Fort Bragg to consolidate into one federal judicial district
FORT BRAGG — President Joe Biden signed a law this week that consolidates Fort Bragg into one judicial district.
Republican Congressman Richard Hudson, whose district includes Fort Bragg, co-sponsored the House version of the bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Raleigh.
"This commonsense legislation will help families at Fort Bragg by allowing all court cases stemming from the base to be heard in the Eastern District's courthouse in nearby Fayetteville," Hudson said in a news release.
It was co-sponsored by every member of North Carolina's delegation in Congress and passed the House on June 23.
Republican Sen. Thom Tillis sponsored the Senate version of the bill, which was co-sponsored by fellow Sen. Richard Burr, also R-North Carolina, and passed the Senate on June 17.
Biden signed it into law Tuesday.
Fort Bragg spans Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke, Moore, Scotland and Richmond counties, according to a joint news release from Hudson, Ross, Burr and Tillis.
Cumberland and Harnett counties are located in the Eastern Judicial District.
The other four counties were in the Middle Judicial District.
That meant some cases were heard in Fayetteville, which is in the Eastern District and about 20 minutes away from the post.
Depending on where the alleged infraction occurred on Fort Bragg, it also meant some cases could be heard at courthouses more than two hours away, the joint news release stated.
Tillis said the split of the two districts meant some defendants would travel to Durham, Greensboro or Winston-Salem to appear in court.
"This bipartisan legislation is a commonsense fix that will ensure all of Fort Bragg is included in the Eastern District to improve court operations and reduce hardship for defendants,” Tillis said.
Previously reported:Congressional bill proposes Fort Bragg having one federal district court in Fayetteville
Burr said the split created logistical issues for North Carolina’s district courts and travel hardships for defendants.
“By consolidating Fort Bragg’s judicial district into one we will alleviate some of the confusion for service members and their families located at Fort Bragg,” Burr said.
Ross said the legislation means defendants can resolve their cases in Fayetteville, which is closer to Fort Bragg.
The bill was also co-sponsored by North Carolina's Democrat Reps. Alma Adams, G.K Butterfield, Kathy Manning and David Price.
Republican representatives cosponsoring it included Dan Bishop, Ted Budd, Madison Cawthorn, Virginia Foxx, Patrick McHenry, Greg Murphy and David Rouzer.
Bishop told fellow members of Congress that Fort Bragg being in two different judicial districts inconvenienced defendants and the court system, according to a congressional record of proceedings.
The bill, Bishop said, redefines the judicial districts so that Fort Bragg and nearby Camp Mackall are in a single judicial district.
“This change will streamline and improve judicial administration and efficiency,” Bishop said.
According to the news release, similar redistricting occurred several years ago when Congress moved Federal Correctional Institution Butner in Granville County into the Eastern District.