Greenwood Law

Eight sentenced to federal prison for meth trafficking

On Sept. 27, eight North Carolina residents pleaded guilty to participating in a methamphetamine trafficking ring. All of the defendants have been sentenced to federal prison for their crimes.

According to court documents, the defendants were running a meth ring in Surry County, Atlanta and other areas. A two-year investigation into the ring discovered that the group had distributed between 700 and 1,000 pounds of methamphetamine in Surry County alone. Over the course of the investigation, which was dubbed "Operation Thin Ice," authorities seized an undisclosed quantity of methamphetamine and multiple firearms, including handguns, rifles and shotguns.

DWI arrests on the decline in North Carolina

For decades, law enforcement and safety advocates have been trying to get the word out that drunk driving is a dangerous and potentially deadly choice. Lawmakers continue to tighten laws, and police enforce those laws in an effort to keep the roads safe. These efforts seem to be working since the number of drunk driving arrests has dropped an average of 30% across North Carolina.

However, while lawmakers and others may take some responsibility for this positive trend, much of the credit may belong to technology. It seems that the number of DWI arrests began to decline shortly after ride-sharing services came to the state.

USCIS denying more skilled worker visas

The rate of denials for H1-B visas has been on the rise since the beginning of the Trump administration. The number of denials rose to 32% during the first quarter of the 2019 fiscal year from just 6% during the 2015 fiscal year. North Carolina employers that are pursuing H1-B visas might be interested in the details of some government documents that shed light on the reasons for the increase in the number of denials.

The documents show that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is making an effort to reduce the number of skilled workers from foreign countries performing jobs in the United States. The government documents were made public by the American Immigration Lawyers Association after it settled a lawsuit brought under the Freedom of Information Act. Based on the evidence contained in the documents, it seems USCIS has raised the burden on U.S. companies to bring in foreign nationals for highly-skilled work. This is especially true for companies in technology fields like computer programming.

Influence of gender and economic stress on marital satisfaction

University researchers have uncovered new insights about the factors that influence marital satisfaction. According to their survey results, married couples in North Carolina and elsewhere could experience differences in marital contentment based on their gender, initial feelings about the marriage and economic status.

Information collected from 431 couples between 2009 and 2014 indicated that people's initial happiness with marriage typically set them up for long-term satisfaction. Couples that started with high to moderate marital happiness largely maintained stable relationships. Couples that expressed low satisfaction initially tended to experience increasing feelings of dissatisfaction over time. Among people who had low satisfaction at the start of their marriage, women reported feeling the greatest decline in satisfaction. Men in the same group, however, responded that their satisfaction stabilized as time went by.

White House seeks indefinite detention for migrant families

North Carolina residents who have been following the ongoing legal battles over some of the Trump administration's more controversial immigration policies will likely not be surprised to learn that another court case is brewing. A proposed rule change published in the Federal Register on Aug. 23 would allow immigrant families to be detained indefinitely while their applications for asylum are being processed. They are currently detained for no more than 20 days.

The president's political opponents say the proposed rule change and several of the administration's other recent immigration directives are an attempt to bypass Congress and undermine decades of federal immigration law, and the move is almost certainly going to be challenged in the courts by civil rights groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union. Mexico's Secretariat of Foreign Affairs has also voiced objections to the policy and is said to be mulling legal action.

Thirteen states sue over Trump's new immigration rule

North Carolina readers might be interested to learn that 13 states have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's controversial new "public charge" rule, which denies green cards to immigrants who receive certain government benefits. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington on Aug. 14.

Do you know the difference between jail and prison?

When accused of a crime, many people immediately begin to think about the possible consequences that could result from a conviction. If you are currently facing criminal charges, you may worry about fines and going to jail. Or prison. What's the difference?

Though it is common for people to use "jail" and "prison" as if they are the same term, the two words do have different meanings. As your case proceeds, understanding the difference between going to jail and going to prison may be useful to you.

New restrictive rule imposed on asylum claims

Many people in North Carolina are deeply concerned about the changes to the immigration system being made by the Trump administration. Even people who are not refugees or asylum seekers have expressed outrage at the repeated measures aimed to minimize the number of people eligible to seek protection in the United States, especially at the southern border. On July 29, Attorney General William Barr promulgated another rule aimed to cut back on asylum claims. Barr said that people cannot rely on persecution targeting their family members in order to seek asylum.

While the Trump administration claims that the U.S. immigration system is overwhelmed with fraudulent or dubious asylum requests, the rules it has promulgated are rolling back decades of understandings about how people can seek protection. In order for people to make a successful claim for asylum, they must prove that they face a credible risk of persecution in their home countries based on their race, religion, political views or membership in a particular social group. Family units have typically been understood as social groups under the asylum laws, but Barr is arguing that family persecution is an insufficient basis for asylum.

Paying for the wedding can lead to thoughts of divorce

Weddings, as North Carolina residents know, are usually a cause for celebration. The furthest thing from the minds of the happy couple is the dissolution of their marriage. However, a study by LendingTree reveals that going into debt to pay for a wedding actually led to newlyweds fighting and thinking about divorce.

According to the study, about 45 percent of couples ages 18 to 53 who married within the last two years accrued debt to pay for their wedding. Once married, however, about 47 percent of those couples that went into debt argued about the money and considered divorce. This number is drastically different for those couples who did not go into debt to pay for the wedding. For those couples, only about 9 percent said they considered divorce over money issues.

Going through divorce with separate finances

Many North Carolina millennial have shied away from co-mingling their funds, even after a couple decides to get married. It is estimated that approximately 28 percent of couples across the nation who get married never open a joint bank account and end up keeping their funds completely separate. While this may be due to the fact that it can be difficult to divide assets during a divorce, maintaining separate assets does not mean that they will not be distributed in the event of a divorce.

Many financial experts do agree that keeping separate bank accounts can reduce conflict between spouses, especially if both spouses work and earn an income. However, family law attorneys may argue that any assets, such as income, that is acquired by the couple during the course of the marriage, should be considered marital property even if the couple lives in a state that operates under equitable distribution laws, such as North Carolina.

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