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Question on jury trials could soon reach NC voters

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina voters could decide next year whether some defendants should be given the option to waive their right to a jury trial.

The legislature has given its final approval for a question on the November 2014 ballot to consider an exception to the state’s constitutional requirement that every criminal defendant be allowed a trial and convicted by a unanimous jury.

The Senate agreed Tuesday to minor changes by the House to a bill to allow a defendant to be tried in Superior Court by a judge in non-capital cases. Such waivers are already allowed in federal courts and most states.

Constitutional amendments usually aren’t subject to a governor’s veto but Gov. Pat McCrory will still receive the bill because it contains proposed statutory changes if voters approve the question.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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