News Roundup

The Jones GPS tracking case was the biggest legal news of the week. I blogged about it here, and plan to post some additional thoughts next week, but in the meantime, it is worth noting the Supreme Court Haiku capturing the case:

GPS on car

Cops installed and monitored

“Search” that needs warrant

In other news, which I will not attempt to summarize in 17 syllables:

1. Governor Perdue announced that she will not seek re-election. Over at Crime and Consequences, there’s an attempt to draw a connection between her veto of the de facto repeal of the Racial Justice Act, her approval ratings, and her decision. Whether one buys that argument or not, it’s a safe bet that if a Republican captures the governorship this fall, the RJA will come under scrutiny again.

2. One of the few death row inmates who has not filed under the RJA is Danny Hembree, Jr. Instead, he decided to write a letter to his hometown newspaper “predicting he’ll spend many years as a gentleman of leisure, watching color TV and enjoying frequent naps,” as summarized by the News and Observer here. Hembree was convicted of killing a 17-year-old girl after having sex with her, and has been charged with killing two other women, meaning that whatever amount of leisure he enjoys, he can’t fairly be described as a “gentleman.”

3. On a cheerier note, the new edition of Bob Farb’s Arrest, Search, and Investigation is being rolled out through the AOC. It should start reaching end users late this month or early next. Groups currently on the distribution list include

  • Judges (district and superior)
  • District Attorneys and Assistant District Attorneys
  • Public Defenders and Assistant Public Defenders
  • Appellate Defenders
  • Magistrates

4. In Wake County, Superior Court Judge Don Stephens has removed a juror from the high-profile retrial of the Jason Young case, based on the juror’s posts on an internet message board that he would be among the “worst jurors ever” and that he was trying to drink his way out of jury service. Classy. WRAL has the story here. But he didn’t wind up in anything like the amount of trouble that an English juror is facing for internet-related misconduct: According to Ars Technica, “[a]n English court has sentenced a juror to six months in prison for contempt of court after she performed research on the Internet and forced the abandonment of a criminal trial.” Essentially, she Googled the defendant and found out about prior bad acts that were inadmissible at trial.

5. In Fayetteville, the City Council has voted to impose a moratorium on consent searches during traffic stops, sparked by allegations of disparate treatment of minority motorists. The City has commissioned an outside review of its police practices. The decision to prohibit consent searches has been intensely controversial, politically and legally, with some arguing that the Council has the authority to control the police department like any other department of the municipal government, and others arguing that the Council may not infringe on the statutorily provided powers of police officers, including the power under G.S. 15A-221 to conduct consent searches. The Fayeteville Observer has the story here, but it is entirely possible that we have not heard the last of it.

6. Finally, for those who think that depictions of trials by courtroom sketch artists are simply too static, you may be interested in the efforts of Cleveland’s CBS affiliate to cover a locally significant corruption trial. No sketches involved — instead, the station re-enacted key moments in the trial using puppets. Inspired by the case, I’m sure that some 2L somewhere is now thinking about writing a student note asking whether remote testimony by puppet might pass constitutional muster under the Confrontation Clause.

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