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Carolina Journal Radio No. 828: East Carolina chancellor announces resignation plan

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai
The Truth Network Radio
April 1, 2019 12:00 am

Carolina Journal Radio No. 828: East Carolina chancellor announces resignation plan

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai

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April 1, 2019 12:00 am

After months of controversy involving his job status, East Carolina University Chancellor Cecil Staton has announced his resignation. He’ll collect a severance package of nearly $600,000. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes Staton’s decision and the implications for the University of North Carolina System’s Board of Governors. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that unions representing state government workers couldn’t force nonmembers to pay union dues. The winning plaintiff in that case, Mark Janus, continues his fight against forced unionization. Now a senior fellow with the Liberty Justice Center, Janus recently visited North Carolina to discuss his case and its aftermath. Some state lawmakers want to change North Carolina’s rules governing liquor sales. Carol Shaw of the General Assembly’s Program Evaluation Division recently offered some recommendations for how to proceed with reforms. Economic freedom, not socialism, offers the path toward wealthier, health societies. Southern Methodist University economist Robert Lawson delivered that message during a recent speech at Duke University. Lawson shared highlights from an annual report on economic freedom in countries around the world. North Carolina’s haphazard collection of criminal laws creates a losing proposition for N.C. taxpayers. Mike Schietzelt, criminal justice fellow at the John Locke Foundation, explains how taxpayers would benefit from a complete overhaul of the state’s criminal code.


From chair to current attack from the largest city to the smallest and from the statehouse into the schoolhouse Carolina Journal radio your weekly news magazine discussing North Carolina's most public policy events and issues welcome to Carolina Journal radio on co-guy during the next hour Donna Martinez that I will explore some major issues affecting our state.

The man who won a recent US Supreme Court case on forced unionization of government workers recently visited North Carolina or why he's taking his story to states across the country. Some state lawmakers want to change rules involving liquor sales. They heard recommendations recently from their program evaluation team economic freedom, not socialism offers the best path to wealthier and healthier societies freedom expert delivered that message recently at Duke University will learn by North Carolina's haphazard collection of criminal laws creates a losing proposition for taxpayers. Those topics are just ahead. First, Donna Martinez joins us with the Carolina Journal headline Carolina Journal was the first to report that East Carolina University Chancellor Cecil Stayton will leave his job.

The departure of Stayton comes after months of behind the scenes clashes among members of the UNC Board of Governors and the ECU Board of Trustees Rick Henderson is editor-in-chief of Carolina Journal. He joins us now to talk about this fascinating story Rick, welcome back to the shell thanks to personal congratulations to Carolina Journal and reporter Carrie Travis, in particular for really being on this story, from the very beginning, having great sources here right though. She's a really good job and has a really good job developing sources funny all information other people couldn't get into it. First, Cecil Stayton, Chancellor of East Carolina University, was he fired or is he leaving by his own accord. Well, technically he is residing, but he also said that one of the federal press conference that he did not initiate the talks that led to his departure, so read between the lines or if you will. In other words, it was his interest apparently to stay, but various negotiations have been going on. He admitted for the first some months because there's been some controversy about whether or not he was going to leave at the end of last year and of pushback from a number of people including all the records are Chancellor Satan himself, but then when asked directly about this is press conference was really the truth of the thought that he might've left for the end of last year so I check my notes about the B of the discussions going on for long time.

What is the issue here is it performance related. Is there some personality clash.

It's related to the relationship that he has largely with the chairman of the UNC Board of Governors who is Harry Smith is an alumnus of East Carolina Green will businessman who has taken a very active interest in the day-to-day affairs of East Carolina special since he became a chairman of the board of governors last year and it's originated from situation. The that Cecil Stayton inherited essentially which Harry Smith was looking into purchasing some apartments that were located about 3 miles off the Greenville campus and turning them into student housing and the only way that this operation was going to work according to the CFO of East Carolina would be to make forced students to live here because otherwise there would be enough revenue available to make debt service worth handling and when this information came to Chancellor Satan Chancellor's legacy in the CFO decided to reject it, and that didn't make carries with very happy because he wanted that to happen and is not really clear if he had a financial interest in that or not but it was like cupping said note has Carolina journals reporters Carrie Travis or or otherwise. Sam asked chairman Harry Smith about this issue when first of all, does this issue really existed.

Secondly does have anything to do with disagreements with the ECU Chancellor. Well, it we've asked him about this.

This was originally reported by W oriole nuisance been followed up by the reflector and we found out about it after the fact, if you will.

We asked him directly about a number of these issues. For the most part his answer has been, everything is fine and well, East Carolina world will be happy family and people should try to undermine our Chancellor and everything is fine and no there was no really threat addressed that directly buddies basically said no. All's well just do a great job.

I guess, except when he isn't I can figure this Chancellor Stayton have the support of the ECU Board of Trustees.

Yes, you got these heads is the support of these you Board of Trustees, several of whose members are leaving in July. Their terms are up there on four-year terms that started odd-numbered years. July 1. So several members leaving. He has the support of Karen Shanahan who is the chairman outgoing Chairman Board of Trustees who is not going to serve another term has the also the support of businessman Kel Norman who is going is leaving after the at the end of this term. In July and told Carolina Journal that as long as Harry Smith this year were the UNC Board of Governors. He has no interest in getting serve on the Board of Trustees.

There was at least one very vocal member of the UNC board of governors who did not agree with the departure of Cecil Stayton from ECU that member's name Steve Long Carolina reported on a statement that Steve Long made but then a few days later there was a board of governors meeting in the western part of the state. I bring this up to date on that whole situation. Steve Long is a real problem. Raleigh attorney and has been a supporter Cecil Stayton from the very beginning and Steve Long issued a statement of several pages in which he essentially said Harry Smith is toxic to the University North Carolina community. He should be removed from office is at least as chairman of the board and that there is been constant harassment by by very Smith of the previous UNC Pres. Margaret spellings and making her situation untenable and also that the basically Perry Smith needs to go now. That statement was issued about four days before the board of governors that Appalachian State University and on the day of the meeting with the general board meeting opened on from that Friday morning. Steve Long got briefly said, I apologize for the statement that I made. He didn't retract any of it. He just basically said he shouldn't have said what he said in the way he said it like that Rick was there any sense at the board of governors meeting any responses. I would suspect that they were asked about the departure of Cecil Stayton and these ancillary issues about whether or not they're getting along behind-the-scenes out. What did the members of the board of governors say well the president of the University president, Dr. Bill Roper thanks Satan for his service.

Didn't the city would not address it further and then when press availability occurred after the meeting, a Carrie Travis was there, as was Lindsay Marcello. Both pressed Carolina charger and pressed Pres. Grover and Chairman Smith about the Stayton situation, and when Carrie asked directly did it was Cecil Stayton forced out of office is any truth to the stories present.

Roper said if I have to have a quote correct. I am not legally obligated to answer that question my is also taken the fifth that that's really fascinating because Sam there has been some scuttlebutt around the state and some people wondering on radio talk shows in Collins, etc. wondering what Cecil Stayton be the first to go in and in fact we have seen the departure of several high profile people on Carol fold from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Now she's been named head of USC and California Margaret spellings you mentioned who was president of the system.

Is this a pattern, Rick. Are these just individual circumstances will their different circumstances for each of the situation with present spelling stories bit of a mystery because she was able to stay on long enough to collect a bonus winter when Schuetz was satisfied three years of being on the job. She got higher severance package with the situation with the with Carol fold resulted from or handling or some some ice and mishandling of silent same situations that's kind of a different situation and affect the Smith of the board of governors largely supported Carol fold situation. Even though she did eventually leave and the situation will Stayton again his relationships involving rainfall but it's it's difficult to say right now. What's going on the ferment that's there with the new president, Bill Roper, whose head of was the head of UNC healthcare and was planning to retire in May, he doesn't soon be going anywhere ice anytime soon so we know how this is going play out. In fact, I know that Carolina Journal will continue to follow-up all the different angles of this story, so that means folks you can look at Carolina. for the very latest on this.

Also if you're on Twitter, you can follow Carolina Journal at Carolina Journal Rick Henderson is editor-in-chief are also on Twitter follow you at a regular mechanics and thank you thank you stay with us much more Carolina Journal radio to come in just a moment government plays a key role in your life affecting your paycheck the way you educate your kids the way you do business. How can you tell if government is doing a good job making the right choices. Spending tax dollars wisely. Carolina tackles those questions every day. The John Locke foundation publishes Carolina Journal imprint each month and on the web each day at Carolina. you'll find exclusive investigative reports on topics. No one else is covering what else a rundown of the best news stories, editorials and opinion columns in North Carolina. John Hood's daily Journal news stories and important public and the voices of the newsmakers themselves at Carolina Journal radio imprint on the air and on the web.

You can find the information you welcome back to Carolina Journal radio. I mixed coca. The US Supreme Court decided last year that a government worker can't be forced to pay dues to a union if he is not a member of that union is that the end of the story well the winning plaintiff in that case joins us now to help answer that question mark.

Janice is now a senior fellow at the liberty Justice Center.

Thanks for joining us all thank you for having me appreciate it when you won this case though you were not at the liberty Justice Center. You will Republic employee in Illinois tell us when you won this case, what is that mean well it it meant that a proximally 5 1/2 million public sector workers now had a voice and a choice to decide their own fate if you will as to whether they want to be a member of the union are not prior to this ruling many, many public sector union people. They were forced to pay an agency fee or a what they call a fair share fee depending on where they were located and which meant they had to contribute in the neighborhood of 80% towards you know the full full share dues of a union member. However, even though they pay only paid 80% roughly they didn't have a choice in a vote. You know the couldn't decide anything, you know, and in the way the unions were voting and decided their fate and because they were mandatory in so many areas like in the state of Illinois. They just you were forced into paying this and they just didn't have a choice for voice and anything we're case went all the way to the Supreme Court.

You won the case, so now it's overripe public sector workers don't have to worry about unions taken their dues if they don't want to be members correct well yes and no. In many cases, such as the state of Illinois, for example, on the day of the decision.

Our governor around her issued an executive order that stopped all agency your fair share fees on that day and that became automatic. However, in other states wasn't quite that easy.

There was some pushback there were some different states and different attorney generals that read the opinion different ways and interpreted in different ways and they kept charging. You know, until there was some kind of further discussion or resolution or litigation, and in many cases and at the same time the unions were doing a major pushback in the fact that they felt that you know there their rights were being violated, which I found very interesting because they were the ones that mandated these fees and force them upon all these workers and you know the workers didn't have a choice and now the Jews on the other foot and all of a sudden they're all up in arms about, so to speak. While I was kind asking that question with a bit of a tongue-in-cheek because I know that one of the issues that that that you continue to talk about is the fact that unions are taking this ruling lined out there fighting back over there fighting back, and in lots of different ways there providing just up Leflore of misinformation to their members you know and or public sector workers. In general, saying that, well, you know, if you don't mind a member of our union.

You know, you could lose your pension will that's totally false because the pensions are mostly administered by the employer or the government entity and so that's not correct there saying that you could leave, you lose your health benefits. Well, that's false because again the employer provides health benefits. They also say you could lose your wages will how you lose wages because you got a contract that says that you're going to get paid a certain amount of money based on that contract and the thing you have to remember is that many of these public sector unions across the country.

They wanted this all-inclusive collective bargaining whether a union member or not.

And like in the state of Illinois. They got it legislatively passed quite a few years ago. Things like 1990, which mandated that the unions collectively bargain for everybody where there union member, not in what's interesting is several years ago Illinois policy advocated legislation that took away that all-inclusive and said look, if you want to negotiate for the nonmembers. You don't have to just negotiate only for your full share members and union oppose that legislation, which I find interesting because now that we have this ruling, you know there now in the process of of rethinking this but they still seem to want to continue their monopolistic ways.

That is the voice of Mark Janice who is a senior fellow at the liberty Justice Center and if his name sounds familiar, that's because he was the winning plaintiff in this US Supreme Court case decided last year dealing with government workers and whether they can be forced to pay union dues after you and your colleagues one this case.

Were you surprised that the unions have adopted these additional tactics. Well not really, because during the. The initial filing of the case in 2015 and the fact that there were some previous cases such as Friedrichs versus California teachers, which was originated on California and that case was actually a parallel and very very similar to my case it was so resulted in a four for time because just as Clea passed away and so therefore our case then became the next one in line if you will. And what was very very interesting is that the unions had approximately three years to prepare for this, which they did by putting out mountains of propaganda going to their state legislatures and getting laws passed, you know, to try to circumvent and were seen today. There still legislation being passed in various states across country where the unions are sir trying to circumvent the ruling. For example, you know they say they no longer: agency fee or a fair share fee. Now they're saying that well yes you can get out of the union, but you owe us a service fee so they're just changing the name for the same thing that they had before now have to ask because you spent several years in court fighting this you one so that the Supreme Court said that you were the victor in that case you could've just said okay I'm done I buy one and thank you and I'm good to go on my merry way. Why did you decide to continue to work on this issue. Well, mainly because I saw that the large amount of pushback that the units were putting out there.

The massive amounts of misinformation and the fact that I saw workers that even though we had this decision were not allowed to exercise their First Amendment rights.

Their freedom of speech and freedom of association and the fact that the unions were not letting people get out if you will, if that's what they chose to do and I want to emphasize that, you know, this case is not about putting unions out of business. It's not about ending collective bargaining at all.

It's mainly giving workers the choice to make their own decision which they have not had in the past and it's all this case does you know, if you choose to be a member of the union and want to pay the fee or the dues. God bless you. Go ahead, that's your decision but you should also have the right and the ability to choose not to.

Just like we do with everyday life in our day-to-day in a work environment or home environment. This story is far from over.

Do you think at one point, we will get to the state where a government worker will have that choice everywhere across the country only think so. It it's going to take several years. I mean it's it's like a lot of other Supreme Court decisions that have come down the pike, so to speak where people you know the they resisted initially but then eventually they fall in line because quite frankly there's a lot of litigation out there at liberty Justice Center know who I represent network for we have cases filed all over the country. We have California and New Mexico Hawaii and more and more every day. That is the voice of Mark Janice, a senior fellow at the liberty Justice Center. Thanks much. Thank you. Appreciate the opportunity on Carolina journal radio just if you have freedom we got great news to share with you now. You can find the latest news, views, and research from conservative groups across North Carolina all in one place North Carolina

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It's that easy. So now not only will you enjoy what you buy will also support freedom. Don't forget log on to today by something nice and help defend freedom. Support the John Locke foundation. Welcome back Carolina journal radio amateur coca. Some North Carolina lawmakers want to change the way the state regulates liquor sales Gen. assembly's program evaluation division recently offered them ideas evaluator Carol Shaw suggested that privatization would require further study only decides to change how North Carolina regulates liquor sales.

The program evaluation division will recommend appointing a joint legislative commission to determine how state and local government roles in regulating liquor sales would change if lawmakers don't want to proceed with a major move toward privatization. If the general family decides not to pursue changing North Carolina system.

The program evaluation division makes the following seven recommendations to further modernize the current system for our first recommendation is to increase profitability and efficiency of the ABC system.

The general simile should direct local ABC board located in counties with two or more boards to consolidate ABC operations and establish a merged ABC board PD suggested that that you would mandate that all mergers be complete no later than June 30, 2021 recommendation to to improve services for their customers and reduce the administrative burden on ABC board. The general simile should eliminate the purchase, transportation permit requirement for liquor that already exist in state law. Recommendation three. The general simile should direct the ABC commission to report on the process for obtaining a new contract for the receipt, storage, and distribution of liquor by an independent contractor recommendation for to increase the availability of special order liquor products for retail and mixed beverage permittees. The general simile should direct the ABC commission to allow ABC stores the flexibility to provide less than a full case a product to special order customers and sell the writing remaining product in the ABC store. In addition, ABC commission should also receive authorization to charge an administrative fee to cover the cost. Recommendation five to improve services for mixed beverage permittees. The general simile should modify existing state law to chart to allow local ABC boards to charge a fee delivery fee for mixed beverage permit recommendation six. The general simile should consider act enacting state law that would allow local governments the option to open ABC stores on Sunday. Recommendation seven is to it. General simile should enact state law to allow in-store liquor product tastings and ABC stores in accordance with the part permit requirements that already exist in state law that's Carol Shaw. She works for the North Carolina Gen. assembly's program evaluation division. She's offering state lawmakers ideas for modernizing the states system for regulating liquor sales will return with more Carolina journal radio development where doubling down on freedom at Carolina journal radio were proud to bring you stories that impact your life and your wallet.

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Welcome back Carolina journal radio amateur coca how much economic freedom. Do people enjoy across the world today Duke University audience recently learned the answer to that question they heard from Southern Methodist University economist Robert Lawson helps compile an index of worldwide economic freedom.

Hong Kong is the number one on our index every year since we been doing the data back in 1974, Hong Kong, and it's always been number one it's always been around a 9/10 are still, it's certainly not an Adam Smith or Murray Rothbard. No level of perfect perfect capitalism, but it's as good as anywhere we can measure is on this or I didn't really need to do this and this.

If you know anything about Hong Kong you probably knew this anyway so the top tax rate in Hong Kong is 15% top income tax rate.

If you're a billionaire in Hong Kong, you pay 50 7015 is the top rate in Hong Kong. There are no property right problems of the greatest court systems in the world. A lot of commercial contractors may moonshiner settled in Hong Kong because the court sufficient inflation problems. There are no terrorists or quarters into our Hong Kong complete absolute free-trade is actually what and it takes 30 days to start a business in the other states. It takes one day according to World Bank circuits and business so Hong Kong was his number one starting a close call. If this index if I put all these numbers in the computer and any other country, first accept Hong Kong. We would've known we botch the whole project. So thankfully Hong Kong is number one. Lawson discussed some other top performers. Singapore is number two in more or less everything I said about Hong Kong Hong Kong history of Singapore. Both of these countries do highlight an important aspect of our project. This is not an economic this is an economic freedom is not an index of political liberties or civil liberties.

Neither of these countries are perfectly good examples of social Singapore of political liberals. We are like little liberalism. I think I'm using some of the rules and right now hearing this talk I like civil liberties. This index, though there are other indexes of celebrities and so when we started this project.

The gap that we saw was no one was trying to measure the economic aspects the more mundane aspect of can I start a business, hire worker can import this product. These kinds of freedoms were not given been given a test that we were giving to things like freedom of speech about freedom to speak your mind and worship the God of your choice for so Singapore really little bit weird because there are great examples of good. As we found on earth of economic freedom, but they're not the best examples. Especially Singapore not the best political freedom or civil liberties.

How about some of the other top countries pretty well on the index.

There also are pretty much our liberal democracies over was are countries that are both market economies. I don't use our free market economies with their freakish market economies, and there also doing sound liberal democracies with freedom of speech and religion. Nothing is perfect in this world are offered. George is the one weirdo is a former Soviet republic. As you know it is risen in the ranks all the top 10 Georgia been there at least 15 times of awestruck in August and nourishes little island trading island in the middle of the ocean, mostly popular by by South Asians, but part so anyway so mostly course, most are economically liberal are also politically liberal, but is not perfect correlation by means. That's economist Robert Lawson of Southern Methodist University, speaking recently at Duke. How about some other countries like the United States top economic competitor China hundred and 802 is not very good. We don't. I don't begin accurate to call China as a whole free market country.

Although I would call send you a free market city so so so China's got is this weird thing to me there is there is about as much variation in economic freedom inside of China there is in the whole world will affect resource Venezuela there 2.88 I believe.

2.8 is the lowest score on the economic freedom index ever recorded by any country ever even like Zimbabwe don't think got down that low you might be surprised to learn that Scandinavian countries score relatively well in an economic freedom index.

One of the things we we I think we've learned.

And maybe you do this before, but now we have a little bit better basis for understanding is the northern European soaps, social welfare, to mark social Democratic countries are in fact have a lot of economic freedom. They are all in the top 25% or maybe just just just outside of Sweden and most of Europe is in fact very marketing thing about what's it like to live in Stockholm it's private cars and private businesses in prices of products are unregulated. They export freely mobile all around the world is a market economy is not a socialist economy and taxes that brings it down on the index at five. That's why they're not as high as they Hong Kong or Singapore. The US even parts of there there there market economies. If you want to see the socialist economies you go to when you go to Argentina, Brazil, where is you are part of Africa. You'll see that's actual operating social governments running our prices as well is current standardbearer there so the index is is it allows us to unlearn some of the things we may make some people think social Sweden to say no socialism is is Venezuela, says the index also offers interesting evidence about the impact of economic freedom in the nations that once made up the communist Soviet Union. We started doing this index right at the same time. So when you respond part of the spheres to get their numbers in either naval with the index to track how different pieces of the old Soviet Union and the white and Eastern Bloc hollows bits and pieces that draw out what they've done since then. Jordan Jordan in Armenia. They run pretty headlong toward markets.

Georgia now ranking six is also the ball when you are all blue. These are Soviet republics, 20 years ago and today there there in the top 25% getting in case of Georgia getting a number that's comparable to that of the United States.

That's an impressive thing so we we witness this huge move for in these countries from Soviet communism to Marx took the capitalism of some sort or another, and that's the numbers are tracking that hasn't happened everywhere, Ukraine and Belarus Belarus this year they were. They were like North Korea. I just got the numbers from dollars vision very happy.

There is a great blog little Belarus and Ukraine about red. What are they direct the Soviet Union fell apart to change the letterhead on the country and that was it. Send I was ran things not it'll have concentration camps. That's a plus but if these countries are not liberalizing much worldwide numbers are looking better yet was a world getting better. But Lord is getting better because the bottoms is moving a lot of liberalization in Africa a lot of reductions in tariffs a lot of improvements fiscal policy monitor policy even even Zimbabwe has no longer has hyperinflation opened is any hyperinflation in the world will also monitor systems in Africa stabilize.

That's Robert Lawson, economist at Southern Methodist University. He spoke recently at Duke, highlighting the latest report on economic freedom around the world will return with North Carolina drought radio.

What about commitment to truth and transparency in government. That is the mission of Carolina journal and we are proud to deliver and now proud to tell you the North Carolina press Association has honored to members of our team with awards reporting and writing, that's right, we really do deliver award-winning journalism we shine the light on government spending, reveal the truth about boondoggles and dig deep into programs paid for with your tax money. We keep you in the know in a way other media outlets don't in our reach and influence are growing all of our outlets. We reach more than 1 million N. Carolinians each month so make sure you're one of them. Our monthly print edition arrives in your mailbox every month. Online daily news site Carolina has fresh stories, opinion pieces, and more. The award-winning Carolina journal team I reporters make government accountable to you. Call 1866 JL FINF0 for your free subscription to Carolina journal radio I'm Donna Martinez in North Carolina.

It is a class I felony to discard later.

That is a hazardous waste. Sounds simple enough right, but what if you don't know what you are discarding is defined as hazardous recent North Carolina Ct. case shine the light on this question of ambiguity in the states criminal code and the larger issue of the need to catalog, organize, and clarify the statutes Mike sheets out is a criminal justice fellow with the John lock foundation. He's been studying all of this joins us to talk a little bit more about it Mike looking to Carolina to radio so what is the criminal code for someone like me who's not an attorney. When I hear the word criminal. I think rape, robbery, murder, things like that but it's not exactly. That is, no, it's the criminal code in North Carolina is in a sentence. It's everything that is a crime. So in North Carolina. We have actually thousands of crimes that are defined many by the Gen. assembly, some by administrative bodies and many by local ordinance so all of these crimes constitute the criminal code. We have a chapter in the Gen. statutes Chapter 14 which is supposed to be the criminal chapter but of course we have crime scattered throughout more than 140 chapters of the criminal or of the general statutes and we have crimes in every local county ordinance so they are everywhere everywhere so they're not all in one place.

If I said you okay Mike, show me the states criminal code you couldn't say here is an slap the book on the table.

No, I couldn't had your stack of papers and be more like pointing to a fog. Okay, so some of these crimes might be violent summer nonviolent summer regulatory it's just kind of a hodgepodge of everything that's everywhere absolutely why you taken such an interest in this issue will it again and in a quick nice neat little package the criminal code in North Carolina as it is in most states is ineffective. It's inefficient and it's unfair. I when we have rules that don't clearly define what is right and what is wrong, then it leads to people becoming accidental criminals. It leads to prosecutorial abuse and it leads to is in this case clear wrongdoing that isn't punished. We can't have these kinds of things and expect to have a respectable criminal justice system, the criminal justice system needs to be clear, to be effective, you recently wrote a piece that kind of illustrates I think the points that you're talking about here. It's You followed a case or you wrote about a case ending was estate versus ranking, and it had to deal with this set question of what is hazardous waste and if you later waste even if you don't know it's hazardous. You can end up in a lot of trouble tells about the case right so this is a case that I worked on while I was at the Supreme Court working for Chief Justice Martin and in that case, Angela Rankin had she and her boyfriend were were searching for scrap metal. They found this tank on the side of the road. They found that there was some oil in it that was making it heavy a bit unwieldy, so they dumped the oil out into the street and realize that this oil was hazardous waste and in Miss Rankin's words, she thought it would just simply dry up.

It didn't dry up, and instead they the city of Greensboro. The health department spent more than $10,000 cleaning up the water system cleaning up the soil. Cleaning up the road that had been contaminated. So during her prosecution she was charged with a felony because littering on its own is either fracture misdemeanor. It's it's not a felony. Unless certain conditions are met. Whether it's a certain amount of waste it's been dumped on this case hazardous waste it's been dumped. These kinds of things-to be a felony. And the reason her case ultimately went to trial is probably because the statute that creates these aggregators doesn't define we call mens rea a guilty mindset so it doesn't say whether you need to know that this is hazardous waste doesn't say that you need to be reckless about being hazardous waste and it doesn't say that your strictly liable if it's hazardous waste. So she went to the courts to try and get clarification on this question. 4 1/2 years from the date that she's spilled this oil out. The Supreme Court handed down opinion throwing out her indictment and so after 4 1/2 years. No one was punished for this oil being dumped and we still don't have an answer for that question that initially sent this thing to trial in the first place. One would think that again. You know, as it is a nonattorney thinking that if something makes its way to the state Supreme Court that they're going to answer the ultimate question.

I mean, isn't that the whole point of case making its way through the system to the ultimate arbiter EM state Supreme Court.

So how is it possible that we still don't know that the answer to the question. Well, courts generally like to keep their holdings narrow bed and if they can. They will punt on an issue. The court here didn't even have to punt, because they didn't appeal that question. They appealed to the Court of Appeals, saying that the indictment was flawed and so the indictment this is a second issue with this statute. The statute isn't clear about what is an element of littering and what is an exception to littering the statute. It is incredibly lengthy would think that's that littering would be something simple.

If you were to print it out multiple pages and there are some things in there that that look like they operate as exceptions to the littering statute.

The Court of Appeals determined that one of them was an element, and if it's an element needs to be included in the indictment.

If you don't have a good indictment if you don't have a valid indictment. You have no case.

So, the Court of Appeals mind she was never even charged with littering the Supreme Court agreed when it heard the case and we never got an answer as to whether or not there is some sort of mens rea are culpable mindset element to the hazardous waste.

Focus your description as is interesting is making my my hair hurt just thinking how is it possible that after 4 1/2 years. There's really no answer here and it gets to one of them. The key points of the column that you that this case really leads to the question why did this ever go to trial, shouldn't have been easier if we had had a clearer criminal code. Telus somewhat, you would've liked to have seen in the code so that people in sin four and half years on this wall of the cove are clear about what the mens rea is for this particular element.

This likely doesn't go to trial, meaning that, for example, if in the statute it says you either have to know something is hazardous or you don't have to know but to clarify one where the right. If there's a bright line there. So the issue is that we a lot of the cases that go to trial our fringe cases. The ones that are clearly within the description of the law are knocking to go to trial because you're probably going to get a guilty plea, the ones that are clearly outside or probably never to be prosecuted.

It's those friends ones that go to trial and so we can make the lines around these crimes brighter than what we do is we remove more from the fringe there either firmly inside that description or their outside that description there will never be a complete elimination of that French there's always good to be some ambiguity and in language, but the problem is that we need to make it as as minimal as possible. Is it even possible to take a look and gather up everything from everywhere and have the criminal code be clarified.

It is, and what we need to do is we need to have experts take a look at this because a lot of what were working on our 18th-century descriptions of these crimes in trying to adapt them to the 21st century if we were to have experts come in and rewrite these these crimes and define them clearly than what we can do is we can have these brighter lines that are well adapted for the society that we live in today it would reroute it would result in a system that is is more fair is more effective as more efficient might she tell thanks for joining us talk about all the time we have for the program this week. Thank you for listening on behalf of my cohost Mitch.

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