It has come to my attention that there may be a bit more to the AOC restitution story than meets the eye. This memo from Judge John Smith, the director of the AOC, provides a bit of explanation for why the restitution priorities were set as they were, and to what extent the General Assembly was briefed on the issue.
1. Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings begin today, with a statement by the nominee and statements by the Senators on the Judiciary Committee. Questioning begins tomorrow.
2. The News and Observer had a front-page article on Sunday, pointing out that offenders’ payments have been used to pay probation fees, community service fees, and other expenses before being applied to restitution. The law requires that payments be used first for restitution, and the AOC has apparently begun to address the problem brought to light by the article, and at least one clerk’s office has taken action on its own initiative. The article is a nice example of the value of newspapers, and helps to explain why I still subscribe to the ever-shrinking N&O.
3. Senator Hagan has submitted her list of recommendations for several high-profile jobs in the federal court system, including U.S. Attorney for each of the three federal judicial districts in the state and two vacant federal judgeships. The list is available here, and it includes several state court judges, one elected district attorney, and several other names that will be familiar to readers of this blog. Law enforcement readers may be interested in the recommendations for U.S. Marshal.
4. The Obama administration has been reviewing the so-called 287(g) program, which empowers local law enforcement officers to enforce certain federal immigration laws. The program, which I mentioned previously here, is up and running in a number of North Carolina counties. Apparently, the administration plans to increase oversight of the implementation of the program in an effort to reduce racial profiling, but otherwise plans to continue to expand it. The New York Times doesn’t think that’s a good idea.
5. Finally, golfers should be aware of this story, which culminated in a golfer receiving 21 months in prison for assaulting another golfer who was playing too slowly. If you played a round this weekend and escaped serious injury, thank your lucky stars and consider changing hobbies to something safer, like skydiving or auto racing.