Seven inmates were killed and many others were wounded during a prison riot in South Carolina on Sunday night. Columbia newspaper The State reports that a disagreement over gang territory and contraband erupted into a massive and violent fight that spanned three dormitories at Lee Correctional Institution, a maximum-security facility located between Columbia and Florence. The report from The State paints a bleak picture of Lee Correctional and other South Carolina prisons, saying that the state’s prisons as a whole “are rife with violence, illegal weapons, and gangs.” The incident is the nation’s deadliest prison riot in 25 years. Keep reading for more news.
On Monday morning, the FBI executed a series of search warrants at the home, office, and hotel room of Michael Cohen, a personal attorney for President Donald Trump and a former executive at the Trump Organization. News reports say that the warrants were sought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York based on a referral by the Office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, and that Cohen is under investigation for bank fraud, wire fraud, and campaign finance violations. Keep reading for more news. Continue reading →
Wednesday was the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the country has celebrated his legacy this week while also reflecting on our national obligation to continue to work towards a society of equal justice. The Associated Press has republished selections of its contemporaneous coverage of King’s assassination, and the News Hour aired a segment discussing King’s enduring influence on campaigns for civil rights. Keep reading for more news.
The hunt for a serial bomber in Austin, Texas, who killed two people and injured several others with homemade package bombs was this week’s leading national criminal law news story. After a weeks-long investigation involving state and federal law enforcement agencies, authorities came to suspect that 23-year-old Mark Conditt was the bomber. As officers closed in on Conditt, he killed himself by detonating a bomb inside his vehicle. The New York Times has an article describing the meticulous police work that cracked the case, and the Austin Statesman has full coverage of the terrifying bombing spree. Keep reading for more news.
Students across the country walked out of class for 17 minutes at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday morning in a mass protest against gun violence in the wake of the school shooting in Florida last month. The demonstration came exactly one month after the shooting and the 17-minute duration represents the 17 people who were killed. At Columbine High School in Colorado, students added 13 minutes to their protest to represent the victims of the 1999 shooting at that school. Keep reading for more news.
This week the Justice Department sued California Governor Jerry Brown and the state’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, alleging that certain recently enacted California immigration laws are unconstitutional. The New York Times says that the laws “restrict when and how local law enforcement can cooperate with federal immigration enforcement officers.” The Justice Department’s position is that the laws “reflect a deliberate effort by California to obstruct the United States’ enforcement of federal immigration law.” Keep reading for more news.
Last month, Jeff blogged about the backlog of rape kits in North Carolina and other jurisdictions across the country. At the time of his post, there wasn’t a great deal of information available about the magnitude of the backlog in North Carolina, but Jeff noted that a 2017 law required law enforcement agencies to inventory their kits and report their findings to the State Crime Laboratory. The Associated Press reported this week that the results of that process show that North Carolina has more than 15,000 untested kits. At a press conference, Attorney General Josh Stein made proposals for testing the kits and tracking the status of kits collected in the future. Keep reading for more news.
The Durham Herald Sun reports that after District Court Judge Fred Battaglia acquitted one defendant and dismissed charges against two others allegedly involved in destroying a Confederate monument in Durham last year, Durham District Attorney Roger Echols announced that his office was dropping all remaining charges arising from the incident. Echols said that because the evidence against the remaining defendants was the same as that introduced in the trials this week, it would be a misuse of state resources to continue to pursue the prosecutions. Keep reading for more news.
Yet again this week, our nation confronts the tragedy of a mass shooting. Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of murder following an attack on Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. Cruz was a student at the school but had been expelled. For perspective on where this incident falls among the more than 40 active shooter episodes at schools in the United States since 2000, 12 people were killed at Columbine and 26 were killed at Sandy Hook; two were killed last month in Kentucky. Three of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern United States history have occurred in the last five months. Keep reading for more news.
As the Associated press reports, last week United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced a new policy regarding immigration arrests at courthouses. The policy appears to suggest that ICE primarily will enter courthouses to arrest specific “targeted aliens” who have criminal convictions, are gang members, pose a threat to public safety, have been ordered removed from the United States, or have illegally re-entered the country after being removed. The policy says that aliens encountered in the process of making an arrest of a targeted person, such as the target’s family members or friends, will not be arrested “absent special circumstances.” Keep reading for more news.