Articles Posted in Government Law

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Petitioners in this action were inmates who had been sentenced to death by lethal injection. Respondent, North Carolina Council of State, approved the lethal injection protocol after it was submitted to the Council by the Department of Corrections (DOC), an administrative agency. Although Petitioners challenged the constitutionality of the state's method of execution, at issue on appeal was whether the Council's statutorily-mandated approval of the DOC's action was subject to the requirements of the North Carolina APA when the DOC's action was exempt from the APA. The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) ALJ recommended that the Council reconsider its approval of the execution protocol. The Council declined to reconsider its approval based upon its conclusion that the OAH did not have jurisdiction to review the issue. The superior court dismissed Petitioners' petition for judicial review. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the superior court's ruling that the APA does not apply to the Council's approval of the execution protocol, and (2) affirmed the court's ruling, as modified, that Petitioners' rights do not include the right to present evidence to the Council and that the Council's obligations do not include a substantive review of the protocol before it is approved.View "Conner v. N.C. Council of State" on Justia Law

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Morris Communications Corporation d/b/a Fairway Outdoor Advertising (Fairway) sought to re-erect a sign after its lawfully constructed sign was condemned by the DOT. Fairway applied for and received a sign permit for the relocated sign. The permit required that the work commence six months from the date of issuance. After Fairway took down its sign and reinstalled it, the city sent Fairway a notice of violation, asserting that the sign violated the city's outdoor advertising ban and asserting that Fairway's sign permit had expired because work on the project had not commenced prior to the permit's expiration date. Fairway appealed the notice to the board of adjustment (BOA), which affirmed the determination. The court of appeals affirmed. Fairway appealed. The Supreme Court held that the appellate court erred in determining the BOA's interpretation of the sign ordinance was entitled to deference under de novo review. Because the BOA's interpretation of its sign ordinance constituted an error of law, the Court reversed.View "Morris Commc'ns Corp. v. City of Bessemer City Zoning Bd. of Adjust." on Justia Law