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News Roundup

April 30th, 2010
By Jeff Welty

I’ve been busy with New Prosecutors’ School this week. Working on the course, which we co-sponsor with the Conference of District Attorneys, is one of the best parts of my job. I’m always inspired by the enthusiasm, dedication, and professionalism of the assistant district attorneys who attend the school.

Even though my full attention has been occupied by new prosecutors, the world of criminal law hasn’t stood still. A few news items that may be of interest:

1. I posted here about the possible criminal implications of Gizmodo’s purchase of a prototype of Apple’s next-generation iPhone. Since then, a criminal investigation has, in fact, begun. The basics are in this New York Times story. Some interesting legal issues surrounding the authorities’ seizure of computers belonging to one of Gizmodo’s editors are discussed in this post on the Volokh Conspiracy.

2. As most readers of this blog are probably already aware, Arizona has enacted a new law targeting illegal immigration. A New York Times story about the measure is here. Among other things, it requires officers to investigate when they have reason to suspect that an individual is in the United States illegally. The law has been enormously controversial, with some suggesting that it will deepen racial divides and others — like this columnist — arguing that immigration is a federal matter that should not be addressed by the states. Still others, like George Will, have argued that the law is a reasonable and lawful response to the federal government’s failure to respond effectively to illegal immigration. It appears that North Carolina may have nearly as many illegal immigrants as Arizona, so it is easy to imagine this issue resonating here.

3. Methods of execution continue to be in the news. Sentencing Law and Policy reports that an execution in Utah, in keeping with the preferences of the condemned, is scheduled to be carried out by firing squad. Meanwhile, Crime and Consequences notes that California is considering a bill that would follow Ohio’s lead in adopting a single-drug protocol.

4. Other stuff that some might find noteworthy: federal prosecutors have reportedly opened an inquiry into the conduct of Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs; the Wall Street Journal published an article about how prison “wardens nationwide are offering inmates the chance to order meatball subs, cheeseburgers, chicken parmesan” and other goodies from Aramark Corp., in exchange for a cut of the revenues; and finally, a kid in Rotterdam, Holland, got caught doing 100 m.p.h. in a 50 m.p.h zone and had his dad’s car seized as a result . . . and the car is a $2.4 million Bugatti Veyron. Sorry, dad!

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