Governor Signs Bill Requiring Inventory of N.C. Crimes | Eastern North Carolina Now | Gov. Roy Cooper has signed a bill into law that begins cleaning up North Carolina's criminal code

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
    Publisher's note: The author of this post is Kari Travis, who is an associate editor for the Carolina Journal, John Hood Publisher.

    Gov. Roy Cooper has signed a bill into law that begins cleaning up North Carolina's criminal code.

    The state has too many crimes, lawmakers and legal experts say. Hundreds of these laws are scattered across more than 140 chapters of the N.C. General Statutes. Hundreds more, created by administrative and licensing bodies, cities, towns, and metropolitan sewer districts, cause confusion as to what is - and isn't - a crime.

    House Bill 379, "Recodification Working Group," will require state agencies, boards, and commissions to take inventory of all crimes on their respective books and report to the General Assembly by Dec. 1, 2018.

    The N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts will sort through common law crimes and the general statutes, identifying redundant, inconsistent, obsolete, and unconstitutional crimes. That list would go to the legislature no later than Feb. 1, 2019.

    Many crimes are oddly specific. Larceny, for instance, is a crime already including all theft of personal property. North Carolina, though, has separate offenses for larceny of dairy crates, motor fuel, political signs, and even ginseng, pine needles, and straw.

Jessica Smith, Kenan Distinguished Professor at the UNC School of Government, spoke April 9 at the John Locke Foundation on complexities in N.C.'s criminal code. (CJ file photo)

    Some towns have laws against chickens running free. Others criminalize business owners who fail to remove snow from their sidewalks, or punish people who allow female dogs in heat to run free.

    Dysfunction results, said Jessica Smith, professor of public law and government at the UNC School of Government. Smith wrote a 1,000-plus-page book on North Carolina crime laws. The extent of crimes are too much even for an expert to comprehend, much less state residents, Smith said during an April presentation at the John Locke Foundation.

    North Carolinians deserve a transparent, understandable code, Rep. Dennis Riddell, R-Alamance, told Carolina Journal. Riddell, a primary sponsor of H.B. 379.

    "The value to the individual citizens will be a stream-lined transparent and searchable criminal code that any citizen can access," Riddell said.

    "It will improve the efficiency of the entire judicial system and insure a more fair and balanced application of the law. It will protect the individual liberties and rights of every individual citizen."

    Once the state takes inventory of all crimes, a working group will review the findings.

    The working group could consider limiting agencies that try to enact new misdemeanors, since the point of recodification is ensuring the code remains clear and understandable, said Steven Walker, general counsel to Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. Walker was instrumental in the crafting of H.B. 379.
Go Back


Latest Op-Ed & Politics

RALEIGH: Today, Governor Roy Cooper directed $14.5 million in new federal funding to further support postsecondary students in completing their degree or credential and to support beginning teachers as they start a new academic year.
Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) said that while the July jobs report showed strong job growth, those numbers could be a “precursor” to “serious economic issues coming very shortly.”
U.S. Navy investigators have concluded that a submarine that sustained significant damage in the South China Sea ran into a previously uncharted seamount while operating in international waters.
After 20 years at CNN, Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin has decided to part ways with the news organization to expose himself to new audiences.
Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” slammed the media and society in general for effectively celebrating people for being fat, warning that the trend is a legitimate national security concern for the United States
Continuing in full truth, every honest American citizen, with just a modicum of this patriotic embrace of reality, must be asking themselves: How did this lying, corrupt, hypocrite, and now obviously confused entity of a full grown politician, ever get elected?


Daily Wire host Matt Walsh called out a transgender activist for announcing a potentially illegal plan to send hormone replacement therapy drugs to gender-confused people in red states.
Supporters of felon voting in North Carolina submitted their opening written arguments to the N.C. Supreme Court. The court's decision could affect 56,000 potential voters.
Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration will reportedly add a climate policy czar to the U.S. military to combat climate change while communist China focuses on rapidly expanding the size and capabilities of its military.
Another case of Democrats disregarding the will of the People
The government of Taiwan scrambled its air reconnaissance patrol forces and ships after the Chinese government simulated an invasion of the island on Saturday as part of its fourth straight day of military training.


Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez disputed claims of Republicans who claim the U.S. has devolved into a banana republic following the raid on former President Trump's Florida residence, saying that America is more like a Forever 21.


Back to Top