspiring, or aiding and abetting another to commit a listed offense. The records and samples relating to a defendant’s DNA sample must be expunged by if the charge is dismissed, the defendant is acquitted of the charge, the charge is not filed within a designated time period, or if the defendant is found guilty of a lesser-included misdemeanor that is not on the list of offenses contained in the act.

 _ The Joint Select Committee on Preservation of Biological Evidence has been extended. The committee is reviewing matters related to the preservation of DNA and biological evidence. (S.L. 2010-152, Sec. 24, SB 900).<http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2009/Bills/Senate/PDF/S900v7.pdf>

 Sex Offenders and Domestic Violence

_ All convicted sex offenders from other states still serving a sentence must now register with the state. The previous law only required people convicted since December 1, 2006 to register. The new law (S.L. 2010-174, HB 726)<http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2009/Bills/House/PDF/H726v5.pdf> goes into place Oct. 1.

_ The state Supreme Court must now establish minimum education standards for district court judges handling domestic violence cases. The law (S.L. 2010-106, HB 1762)<http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2009/Bills/House/PDF/H1762v3.pdf> also encourages The University of North Carolina School of Government to provide domestic violence training for district court judges and magistrates.

_ Law enforcement or a prosecutor must now provide a defendant’s criminal history to a judicial official when the judge is considering pretrial release conditions for people accused of domestic violence. The law (S.L. 2010-135, HB 1812)<http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2009/Bills/House/PDF/H1812v6.pdf> requires judge to consider the record as part of their decision about possible limits on the defendants.

 Gambling

_ North Carolina has once again banned the use of electronic machines or devices for conducting or promoting sweepstakes. The act (S.L. 2010-103, HB 80)<http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2009/Bills/House/PDF/H80v6.pdf>  makes it unlawful for any person to operate, or place into operation, an electronic machine or device to conduct a sweepstakes through the use of an entertaining display, or to promote a sweepstakes that is conducted through the use of an entertaining display. Violation of the law is misdemeanor for a first offense and a felony upon a second offense.

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Rep. Haire and Legislative Assistant, Sara Jane Lennard, may be reached at 300 N. Salisbury St., Room 639, LOB Raleigh, NC 27603, 919/715-3005, philliph@ncleg.net

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