Effective Dec. 1, 16- and 17-year-old young people who commit crimes in North Carolina will no longer automatically be charged in the adult criminal justice system. Two years ago, state lawmakers raised the age of juvenile jurisdiction for nonviolent crimes to 18. North Carolina became the last state in the union to do so. The “Raise the Age” initiative became law because of a strong, bipartisan coalition of leaders in all three branches of government. When the law updates, all criminal cases for juveniles through age 18 will begin in juvenile court. However, for class A-G felony complaints, the most serious charges, they will automatically transfer to adult court upon notice of an indictment or a finding of probable cause after notice and a hearing. For class H or I felonies, transfer to adult court will require a transfer hearing. The new statute also mandates that juvenile court counselors must begin conducting gang assessments during intake. These assessments will become part of the juvenile court counselor’s record. If a court finds that offense in question was committed as part of criminal gang activity, the counselor is required to increase juvenile’s disposition level by one. Victims of crime will also have greater administrative, prosecutorial protections.

Local college student is on the rise, literally

Fayetteville State University student Lenore Miller, who led the team that won the National Aeronautics and Space Administration best business case for rapid detection and identification of pathogens, has been awarded back-to-back internships at the NASA Langley Research Center. Miller will be conducting scientific research on thin-film coatings and the effect of hypersonic light projectiles on such coating at the center. She is in her final year with the department of chemistry, physics and materials science at FSU and has conducted her research projects under the supervision of Dr. Daryush Ila in partnership with Combat Capabilities Development Command of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. She has also conducted several presentations on her undergraduate research and has a pending publication in the Journal of American Institute of Physics. FSU is the second-oldest public institution of higher education in North Carolina. With more than 6,300 students, FSU is among the most diverse institutions in the nation. 

Michael Petti update

Up & Coming Weekly news items sometimes become outdated so quickly that they miss our weekly deadline. Such was the case of an article published last week in the News Digest. We were in error reporting that former assistant police chief Michael Petti left the department recently but was rehired in order to work out his eligibility for retirement. We apologize for the error. The following is what we know to be factually correct: Petti has been with the Fayetteville Police Department for more than 20 years, since the fall of 1997. He rose through the ranks and was promoted to assistant chief several years ago by retired Chief of Police Harold Medlock. Petti confirmed that he was demoted to lieutenant by Chief Gina Hawkins, but he declined to provide details as to why. Neither the chief nor other city officials would elaborate, saying that state law defines it as a personnel matter. “That limitation both protects and hinders at times,” said City Manager Doug Hewett. Questions arose when Police Major James Nolette was appointed an assistant chief in July. No mention was made of why Petti was no longer serving in that role. 

Thousands of animals at the local pound will be euthanized this year

The Cumberland County Animal Control Department has a lot of dogs, cats and other domesticated animals up for adoption. A few hundred likely will get new homes this year. Anyone 18 or older is eligible to adopt a pet. The animal shelter is located at 4704 Corporation Dr. off Tom Starling Road in East Fayetteville. Responsible pet owners can make a difference by saving those animals that have a lot of life and love left to give. The Cumberland County Animal Control Department operates a shelter, not a permanent care facility. Its programs are sparsely funded by the county. They rely on the people of Cumberland County to adopt as many of these healthy animals as possible. For more information about animals that are available for adoption, call 910-321-6852 to confirm whether the animal you are interested in is still available. Pet photos and ID numbers can be found on the shelter’s adoptable animals page.

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