• NC voters approve jury option amendment

    By: The Associated Press

    RALEIGH, N.C.  (AP)ong> - (AP) — Voters have approved a constitutional amendment that gives criminal defendants in North Carolina another option other than a jury trial.

    Votes tabulated by The Associated Press showed 53 percent of voters supported the amendment, which allows people charged with a felony to decide if they want a judge or a jury to hear their case.

    Under current state law, a criminal defendant in a felony case must have a jury trial. They cannot waive or relinquish that right. But under the amendment, defendants can waive their right to a jury trial. Such a waiver would require the consent of the trial judge and would not be allowed in a death penalty case.

    The amendment puts North Carolina in line with 49 other states and the federal criminal justice system.

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