News Roundup

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There’s a lot going on this week! The removal hearing in Durham concerning District Attorney Tracey Cline has ended, with Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood promising a decision Friday morning. The dispute over consent searches in Fayetteville has taken a new turn, with a judge entering a temporary restraining order requiring the city to lift its moratorium on the use of such searches in connection with traffic stops. The police are set to resume consent searches on Monday, apparently using a new written consent form. In other news:

The repercussions of United States v. Jones, the Supreme Court’s GPS tracking case, are still being felt. The FBI recently revealed that it turned off 3,000 warrantless tracking devices in response to the decision.

Jones won’t stop the march of technology, though. This week, everyone got something new. Law enforcement – specifically, the NYPD – announced a new long-range concealed gun detector, currently effective at 3 to 5 meters but planned to function at up to 25 meters. Suspects with cell phones, which is to say, all suspects, got a little help from prominent Seventh Circuit judge Richard Posner, who suggested that there may be limits to officers’ authority to search such devices incident to arrest. (The little case law that we have in North Carolina is to the contrary, as I noted here.) Finally, federal prisoners will soon be able to buy and use MP3 players so they can rock out to their choice of 1 million songs. I suppose it was inevitable, but I’m still a little bitter that while I can’t find time to listen to the new Skrillex track I downloaded from iTunes, prison inmates will have access to a vast array of musical entertainment.

Along with many others, I have bemoaned the uselessness of most law review articles. No surprise, then, that no law journal now has more than 2,000 paying subscribers, and most major journals have seen a 60-80% drop in circulation since 1980. I guess the emergence of Westlaw and LEXIS may have had something to do with it, too.

If you wanted to be a professional hit man – er, hit person – would you put up a website called HitManforHire.net? Apparently, you would. And apparently, you would get caught.

Finally, two new jobs, neither of which involve contract killing, are available here at the School of Government. One is in the indigent defense education group, which needs a part-time research attorney for a project on litigating issues of race in the criminal justice system. One is for a Project Director of our new Applied Public Policy Assistance Network.

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4 comments on “News Roundup

  1. Judge Hobgood just issued his order removing Tracey Cline as Durham County District Attorney. Can you talk a bit about any right she may have to appeal his order?

  2. Appeal is to the Court of Appeals for errors of law. While the appeal is pending the DA’s salary is stopped and she may not perform the duties of the office. If she wins on appeal, she is reinstated to office and receives back pay. The acting DA continues to serve as DA while the appeal is pending, but there is no vacancy to which a new DA can be appointed (and elected) until the appeal has been finally decided. See GS 7A-66.

  3. Thanks, Michael. That’s very helpful.

  4. Can police walk up to a man (pre-arrest) whom they believe is the person they have been speaking with via text in a solicitation case, and ask to look at the man’s pre-paid cell phone in order to try and confirm the phone number as the one police had been in contact with?

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