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

Posted by Josh Valentine | Sep 25, 2017 | 0 Comments

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 free consultation.

About the Author

Josh Valentine

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 that 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. Before attending law school, I worked for a law firm focused on record clearing services, including expungements, pardons, and motions for appropriate relief.  The vast experience and understanding of North Carolina's expungement laws that I have acquired has given me an advantage in defending criminal charges, because not only do I fight for the best possible outcome in your case, but I am also continually conscious of the long term effects that a criminal charge or conviction can have on a person's life.  As such, I will do whatever I can to insure that my clients will not end up with a criminal record.  I was born in New London, Connecticut, but spent the first few years of my life in Dallas, Texas, before moving to Rutherfordton, North Carolina in 2001.  Upon graduating from high school, I attended Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, where I majored in Accounting.  Eager to finish school, I began law school at Charlotte School of Law the day of my graduation from GWU, and completed my law degree in two years (instead of the typical three). During law school, I studied hard and strived to acquire the most experience possible so that I would be practice ready upon graduation.  The opportunities I gained included prosecuting criminal defendants through an externship with the Burke County District Attorney's Office, defending criminal defendants through Charlotte School of Law's Criminal Justice Clinic, and interning with Farmer & Morris, PLLC. I am blessed with a beautiful wife, Gabrielle Valentine, who is an attorney at Farmer & Morris, PLLC, in Rutherfordton, North Carolina.  In my free time, I enjoy helping with the youth group in my church, playing basketball and softball in our local church leagues, serving in the prison ministry, and spending time with my family.  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

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