This will be the last post of 2011. I’m off next week and many of our readers are, too. It’s been a fantastic year on the blog. We rocketed past a million total hits and saw a massive increase in email subscriptions. I have been particularly happy to see a nice uptick in the number of comments being posted to the blog. Many of the comments are quite substantive, and benefit from a practice-oriented perspective that we at the School of Government sometimes don’t quite grasp. So thank you for reading, subscribing, and contributing. As always, we welcome your suggestions about how to make the blog better.
In other news:
1. In Chapel Hill, Laurence Lovette was convicted of killing Eve Carson and sentenced to life in prison without parole, as the News and Observer reports here. He is also facing a first-degree murder charge in Durham, where he is alleged to have killed Duke graduate student Abhijit Mahato.
2. I noted last week that Governor Perdue vetoed the de facto repeal of the Racial Justice Act. That led District Attorney Rick Shaffer of Lincoln and Cleveland Counties to resign from the Governor’s Crime Commission, as detailed here. Meanwhile, the Governor has called the legislature into session January 4 to address a possible override of the veto. As discussed here, the conventional wisdom is that an override vote will succeed in the Senate but fail in the House.
3. The FBI has released crime data for the first half of 2011, and has found yet another drop in violent and property crime rates. Sentencing Law and Policy has the basics and several interesting links here.
4. A couple of offbeat stories from across the nation: In Texas, an 83-year-old man has been paroled after serving nearly 60 years in prison for a variety of crimes. Asked about his plans, he initially told a reporter that he was “too damn old to do any robbing,” but then left himself a little wiggle room by saying, “I think I am anyway.” Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, an appellate court ruled that offering sex in exchange for World Series tickets isn’t prostitution.
5. Finally, one of my periodic forays into legal writing. Above the Law recently ran an item on whether “pleaded” or “pled” should be used to express the past tense of the verb “to plead.” As in, “the defendant [pled/pleaded] guilty and was sentenced to probation.” The very short summary of the item is that they’re both OK. But I wonder if there is a convention here in North Carolina. So take a moment to vote in the poll below, indicating which you use more frequently. Have a happy holiday season, and we’ll see you in the new year.