Created by the State Legislature in 1968, the Governor’s Crime Commission is the main advisory body to Governor Roy Cooper and the secretary of the Department of Public Safety on issues related to crime and justice. Its 43-person membership includes representatives from the General Assembly, local government, law enforcement, the court systems, and the public.
Commission Mandate and Responsibilities
The Governor’s Crime Commission is the sole state planning agency for criminal justice. It develops and implements detailed system improvements and program and policy development plans. It consists of three committees, all of include Commission and advisory members:
- Juvenile Justice Planning Committee
- Criminal Justice Improvement Committee
- Crime Victim’s Services Committee
These committees research criminal justice issues under review and let the results inform their suggestions to the Governor. Commission recommendations may be included in the biennial agenda that proposes additions or amendments to North Carolina law.
In addition, the Commission administers all federal block grants and criminal justice funding that North Carolina receives from agencies like the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It serves as a pass-through agency for approximately $100 million of funding for the following programs:
- Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
- Byrne Justice Assistance Grant
- Victims of Crime Act
- Violence Against Women Act
- Sexual Assault Services Program
- Children’s Justice Act
Commission members work with agency staff to review grant applications, make recommendations to the governor, and ensure that the funds are spent during the lifetime of each grant according to federal and state guidelines.
Congratulations to Leto Copeley!
Leto Copeley firmly shares the goals of the Crime Commission. She grew up believing that all people deserve access to justice, no matter what their circumstances, and became a lawyer to ensure that the courts honored this basic human right. After graduating from Harvard Law School and moving to North Carolina in 1983, she began a successful practice that included protecting client rights in cases of:
- Sexual harassment and sex abuse
- Workplace injury and mistreatment
- Personal injury and wrongful death
Her hard work has obtained substantial jury verdicts for her clients and favorable decisions at the North Carolina Court of Appeals, the North Carolina Supreme Court, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
In addition to presenting seminars at legal events and teaching continuing legal education courses to her fellow attorneys, Leto serves as President of the National Crime Victim Bar Association and, together with attorney Valerie Johnson, presents the ‘Law Sisters’ podcast about sexual harassment in the workplace.
At Copeley Johnson & Groninger PLLC, we congratulate Leto on her appointment and know that her enthusiasm, knowledge, and abilities will make a positive impact on the Commission’s operations and decisions.