Today’s post discusses two recent federal cases involving the use of Tasers in North Carolina jails. (The post draws from an article I originally prepared for the North Carolina Jail Administrators’ Association newsletter.) Continue reading
Last week, I was driving with my 14-year-old son and his 15-year-old friend in the car. My son criticized me for not turning left out of parking lot when, according to he-who-has-never-driven, I had “plenty of time” to do so. His friend, who recently got his learner’s permit, piped up and said, “Driving is not as easy as it looks.” You can say that again, friend.
Every year as I do presentations about new criminal law legislation, a smaller piece of legislation catches my eye. Invariably as I look into the legislation, I learn about the concerns that led to the legislation. An example this year is S.L. 2016-113 sec. 3 (S 770), which allows the culling of feral swine—that is, wild boar—from aircraft. At first glance, the description conjures up images of hunting parties taking to the sky to go after wild boar. That’s not what the legislation contemplates. Taking wild animals from or with the use of aircraft remains a misdemeanor under North Carolina law. See G.S. 113-191.1(b)(1); G.S. 113-135(a). The legislation adds a new statute, G.S. 113-299, creating a narrow exception from this prohibition for wildlife officers and similar federal employees. What’s behind the legislation? What does it allow? What doesn’t it allow? Continue reading
In a recent interview with Katie Couric, Justice Ginsburg discussed San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his practice of kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. She described Kaepernick’s conduct as “dumb and disrespectful,” compared it to flag burning, and said “I think it’s a terrible thing to do, but I wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it.” Is it OK for a judge to say that? Continue reading
Hurricane Matthew hit Eastern North Carolina hard over the weekend. Twenty North Carolinians lost their lives and many communities experienced severe flooding. The Fayetteville Observer has extensive coverage of the aftermath of the storm, including remarkable aerial photographs of flooded Lumberton. Governor McCrory has activated the Hurricane Matthew Relief Fund and the North Carolina Department of Justice is warning residents of areas damaged by the hurricane to be wary of scams in the wake of the storm. A number of courthouses are closed because of the storm and the AOC has a list of closings available here. Best wishes for a speedy recovery from the hurricane; keep reading for more news.
Today’s post is a return to the Sentencing Whiteboard, this time to explain active sentences for aggravated level one DWI. As Shea and I have discussed in earlier posts (here, here, and here, among others), they are different from other DWI sentences. No parole. No good time. Not cut in half. The video explains why, and describes how typical aggravated level one sentences are administered by the county jails through the Statewide Misdemeanant Confinement Program. As you’ll see, sentences for this most serious level of misdemeanor impaired driving are in many cases longer than a felony habitual DWI. I hope you’ll take a look. Continue reading
Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported an estimated 10 percent increase in traffic fatalities for the first six months of 2016. NHTSA’s report was based on a statistical projection using data gathered, some of it in real time, from all 50 states. The increase is part of a trend. NHTSA reports that the second quarter of 2016 is “the seventh consecutive quarter with increases in fatalities as compared to corresponding quarters in previous years.” NHTSA said it was too early to identify a cause for the most recent uptick, but that hasn’t prevented safety advocates from working toward a solution.
Here’s a common fact pattern: Officers find a person in possession of drugs. The officers say, in effect, “we won’t arrest you if you’ll tell us who sold you the drugs.” The person then reports having recently purchased the drugs from a particular person at that person’s home. Does this provide probable cause to support a search warrant for the supplier’s home? Continue reading
Reuters reported this week that Yahoo “secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers’ incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials.” Reuters says that the government sent Yahoo a classified request to search the email accounts, likely under the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The scope of the surveillance is unprecedented and involved “hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts.” The revelation comes just a month after the company announced that state-sponsored hackers stole information from 500 million Yahoo accounts in 2014. Change those passwords and keep reading for more news.