Several Domestic Violence Initiatives Were Recently Signed Into Law by Governor Cooper

Posted by Josh Valentine | Sep 25, 2017

New and potential legislation on domestic violence aims to make it harder for convicted offenders get out of jail and start their life over. State legislators and the Governor, Roy Cooper, have made great strides in trying to deter occurrences of domestic violence offenses that lead to death by enacting several domestic violence-related laws over the past few months. Two of the laws drafted by legislators - Britny's law and Caitlin's law - are expected to largely impact the way defendants are prosecuted and penalized in the state criminal justice system. The first has already been signed into law, while the second is still being drafted.

Domestic Violence & Death

The number of people who have died in crimes involving domestic violence continues to rise in the state of North Carolina. The North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence released a study concluding that a total of 82 people were killed last year in domestic violence homicides, and 37 people have been killed so far this year. Against this backdrop, families of victims have made it a priority to get new legislation passed.

Britny's Law: Signed by Governor Cooper

Britny's law was inspired in the memory of 22-year-old Britny Puryear who was killed by her live-in boyfriend, Logan McLean. On November 2014, Britny was gunned down in her Fuquay-Varina home while her 5-month-old was in the other room. Investigators concluded that McLean, who was also the father of the baby, had been the shooter. After receiving word of the circumstances surrounding the young woman's death, Britny's father, Stephen Puryear, dedicated much of his time to helping other victims of domestic violence. He, along with several other legislators, drafted “Britny's law” in hopes of toughening the punishment for defendants who are found guilty of domestic violence homicides. The bill was recently passed and signed into law by Gov. Cooper.

Prosecutors oftentimes charge second-degree murder rather than first-degree murder due to the common argument made by defendants that the crime was committed out of passion or in the heat of the moment. The new law will allow prosecutors to allege that the murder was premeditated if the defendant has a history of committing crimes of domestic violence against the same person.

“One thing Britny has done is brought Republicans and Democrats together in North Carolina - 158 to 2 - on an issue that affects so many different people: domestic violence,” Stephen said. “If Britny's law helps one family not lose a loved one, make sure that the murderer never gets out, then all of our time and efforts are working.”

Caitlin's Law: Pending

Another family had to live through the pain of losing their daughter at the hands of her partner that same year. Caitlin Faulkenberry was stabbed more than 70 times by her fiancé, Calvin Clay. Afterwards, he left their residence in Caitlin's SUV and struck three vehicles in an attempt to harm himself. According to recent reports, Calvin pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and three counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. He was sentenced to 36 years in prison.

Caitlin's friends and family have banded together to draft “Caitlin's law,” which if passed, would center on how restraining orders are issued and enforced.

Experienced North Carolina Attorneys

If you have recently been arrested in the state of North Carolina, you should immediately consult with an attorney. The legal professionals at Caulder & Valentine are dedicated to fighting for the rights of their clients. Contact them today for a consultation.

About the Author

Josh Valentine

You could say Josh has a God-given ability for sustaining long-term relationships. He and his wife first met in elementary school and went to Gardner Webb University (GWU) together, where they tied for number 1 in their class. Then, they both started law school on the same day of their graduation and got married during their first semester. He has also known his law partner Blake Caulder since Kindergarten. Theirs is the perfect partnership. “He’s the brake; I am the accelerator,” Josh says. Both Josh and his wife attended an innovative program at Charlotte Law School that allowed them to complete law school in two years instead of the typical three. His wife graduated and passed the North Carolina bar at age 20, becoming one of the youngest attorneys in the state. He readily admits she’s smarter than him. Of course, Josh went on to pass the North Carolina State Bar himself and later the South Carolina State Bar. While in school, he was Associate Editor of the Law Review and received accolades like Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society membership, Order of the Crown, Pro Bono Honors, CALI Awards (highest grade). In his career as a lawyer, he has been admitted to the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, is a member of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys, and completed training for DWI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. Josh has also been named to the Top 40 Under 40 for Criminal Defense by The National Trial Lawyers, the Business North Carolina 2019 Legal Elite for Criminal Defense, and the 10 Best Attorneys for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys three years in a row (2016, 2017, and 2018). Community involvement has been important to Josh all his life. In high school, he participated in building a Holocaust museum that has become internationally regarded. He and his wife are actively engaged in animal rescue, which currently means seven cats and two kittens. He served in prison ministry and assisted with fundraiser banquets there, and he provides pro bono and reduced fee legal services to those in need. As if all of that weren’t enough, Josh also mentors high risk youth and helps with his church’s youth group. He participates in other community volunteer projects involving construction, remodeling, drywall, painting, and landscaping. He’s an active student of the Bible and has traveled to Israel, Brazil, and Europe for mission work. No one can say Josh isn’t a well-rounded individual. In his spare time, he likes to play softball, basketball, and tennis, and he can play the piano and trombone. Sometimes on weekends, believe it or not, he enjoys pouring and finishing concrete with friends who own a concrete and grading business. In his law practice, Josh has made it a point to develop positive relationships with officers, clerks, and district attorneys, which has proven invaluable in delivering positive results for his clients. It’s important to him to both listen to his clients and fight for them. Law enforcement officers have important responsibilities to keep our communities safe and uphold the law, but one of the responsibilities of attorneys is to make sure officers do their job correctly. Josh considers it his job to hold them accountable for their actions. Josh is a person of deep faith. He knows that the established order of our universe and strength of America’s Judeo-Christian influenced court system is built on God’s word. His passion to serve each client with innovation, excellence and integrity is a byproduct of his faith. When asked why he became a lawyer, Josh says, “All through my life, I have personally witnessed family members and very close friends endure divorce, child custody battles, bankruptcy, civil lawsuits, and even fraudulent criminal accusations. I both saw and experienced the stress such events can place on an individual, and I realized that everyone, at some point in their life, needs hope, comfort, and encouragement. In each one of those situations, the person who was best situated to provide that vital support was their lawyer. So that’s why I became an attorney. I understand what you are going through, and I’m here to help you. Our office is focused on meeting your needs and guiding you through what may be the most difficult time of your life.” Education: Charlotte School of Law J.D., Magna Cum Laude Class Rank – 21 of 328 Associate Editor of Charlotte School of Law Law Review Certification and Concentration in Employment Law Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society Order of the Crown Pro Bono Honors CALI Awards (Highest Grade)—Lawyering Process I and Contracts I Full Scholarship Gardner-Webb University B.S. in Accounting, Summa Cum Laude Distinguished Senior Student Award – Highest GPA Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honorary Society Bar Admissions: North Carolina State Bar