Three new criminal justice reform bills have been filed in recent weeks by North Carolina legislators. If passed, any or all of these laws could have an impact on criminal law in the state. As such, it is important for us to remain aware of the details within the bills. The bills are:
- House Bill 536, which requires police to intervene if they see another officer using excessive force, and
- House Bill 547, which will require police officers caught lying in court to reveal their past infraction if moving to a job in another county;
- House Bill 548, which will prevent law enforcement officials who have been banned from working in other parts of the country from reapplying in North Carolina.
The bills target two key areas criminal justice reform advocates consider important issues. Firstly, requiring officers to intervene when another is acting inappropriately; and, secondly, preventing law enforcement officials from escaping a record of past infractions by moving to another department or state. While “duty to intervene” rules do exist within the internal regulations of some police agencies in the state, lawmakers argue that a law will ensure the rule is followed across the state and cannot be easily changed.
In North Carolina, as in the rest of the United States, police regulations and limitations play an important role in criminal justice overall. Understanding the requirements facing police officers is important for any criminal law attorney. In addition, these new laws may also make it important for those in law enforcement to seek legal advice if they are accused of wrongdoing. Whether or not someone is in law enforcement, speaking to a North Carolina lawyer is an important first step for those accused of a crime.