This post summarizes published criminal decisions from the North Carolina Court of Appeals released on March 15, 2022. These summaries will be added to Smith’s Criminal Case Compendium, a free and searchable database of case summaries from 2008 to present.
As the Associated Press reports, countries around the world are calling for an investigation of whether Russia has committed war crimes during its invasion of Ukraine. In a joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda, Vice President Kamala Harris expressed the US Government’s support for the investigation, saying that Russia had committed “atrocities” during the invasion by bombing civilian areas, including an attack on a maternity hospital in Ukraine. Keep reading for more news.
As Reuters reports, this week Purdue Pharma and its owners the Sackler family agreed to pay $6 billion to resolve litigation brought by a group of state attorneys general related to the company’s substantial culpability for the American opioid epidemic. The deal is part of bankruptcy proceedings that, if approved, will result in Purdue Pharma ceasing to exist. In 2020 Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges related to its distribution of OxyContin. Keep reading for more news.
As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan were convicted this week by a federal jury of hate crimes related to their murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia two years ago. All three men were convicted of state murder charges in December of last year. Outside the courthouse, Arbery’s family celebrated the verdict and thanked supporters for standing by them in what they called a “very long, stressful fight” for justice. Keep reading for more news.
The Associated press reports that the families of nine victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting have settled a lawsuit against Remington Arms for $73 million. The suit alleged that Remington marketed the AR-15 style assault rifle used in the shooting in a dangerous manner by promoting its destructive capability and associating it with violence. Twenty-six people were killed at Sandy Hook in 2012 by a lone gunman; twenty of the victims were young children.
As WCYB reports, two men who escaped from the Sullivan County Jail in Tennessee died after a motor vehicle chase across North Carolina ended in a crash in Brunswick County earlier this week. Escapees Tobias Carr and Timothy Sarver allegedly were involved in a robbery at a convenience store in Onslow County and then were chased across several North Carolina jurisdictions before their vehicle was disabled and crashed. Precise details of the incident were unavailable at the time of writing. Keep reading for more news.
Emergency response officials and personnel at the state and local level deserve special recognition this week for their handling of the extremely dangerous fire at a fertilizer production facility in Winston-Salem. As the Winston-Salem Journal reports, a massive fire broke out at the Winston Weaver fertilizer plant on Monday night, prompting emergency responders to go door-to-door to warn residents within one mile of the site to evacuate their homes because of the possibility that roughly 600 tons of ammonium nitrate could explode and devastate the surrounding area. The threat of an explosion was diminishing at the time of writing. Keep reading for more news.
Yesterday Justice Stephen Breyer announced that he will retire from the United States Supreme Court when the court takes its summer recess later this year, assuming that his successor has been confirmed by that time. As a profile from SCOTUSblog explains, Breyer was nominated to the Supreme Court by former President Bill Clinton in 1994 after serving for 14 years on the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals. President Joe Biden made a campaign pledge to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court and said yesterday that he intends to follow through on that commitment by the end of February. Keep reading for more news.
The AOC recently announced in a press release that Lydia Hoza has been appointed as the first chief public defender in Judicial District 27B, which includes Cleveland and Lincoln counties. The establishment of the new office was part of the state budget passed late last year. Hoza, who previously served as an assistant district attorney in Lincoln County, will be responsible for hiring thirteen attorneys and seven support staff who will work out of offices in both counties.
The shooting death of Andrew Walker by an off-duty Cumberland County Sheriff’s Deputy has drawn significant attention this week. Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin told ABC 11 that in his opinion Cumberland deputy Jeffrey Hash should be charged with a crime for shooting Walker, who Hash said jumped on his truck and ripped off a windshield wiper which Walker then used to beat the windshield as Hash and his family were in the vehicle. A judge recently authorized the release of body camera footage from officers who responded to the incident. Keep reading for more news.