This week Governor Roy Cooper appointed R. Andrew Murray, the former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, as the acting District Attorney for Prosecutorial District 42 following the removal of Greg Newman from office. Murray served as the District Attorney in Mecklenburg County prior to serving in the federal Western District. Keep reading for more on this story and other news.
The major national criminal law news of the week was the murder conviction of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin for kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes while arresting him for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store. The jury’s verdict followed a trial that lasted nearly two weeks and included testimony from witnesses ranging from bystanders who filmed the incident and pleaded for Floyd’s life to the chief of the Minneapolis Police Department. Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, spoke with the PBS NewsHour about what the verdict meant for his family and the wider movement to eliminate racial disparities in policing. Keep reading for more news.
A 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department in Minnesota, Kim Potter, was charged this week with second-degree manslaughter for killing 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop where Potter possibly confused her pistol for her taser. The incident, which involved a white officer and a Black victim and occurred in relatively close proximity to the location where Derek Chauvin’s trial is being held, sparked several nights of protests. Following a traffic stop for an expired registration, Potter was attempting to take Wright into custody on an outstanding arrest warrant for failure to appear when Wright attempted to get back into his car and flee the stop. Body camera footage appears to show Potter yelling “Taser” before firing a single fatal shot with her Glock service pistol. Keep reading for more news. Continue reading →
Regular readers of this blog know that bail reform has been a hot topic in criminal law. Jessie has posted about the Criminal Justice Innovation Lab’s ongoing collaborations with several North Carolina jurisdictions in efforts to evaluate and improve bail practices, and she also has noted recent litigation over the constitutionality of the Alamance County bail system. Late last month, the Supreme Court of California ruled that money bail, when used, must be set at an amount an arrestee can reasonably afford unless there is clear and convincing evidence that no nonfinancial condition of release will reasonably protect victim or public safety or assure the arrestee’s appearance in court. This post takes a closer look at the opinion – In re Humphrey, No. S247278, 2021 WL 1134487 (Cal. Mar. 25, 2021).
A United States Capitol Police Officer, William “Billy” F. Evans, died this week after he and another officer seemingly were deliberately hit by a car as it was driven into a barricade at the Capitol Building by a man who then threatened other officers with a knife before being shot and killed. Evans had served with the Capitol Police since 2003. News reports have emerged suggesting that the perpetrator, 25-year-old Noah Green who was living in Virginia, had been experiencing increasingly delusional thoughts and declining mental health, perhaps attributable in part to drug abuse. The Associated Press says that investigators believe the attack was an isolated incident. Keep reading for more news.
The Fayetteville Observer reported this week that an arrest has been made in connection with a road rage shooting last week near Lumberton that killed a Pennsylvania woman traveling with her husband to a beach vacation. Dejywan R. Floyd has been charged with murder for allegedly shooting into the passenger side of an SUV occupied by Julie and Ryan Eberly after the SUV came close to Floyd’s car during a lane change maneuver on I-95. Julie Eberly was struck by the gunfire and died. Keep reading for more news. Continue reading →
A second mass shooting in the span of a week, this one killing 10 people at a Colorado grocery store, shook the nation on Monday. Those killed included the first responding police officer, Eric Tally, a father of seven. The apparent shooter, 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, was taken into custody after being shot by police and has been charged wih murder. News reports indicate that Alissa was wearing a tactical vest and was armed with an assault style rifle that he bought last week. Keep reading for more news.
A series of shootings in the Atlanta area that left eight people dead is the major criminal law news story of the week and has launched the issue of increasing violence committed against Asians to the forefront of national conversation. Keep reading for more on this story and other news.
This post summarizes published criminal decisions from the North Carolina Court of Appeals released on March 16, 2021. Gabrielle Supak and Christopher Tyner prepared these summaries. As always, they will be added to Smith’s Criminal Case Compendium, a free and searchable database of case summaries from 2008 to present.