August, 2020 Update from State Bar Councilor Anna Hamrick

Dear Fellow Members of the Buncombe County Bar –

I hope everyone is well. The North Carolina State Bar Council held its Quarterly Meeting last week via Zoom. It was our second Quarterly Meeting held via Zoom, and all committees were able to meet. I would like to share with you some of its highlights. You will get a more detailed report later directly from the Bar.

1. The Ethics Committee approved publication for comment of an amendment to the preamble to the Rules of Professional Conduct that identifies the avoidance of discriminatory conduct as a fundamental value of the profession.

Below is the proposed language. Your opinion matters, and so please consider sending your comments to: ethics@ncbar.gov. Continue reading

UPDATE–Probation Calendar Change

From Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Alan Z. Thornburg:

Yesterday afternoon I learned that a probation officer had been tested for the COVID-19 virus, was concerned about possible exposure and was awaiting test results. In response to this information, I asked that today’s probation matters be continued until next Thursday, July 30th. Pursuant to an inquiry by the district attorney’s office, I learned that no in-custody probationers objected to the postponement.

This afternoon, I learned that the officer who was tested was confirmed positive for the virus. Please see attached the statement of Lori Anderson, Judicial District Manager, Department of Community Corrections, regarding this issue.

Even though, pursuant to Department of Community Corrections protocol, I understand some officers who work on the 12th floor of the courthouse could return to courthouse duty July 29th , I have asked that today’s probation calendar be continued once again to Wednesday August 5th unless other scheduling arrangements are made with all participants to a specific case.

Please also find attached the recent virus protocol guidance issued by Judge Hill and I. Of course, the directives of the governor and the chief justice are clear and easily available. A good rule of thumb is to treat everyone with whom you come into contact as if that person has contracted the virus. Trying to make ongoing calculations as to the risk level of each individual is not fruitful or prudent.

Please share this memorandum as you see fit. Thank you for doing your part and for your understanding with those who are attempting to make decisions in the best interest of public safety and the administration of justice.

Alan Z. Thornburg

Register of Deeds Office Third Floor Closed

From Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger:

Due to a positive case of COVID-19 in the office, our Public Health officials have asked to have our office cleaned and staff quarantined at home while they await test results. We will be closed on Monday and Tuesday (July 20 -21). Our Vital Records Department will be open on Wednesday, July 22nd. Our Recording department will resume eRecording documents, and recording paper documents delivered by mail or put in our drop box outside the office on Wednesday as well. The third floor will be closed to in-person services until further notice. I apologize for the inconvenience and the interruption of our services.

I know many of you care about our employees personally and consider them friends. Our employee who contracted the virus seems to be recovering but still has symptoms.

Stay safe,

Drew

Drew Reisinger

Register of Deeds

(828) 250-4315

205 College St – Asheville, NC 28801

 

Respect. Honesty. Integrity. Collaboration. Equity.

Groundwater Racial Equity Training

The Safety and Justice Challenge Racial Equity workgroup is excited to host the Racial Equity Institute (REI) as they bring one of their trainings, the Groundwater Presentation, to Buncombe County virtually on July 29th. The Groundwater presentation is an introduction to Racial Equity. REI’s trainings are specifically designed to help leaders and organizations who want to both understand and address racism in their communities and within their internal organizations. The Groundwater presentation will help start that process and give an overview of racial equity work. REI presenters “will use stories and data to present a perspective that racism is fundamentally structural in nature. By examining characteristics of modern-day racial inequity, the presentation introduces participants to an analysis that most find immediately helpful and relevant.” Please join us as we learn about how to address Racial Equity in our county and criminal justice system.

To attend the training you must register with Eventbrite. One you register, you will receive an email confirmation with the link to the event page where you will click the play button to be brought into the event once it starts. Please RSVP by July 28th

 REI Groundwater Training Link:

Thursday, July 29, 2020 at 9a-12:00p. To register for this session click here.

 

Congratulations to our North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society Inductees

Buncombe County takes great pride in its many members of the North Carolina Pro
Bono Honor Society, each of whom reported 50 or more hours of pro bono service in
2019. These attorneys volunteered through Pisgah Legal Services and other
organizations to help their community in ways only lawyers can. They are among 520
attorneys the North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center (PBRC) inducted into the 2019
North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society. Buncombe County attorneys who are a
member of this year’s honor society are listed here.

“Through our annual pro bono reporting process, our legal profession reaffirms our
commitment to ensuring equal access to justice for all North Carolinians,” said North
Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley. “In these times of crisis and extraordinary need, it
is especially heartening to learn about and celebrate our Pro Bono Honor Society
members – these attorneys are truly making a difference for people in our state.
Each member of this year’s cohort of the Honor Society receives a certificate from the
Supreme Court of North Carolina in recognition of their valuable contributions. This
group of attorneys provided nearly 40,000 hours of pro bono legal services in 2019 to
North Carolinians living in poverty.

A program of the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission chaired by Chief
Justice Beasley, the PBRC works to increase North Carolina attorneys’ pro bono legal
service as a way to meet the legal needs of people of low-income and modest means in
our state.

“Pro bono lawyers are a crucial resource for those North Carolinians who cannot afford
legal services,” said PBRC Director Sylvia Novinsky. “I am inspired by the volunteer
spirit of the North Carolina bar highlighted by pro bono reporting. The growing list of
attorneys recognized by the North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society serves as a symbol
to other attorneys that finding time to volunteer is doable.”