CRIMINAL JUSTICE EQUITY ACT OF 2021.

View NCGA Bill Details2021
House Bill 532 (Public) Filed Monday, April 12, 2021
AN ACT TO MAKE CRIMINAL JUSTICE, POLICING, AND JUVENILE JUSTICE REFORM, AND TO APPROPRIATE FUNDS.
Intro. by Morey, Gailliard, Quick.

Status: Ref To Com On Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House (House action) (Apr 13 2021)

Bill History:

H 532

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: Apr 12 2021 - More information

    Part I.

    Amends GS 17C-20 to open up eligibility for the Criminal Justice Fellows Program (Program) to all counties (was, tier one counties with a population of less than 125,000).

    Appropriates $663,579 in recurring funds for 2021-22 from the General Fund to the Department of Justice to be allocated to the Program for continued recruitment of qualified in-state high school seniors or unemployed/underemployed graduates and to provide them with a forgivable community college loan. Effective July 1, 2021.

    Part II.

    Amends GS 150B-1 to exempt from rule-making: (1) the Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission with respect to establishing minimum standards for in-service training for criminal justice officers and (2) the Sheriffs' Education and Training Standards Commission with respect to establishing minimum standards for in-service training for justice officers.

    Part III.

    Amends GS 15A-401(d)(2), which sets out when a law-enforcement officer is justified in using deadly physical force, by making the following changes. Adds that the use of deadly force includes strangleholds, chokeholds, lateral vascular neck restraints, carotid restraints, or any other tactics that restrict oxygen or blood flow to the head or neck. Adds that a law-enforcement officer who witnesses another law-enforcement officer using excessive force that is not justified or is otherwise abusing a suspect or arrestee has a duty to intervene and to report the use of excessive force or the abuse. Prohibits retaliating against a law enforcement officer that submits such a report. Requires in all circumstances in which a law-enforcement officer uses force of any kind, that a law-enforcement officer use the minimum amount of force reasonably necessary to accomplish the law-enforcement action and attempt to use de-escalation tactics.

    Enacts new GS 20-196.6 requiring every State Trooper to have a first aid kit and perform the following when a person in a State Trooper's custody is injured or complains of an injury: (1) render immediate, reasonable medical assistance when it is safe to do so and (2) contact emergency medical services when appropriate. 

    Enacts new GS 20-196.7 to require the State Highway Patrol to develop and implement a use of force intervention system to document and track State Trooper actions, behaviors, and citizen complaints on use of force that will help the State Highway Patrol manage personnel by intervening to correct performance. Requires the system to, at a minimum, identify State Troopers who receive two or more citizen complaints of any kind in a single month as well as those who report two or more use of force incidents, or who receive two or more citizen complaints regarding the use of force, in a single quarter. Defines use of force to include include actions taken by law enforcement officers of which the Department of Justice requires data reporting pursuant to GS 114-2.7A (enacted in this act and described below); until it is determined what is to be reported under that statue, use of force encompasses the actions in GS 143B-919(b1)(enacted in this act and described below).

    Enacts new GS 20-196.8 requiring the State Highway Patrol to report to the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) State Trooper use of force information requested by the Department of Justice (DOJ) under new GS 114-2.7A (enacted in this act and described below).

    Enacts new GS 20-196.9 requiring the State Highway Patrol to report to the SBI information requested under new GS 143B-929A (enacted in this act and described below) to be included in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Record of Arrest and Prosecution Background (Rap Back) Service. Failure to report makes the State Highway Patrol ineligible for funding from either the Governor's Crime Commission or the Governor's Highway Safety Program.

    Enacts new GS 20-196.10 requiring the State Highway Patrol to use and submit all available data to the National Incident-Based Reporting System, which must be made available to the public on the State Highway Patrol's website.

    Enacts new GS 20-196.11 requiring State Troopers to use body-worn and dashboard cameras in all interactions with members of the public, including, but not limited to: traffic stops, pursuits, arrests, searches, interrogations not covered under GS 15A-211, interviews with victims and witnesses, and  interactions with inmates of a State correctional facility or local confinement facility. Specifies that this does not apply during undercover operations.

    Enacts new GS 74E-10.1 through GS 74E-10.6 enacting the same provisions, applicable to a company police agency. Amends the specified instances in which body-worn and dashboard cameras are to be used to include arrests, searches, interrogations not covered under GS 15A-211, and interviews with victims and witnesses.

    Enacts new GS 74G-10.1 through GS 74G-10.6 enacting the same provisions, applicable to a campus police agency. Amends the specified instances in which body-worn and dashboard cameras are to be used by including all interactions listed for State Troopers except interactions with inmates of a State correctional facility or local confinement facility.

    Enacts new GS 143B-927.1 through GS 143B-927.5 enacting the same provisions, applicable to the SBI, with the following changes. Requires the SBI to make publicly available law enforcement officer use of force information requested by the Department of Justice pursuant to GS 114-2.7A (other entities in the Part have been required to report such information to the SBI). Enacts new GS 143B-929A requiring the SBI, in consultation with the Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission and the Sheriffs' Education and Training Standards Commission (collectively, Commissions), to participate in the Rap Back Service by submitting requested or necessary information regarding all sworn law enforcement officers with the power to arrest in the state. Requires the Commissions to create a publicly accessible database of law enforcement officers with adverse actions required to be reported to the federal Rap Back Service. Requires all of the law enforcement agencies in the state to provide the SBI information requested under this statute.

    Enacts new GS 153A-213 through GS 153A-213.5 enacting the same provisions, applicable to county law enforcement officers, with the following changes. Requires a county, before hiring a county law enforcement officer, to request and review Rap Back Service information from the SBI regarding the applicant.

    Enacts new GS 160A-290 through GS 160A-290.5, applicable to city law enforcement officers, with the following changes. Requires a city, before hiring a city law enforcement officer, to request and review Rap Back Service information from the SBI regarding the applicant.

    Effective October 1, 2021.

    Part IV.

    Amends GS 143B-919 by adding the follow. Requires the SBI to investigate and prepare evidence in the event the following officer-involved use of force incidents related to the actions of a sworn law enforcement officer of the State or any local subdivision of the State: (1) an officer discharges the officer's firearm in the performance of the officer's duties; (2) an officer uses force in the performance of the officer's duties that results in the death of a person; (3) an officer is alleged to have sexually assaulted a person in the performance of the officer's duties; (4) an officer is alleged to have committed an act of domestic violence; or (5) a person dies while in the officer's custody. Requires an independent entity to conduct the investigation involving employee of the SBI. Requires reporting an incident that is required to be investigated within 24 hours; makes a law enforcement agency that fails to report ineligible for funds from the Governor's Crime Commission and the Governor's Highway Safety Program until the required report is delivered to the SBI. Repeated failure to report will result in ineligibility for those funds for two years. Requires prosecutions under these provisions to be performed by a Special Prosecutor. Effective October 1, 2021.

    Part V.

    Enacts new GS 114-2.7A requiring DOJ, in consultation with the Department of Public Safety, the North Carolina Sheriffs' Association, and the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police, to develop a uniform definition of law enforcement officer use of force and determine a standard set of data on use of force to be regularly reported to the SBI. Requires all law enforcement agencies in the State to provide the SBI with the information DOJ requires. Requires the SBI to make the information collected on use of force publicly available.

    Enacts new GS 114-2.7B. requires all law enforcement agencies in the State to use and submit all available data to the National Incident-Based Reporting System. Requires this data to be publicly available on the law enforcement agency's website.

    Enacts new GS 114-2.7C requires all sworn law enforcement officers with the power of arrest to use body-worn and dashboard cameras in all interactions with members of the public, including, but not limited to: traffic stops; pursuits; arrests; searches; interrogations not covered under GS 15A-211; interviews with victims and witnesses; and interactions with inmates of a State correctional facility or local confinement facility. Specifies this does not apply during undercover operations. Gives the law enforcement entities until October 1, 2022, to comply with this section.

    Effective October 1, 2021.

    Part VI.

    Amends GS 15A-242 by making clarifying changes.

    Amends GS 15A-244 by adding in new (b) that for an officer to be able to break and enter any premises or vehicle in the execution of a search warrant pursuant to GS 15A-251(b) (when the officer has probable cause to believe that the giving of  notice would endanger the life or safety of any person) the application for a search warrant must contain, in addition to the already required elements:(1) a statement that there is probable cause to believe that the giving notice of the execution of the search warrant would endanger the life or safety of any person; (2) allegations of fact particularly setting forth the facts and circumstances establishing probable cause to believe that the giving of notice of the would cause such endangerment. Makes additional clarifying changes.

    Amends GS 15A-251 by amending the one of the two circumstances under which an officer may break and enter any premises or vehicle when necessary to execute a warrant, to include when the warrant includes the statement and allegations of fact required by GS 15A-244(b) (was, when the officer has probable cause to believe that the giving of notice would endanger the life or safety of any person). 

    Makes clarifying changes to the following statutes and makes language gender neutral: GS 15A-245, GS 15A-246, GS 15A-247, GS 15A-249, GS 15A-253, GS 15A-254, and GS 15A-255. 

    Effective October 1, 2021.

    Part VII.

    Amends GS 132-1.4A to require, upon request, that a custodial law enforcement agency disclose a recording to a citizens' review board in a closed session with each review board member having signed a confidentiality agreement. Knowing violations o f the confidentiality agreement are a Class 1 misdemeanor. Requires a a custodial law enforcement agency to release a recording involving a critical incident, upon request, after 45 days have passed from the date of the recording, unless a court finds that release would compromise the integrity of a criminal investigation. Defines a critical incident as an incident involving either (1) the discharge of a law enforcement officer's firearm in the performance of duty when interacting with the public or (2) the use of force by a law enforcement officer that results in death or serious bodily injury. Allows the agency to seek a court order restricting release of the recording; requires the court to restrict the release of only those portions of the recording that are relevant to protecting the integrity of a criminal investigation. Gives the following persons an opportunity to be heard at any proceeding: (1) the head of the custodial law enforcement agency, (2) any law enforcement agency personnel whose image or voice is in the recording and the head of that person's employing law enforcement agency, and (3) the District Attorney. Effective October 1, 2021.

    Part VIII.

    Appropriates $134,540 in recurring funds for each year of the 2021-23 fiscal biennium from the General Fund to the Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission to hire one full-time program manager to continue the development and implementation of the North Carolina Law Enforcement Accreditation Program (Program). Makes the same appropriation to the Sheriffs' Education and Training Standards Commission to continue the development and implementation of the same Program. Makes law enforcement agencies in the State that fail to become accredited under the Program ineligible for funds from the Governor's Crime Commission or the Governor's Highway Safety Program. Requires the Program to require accredited agencies to have written policies on each of the following: use of force, chokeholds, duty to intervene and report, vehicle pursuits, early warning systems, field training programs, and professional standards and conduct. Effective July 1, 2021.

    Part IX.

    Appropriates $500,000 from the General Fund to the Department of Justice in recurring funds for each year of the 2021-2023 fiscal biennium for grants to organizations that provide and promote: (1) peaceful strategies to help communities promote public safety; (2) violence prevention programs that treat violence as a public health program; and (3) services such as mediation, mentoring, job training, and counseling to vulnerable populations. Effective July 1, 2021.

    Part X.

    Directs UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government (SOG) to study (1) which Class 3 misdemeanor offenses have a low impact on public safety, (2) whether the offenses should be reclassified as infractions, and (3) whether low-level traffic offenses should be moved to the Administrative Code and enforced as civil violations by the Division of Motor Vehicles or the Department of Public Safety. Requires consultation with the NC Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission. Requires SOG to report to the specified NCGA committee by March 7, 2022. 

    Part XI.

    Appropriates $4.2 million in recurring funds from the General Fund for each fiscal year of 2021-23 to AOC to be used to support the NC Drug Treatment Court Program in creating and sustaining local drug treatment court programs.

    Appropriates $4.2 million in recurring funds from the General Fund for each fiscal year of 2021-23 to AOC to be used to facilitate the creation and funding of new and existing mental health court programs to recommend mental health treatment plans for individuals served by the programs and monitor the progress of the individuals receiving treatment while remining in the program.

    Effective July 1, 2021. 

    Part XII.

    Enacts GS 115C-105.70, defining school resource officer (SRO) as any law enforcement officer assigned to one or more public schools within a public school unit for at least 20 hours per week for more than 12 weeks per calendar year. Provides that SROs are to assist with school safety, school security, emergency preparedness, emergency response, and any other related and assigned responsibilities, consistent with any written memorandum of understanding between the public school unity and the law enforcement agency governing the SRO. Directs the NC Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission and the NC Sheriffs’ Education and Training Standards Commission (Commissions) to establish initial training and continuing education standards for SROs, in collaboration with the Center for Safer Schools. Requires training on mental health, students with disabilities, racial equity, and crises intervention and de-escalation. Directs SROs to comply with the established training standards within one year of assignment, and requires all SROs to comply with the established continuing education requirements. Applies to SROs assigned on or after January 1, 2022.

    Makes conforming changes to each Commission’s duties set forth in GS 17C-6 and 17E-4 to include the duty to establish training and continuing education standards for SROs. Requires the Commissions to establish initial training standards by January 15, 2022.

    Requires all SROs assigned before January 1, 2022, to complete initial training by December 31, 2022.

    Enacts GS 7B-1802A, requiring an SRO to obtain the signature of a school administrator or school social worker for school-based complaints alleging delinquency initiated prior to referring the complaint to a juvenile court counselor or filing the complaint. Defines school-based complaint as a complaint in which delinquency is alleged to have occurred on school grounds, school property, at a school bus stop, or at an off-campus school-sanctioned event, or whose victim is identified as a school. Requires all school administrators, SROs and school social workers to be trained regarding these provisions. Applies to school-based complaints initiated on or after January 1, 2022, by a SRO.

    Part XIII.

    Enacts GS 20-24.1(g) to require the Division of Motor Vehicles (Division) to restore a license 12 months after the effective date of revocation pursuant to subsection (a) for either failing to appear at trial or a hearing or to pay court-ordered fines, penalties or other court costs for motor vehicle offenses; excludes revocation orders entered resulting from a charge of impaired driving. Repeals existing subsection (f), which permits application to a court for a limited driving privilege valid for up to one year for licenses revoked due to failure to pay court-ordered fines, penalties, or other court costs for motor vehicle offenses. Makes conforming and clarifying changes. Makes language gender neutral.

    Adds to GS 20-7 to authorize the Division to waive license restoration fees and other service fees if the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles finds that the license holder has shown good cause for not being able to pay the fine.

    Directs the Division to automatically restore any drivers licensed suspended for failure to pay after 12 months, except for offenses involving impaired driving.

    Effective October 1, 2021.

    Part XIV.

    Directs the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to automatically enroll all criminal defendants into its court date reminder system. Requires criminal defendants to be allowed to opt out of the automatic enrollment by using a process developed by AOC, which must be developed and implemented by December 1, 2021. Effective December 1, 2021, and applies to criminal defendants arrested on or after that court date.

    Enacts GS 15A-306 to require persons who fail to appear as required by a citation or other criminal process served pursuant to the Article to have 20 calendar days from the missed court date to contact the clerk of superior court to request a new court date. Mandates that such action requires the clerk to strike the person's failure to appear and any order for arrest or fines related to the failure to appear, and the clerk to provide a new court date in the case. Limits new court dates in criminal cases pursuant to these provisions to one. Effective October 1, 2021, and applies to failures to appear in court on or after that date.

    Part XV.

    Revises and expands the qualifications for indigent defense under GS 7A-451. Now provides for indigent defense in any case in which (1) a felony or misdemeanor is charged (was, limited to cases in which imprisonment, or a fine of $500 or more, is likely to be adjudged) or (2) for motions for appropriate relief if appointment of counsel is authorized by law and the defendant has been convicted of a felony, has been fined $200 (was, $500) or more, or has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment, among other existing eligibility criteria. Effective October 1, 2021.

    Appropriates $1.18 million in recurring funds from the General Fund to the Office of Indigent Defense Services, Private Assigned Counsel Fund, for each fiscal year of 2021-23 to fund the increased need of appointed counsel due to the expansion of eligibility. Effective July 1, 2021.

    Part XVI. 

    Revises Article 1 of GS Chapter 9 regarding preparation of jury lists and drawing of panels as follows.

    Amends GS 9-2 to require the jury commission to annually prepare a master list of qualified prospective jurors to serve on January 1 of the next year (previously provided for biennium lists, or upon request of the senior resident superior court judge, annually). Makes conforming changes.

    Makes a clarifying change to GS 9-4 to refer to the clerk of superior court's duty to maintain the master jury list.

    Makes conforming changes to GS 20-43.4 regarding the list of currently licensed drivers that must be provided by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles (Commissioner) to each county jury commission, now annually. Now requires the list to include the driver's race. Enacts subsection (b1) to require the raw data of date of birth, sex, and race to be used to develop the list provided by the Commissioner to be made available for analysis by clerks of court, jury commissions, and the public. Makes conforming changes.

    Further amends GS 9-2, enacting subsection (l) to require the data of date of birth, sex, and race to be compiled by each county as public records for master jury lists, lists of jurors summoned, lists of jurors that have served, lists of jurors that have been excused, lists of jurors that have been disqualified, and lists of jurors whose service has been deferred. Applies to lists prepared on or after October 1, 2021.

    Part XVII.

    Contains a severability clause.


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