Darts and Laurels: Court should plan other sessions outside of Raleigh

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Laurel to the N.C. Supreme Court for traveling to cities across the state to show citizens what legal procedure looks like in the state’s highest court.

On Monday, it was Salisbury’s turn, with Supreme Court justices having two court sessions that members of the general public could attend.

State law only allows the cities of Morganton and Edenton as exceptions to the rule that justices hear cases in Raleigh. But Salisbury was among the cities temporarily added as an exception as part of the court’s bicentennial celebration. Later this week, court sessions will be held in Asheboro and Winston-Salem, too.

The N.C. General Assembly, which gave the court permission for this year’s traveling sessions, should consider allowing the same in the future for at times other than a bicentennial celebration and at courthouses in towns smaller than Salisbury and Asheboro. Every year isn’t feasible. And the court certainly can’t embark on a statewide tour on a frequent basis.

But having court in counties around the state is a great educational opportunity for young attorneys, students and citizens who wouldn’t be able to travel to Raleigh to hear a case and see justice in action. For that reason, the Supreme Court and the General Assembly should begin thinking about when other out-of-Raleigh sessions might be possible as soon as this year’s tour is done.

Laurel to the news that the Salisbury Police Department has received a grant to create a Regional Crime Intelligence Center.

Police Chief Jerry Stokes is right: criminals don’t care about municipal boundaries. To make a true dent in crime, local departments need to collaborate and share information on a frequent basis.

Because the center will create a centralized location where federal, state and local officers can investigate cases together and share intelligence, it should make that an easy task.

We look forward to seeing the Crime Intelligence Center in action and police departments across the county working together to solve cases.

Dart to the statement by more than one candidate during last week’s City Council forum that there’s nothing the city can do about the location of “Fame.”

The City Council could pursue what would surely be a lengthy and costly legal battle over whether the monument’s location is a public safety problem for motorists or pedestrians who want to view it. The chances that such an argument would win are far from clear. The battle could easily be unsuccessful.

The council could support an effort to recontextualize the monument through additional historical markers, too.

Candidates, including incumbents, may have decided that fighting the matter in the courts and/or taking other action isn’t wise in an election year or at any point in the future, but they should say that instead of feigning helplessness.