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News Roundup

January 24th, 2014
By Jeff Welty

Pop star Justin Bieber was arrested yesterday morning in Miami Beach after allegedly drag racing a rented Lamborghini through a residential neighborhood while intoxicated. His smiling mug shot has been all over the news. Charged with DUI, Bieber faces up to six months in jail, 50 hours of community service, and a fine of $250 to $500. I doubt that the fine will make a big impression given his estimated annual income of $50 million to $70 million. In fact, Professor Doug Berman argues at Sentencing Law & Policy that all of the potential penalties in this case are far too lenient given the “persistent and enduring threat to public safety” inherent in impaired driving. The “Beliebers” may disagree, as a flock of his fans were waiting for Bieber upon his release.

In other news:

Moral Monday case update. WRAL recently posted this article, noting that about a third of the 900+ Moral Monday cases have now been resolved. Some defendants have entered into deferred prosecution agreements, some have been convicted, and others have had charges dismissed or have been acquitted. On Wednesday, the Wake County District Attorney’s Office announced that most charges that originated on May 20 will be dismissed due to insufficient video evidence from that date.

Execution protocol news. The News and Observer reports here on the ongoing litigation over North Carolina’s execution protocol. The story is timely in light of last week’s controversial execution in Ohio, in which a novel combination of drugs was used. The condemned inmate made “loud snorting noises” and took nearly 25 minutes to die, adding credence to his attorneys’ pre-execution claims that the protocol to be used was untested and could result in needless suffering. The family of the executed inmate has announced plans to sue the state prison system, and perhaps the companies that supplied the two drugs used in the execution. NBC News has the details.

Marijuana reform in North Carolina, and an NFL player who “weeded as needed.” This News and Observer story states that 63% of North Carolina residents support medical marijuana while 42% support full legalization for adults. The latter figure is up from 39% a year ago. Perhaps somewhere in between medical and recreational use lies the use of marijuana by NFL players to dull the aches and pains of a long season. A new HBO Real Sports episode explores the subject, with former NFL tight end Nate Jackson stating that he “weeded as needed” because “as the season wore on my body would start to break down.”

Supreme Court considers anonymous tips regarding reckless driving. Finally, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in Navarette v. California, a case that asks whether an anonymous tip regarding reckless driving provides a sufficient basis for an officer to conduct a traffic stop. This McClatchy story covers the oral argument, and here’s an interesting rundown of the legal issues by a law professor at Cornell. Obviously, the result could be very consequential in DWI cases, among others. We’ll keep you posted about the result.

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One Response to “News Roundup”

  1. Joe says:

    Good to know that Wake County will only proceed with misdemeanor cases where the officer has the entire case on video. I guess if you are going to break the law in North Carolina you should just bring a lot of people with you so the court will be too bothered to deal with it and just dismiss the charge.

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