Last week’s top stories are still going, including litigation under the Racial Justice Act in Fayetteville. The Fayetteville Observer’s latest story is here, summarizing the testimony of the state’s statistician. For those with a numerical bent, it’s pretty interesting. But many of us are looking ahead to next week and Valentine’s Day. Apparently that includes Florida Judge John Hurley. According to this article, “[a] marital spat that began when a . . . man didn’t wish his wife a happy birthday and then escalated into a domestic violence charge, resulted in an unusual bond court ruling . . . . Instead of setting bond or keeping [the defendant] locked up, he ordered him to treat his spouse to dinner [at Red Lobster, her favorite restaurant], a bowling date and then to undergo marriage counseling.” Those wondering whether the judge’s approach was a little too light-hearted should read the article, which describes the facts of what the judge characterized as a “minor” incident. Whether that characterization is accurate and whether the judge’s order was appropriate are certainly debatable.
In other news:
1. The General Assembly’s website has been updated so that the on-line version of the General Statutes is current through the 2011 legislative session. No more digging through session laws! [Update: actually, like the LexisNexis "red books," it is current only through S.L. 2011-411. As discussed here, that means that the technical corrections to the Justice Reinvestment Act aren't included and . . . we're still reading session laws. Thanks to a helpful reader for pointing this out.]
2. Court of Appeals Judge Sam Ervin has announced that he will run for the seat on the state supreme court currently held by Justice Paul Newby, who is seeking reelection. Lawyer’s Weekly has the story here.
3. Can’t get enough Fayetteville news? This story has been making the rounds on the internet, and the first paragraph pretty much sums it up: “[Cumberland County] Deputies used a Taser on a woman who wouldn’t surrender to them after she cut into a McDonald’s drive-through line and then refused to move her car without being served.” Some time-stressed customers may have thought that getting Tasered was less than what the alleged line-cutter deserved.
4. Many readers are familiar with the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test for alcohol impairment. HGN isn’t just for officers anymore: there’s a new iPhone app, called BreathalEyes, that allows your phone to do HGN testing on you. Of course, if you think you need an HGN app, maybe what you really need is a designated driver. Android users seem to be out of luck for now, and don’t even ask about BlackBerry, if anyone reading this still has a BlackBerry.
5. Finally, a story from the Midwest. Nebraska Judge Gale Pokorny recently sentenced Jessica Mikuchonis, a repeat drug defendant who had previously been convicted of, inter alia, shooting meth while pregnant. The defendant proposed a residential drug treatment program at taxpayer expense. Judge Pokorny was having none of that: “That isn’t going to happen. . . . After waiting far too long here for Ms. Mikuchonis to do something for herself, this Judge concludes Ms. Mikuchonis has had her opportunities. Whether or not she chooses some day to take advantage of them or dies face down in her own vomit in some gutter somewhere . . . is a decision that ultimately only she can make.” I’m not sure if Judge Pokorny is a model of judicial demeanor, but at least you know where you stand with him.