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Confidence In Courts Eroding, NC Study Finds

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Flickr / Karen Neoh

Monday, April 24, 2017

A panel studying North Carolina’s court system is recommending changes.  It would be the first overhaul of the courts in the digital age. Mike Collins speaks with two of the panel's co-chairs, including an associate justice on North Carolina's Supreme Court.

It’s been two decades since North Carolina’s court system was given a thorough review. Previous looks in the 1950s and 1990s resulted in district courts being set up and focused attention on funding and judicial independence.

Another study, 15-months-long, has just concluded with a call to action for addressing eroding public confidence in the judicial system. The North Carolina on the Administration of Law and Justice found that 53 percent of the public doubts the fairness of court outcomes.

At a time of rancor in government at the legislative and executive branches, dysfunction at the judicial level threatens democracy, says Catharine Arrowood, one of five co-chairs of the panel studying the court system.

Their review, ordered in 2015 by N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin, recommends changes to the court system, from allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to be tried as juveniles rather than adults, to changing the way the state’s judges are chosen and retained.

Two of the commission's co-chairs join Mike Collins to discuss their study and the state of North Carolina's courts.

GUESTS

Catharine Arrowood, partner, Parker Poe; former president, North Carolina Bar Association (@cbarrowood)

Justice Barbara Jackson, associate justice, Supreme Court of North Carolina (@JudgeJackson)

Read the commission's report here