The News and Observer reports that the government may seek an indictment against former Senator John Edwards as soon as next week. The case is expected to center around money funneled to Edwards’ mistress by two Edwards supporters, with the government contending that the money amounted to illegal campaign contributions and Edwards claiming that they money had no connection to the campaign. His lawyers say he “has done wrong in his life,” but did not break the law. The New York Times covers the story here. In other news:
1. The North Carolina Senate has finished [correction: is preparing to vote on] its version of the budget. (It differs from the House version, and Governor Perdue may veto whatever the General Assembly ultimately approves, so we are a long way from being done with budget season.) I can’t get the budget bill to display on my computer without crashing my browser, so I don’t know all the provisions it contains regarding the courts. This news story says that it proposes cutting 151 victim/witness legal assistants from prosecutors’ offices. If readers know how it treats the AOC or IDS, please post a comment.
2. The News and Observer reports here that the law enforcement community is asking the General Assembly “to pass a bill requiring that consumers get a prescription for popular cold and allergy medicines [like Sudafed] that can also be used to make methamphetamines.” As far as I can tell, there is no pending bill that would do that, though the legislature is studying ways to prevent the proliferation of meth labs. Apparently only two other states currently require prescriptions for pseudoephedrine-based medication.
3. Need CLE? My colleagues John Rubin and Alyson Grine will be hosting a criminal law webinar on Friday, June 10, from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. It will “cover recent criminal law decisions issued by the North Carolina appellate courts and [United States] Supreme Court and will highlight significant criminal law legislation enacted by the General Assembly.” Sort of like reading a news roundup, minus the fluffy stuff! Details are here.
4. The biggest national criminal justice news is probably the continuing decline in crime rates, which the New York Times discusses here. Although the story states that the decline — to the lowest levels in 40 years, at least for violent crimes — “baffles experts,” at least a few experts seem to have some ideas. For example, at Crime and Consequences, the decline is evidence that “tough sentencing actually works.” Meanwhile, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis credits professional football — or at least threatens a major spike in crime if the NFL lockout results in the cancellation of the upcoming season.
5. Finally, a couple of quick tidbits. A newspaper followed a Michigan judge, documenting three hour lunches and weekday shopping at the Gap. Sound bad? Above the Law doesn’t think so, declaring her “judge of the day” for remaining current with her work despite apparently reduced hours. Meanwhile, Sentencing Law and Policy notes that an Ohio judge has sentenced at least 30 felony defendants to write five-page reports as part of their sentences. Wait a minute — could creative sentencing like this be the explanation for the “baffling” reduction in crime rates discussed above? Crime and Consequences sarcastically observes that report-writing “could at least in theory have a deterrent effect. Next time, [the defendant] might think to himself, it will be ten pages.“