News Roundup

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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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6 comments on “News Roundup

  1. puppets court is much more believable than real court. clients dress better also

  2. Consent searches are nothing more than legalized bullying and trickery of ignorant people to undermine their rights and perceptions of police powers. Out of 100 consent searches about 10 will find some petty contraband and cost the taxpayers millions before resolution.

    There should be widespread education, beginning in elementary school, as to how to interact with police during any confrontation in a manner that protects rights a privacy. The vast majority of the public is easily intimidated by police, our supposed servants, and will cave and endure humiliating and intensive searches on the roadsie even when clean as a whistle.

    What is so difficult about saying : ” I do NOT consent to any searches…am I free to leave or are you detaining me?” Citizens should know that if they stand their ground, most cops will back off…the ones that do not then can face lawsuits or discipline for violating rights, and all illegal searches should be reported and protested…something the minority community has long been unable to do effectively due to discrimination and police reluctance to taking complaints and covering up for each other.

    Consent requests should be banned altogether; no RS or PC, let them go.

    • Here here on education. We have a HUGE problem here. This is a nation governed by law (supposedly), and it seems the laws that are meant to regulate government ARE NOT KNOWN by the People, and seem to be withheld from them as well, sic they are rarely enforced

  3. Not sure I understand the argument that a city council cannot order its law enforcement officers to stop performing consent searches during motor vehicle stops. Ultimately, law enforcement officers serve the community, they are employed by the community, and the community should have the ability to constrain their exercise of police power in whatever way they see fit (as long as it’s not done in a discriminatory manner). The alternative is a police power disconnected from any local control, and that is certainly not what is contemplated by our General Statutes.

    Just my humble opinion, of course.

  4. Consent is almost never knowingly and intelligently given by citizens who find themselves under accusation, implied or directly, by a cop who wants a search hoping to hit on some petty contraband and give them more overtime in court and more notches on their arrest numbers. It is a sad and pathetic fact, undeniable, that the vast majority of Americans are in fear of cops naturally do to their demeanor and bullying manner…demanding answers and implying that if you do not give up your rights and kow tow to them that you will be in real trouble.

    Cops routinely press for consent without any reason other than playing the odds game because they know that even dirty drivers, etc. will likely roll over with enough pressure and threats and allow a search . All our lives as kids we were taufght that we never defy a cop, no matter what, and that they are in charge and can kill or ruin your life at their whim, so never cross them….that old canard should be a thing of the past, as citizens learn the truth:

    If a stranger approached you and asked for permission to search yoiur personal and private items, without casue, you would no doubt, I hope, tell them NO,,get the hell away fro me!
    What kind of nut walks up to a citizen and demands the right to look into all private areas?
    But put a badge on that same shameless bullying guy and people react totally opposite; they will obey without question and think saying NO will somehow harm them or anger the cop. It is a sick system that makes a citizen worry about whether or not some cop is mad !

    Consent searches undermine areas where victims are harrassed; the street people naturally fear and hate the cops because of the indignity of a search and the cops tking their sweet time writing ticket so a dog can arrive before the time is up and a violation has occurred.

    Most cops love to tear into and home with reckless abandon , hping to find a joint orpill to use as justifiction to ramp up arrests records, and they do not have any shame about their actions, which we all know make the cop even more egregious in his busive nature.

    Consent requests should ONLY be allowed when the cop has real and articulable evidence that evidence of a crime would be found,;after advising the citizen that they had every right to refuse the requestsfrom the cops . If a cop sees something in plain view, they will not ask permission to search, they just will. Anytime a cop asks, that means that they actually have no RS or PC and are hoping that the citizen is so uninformed as to their rights that they will comply with no legal need to do so.

    I had it happen once at a roadblock for ” ID” checks, and after giving my papers back the cop said” Do you have any drugs or guns or bombs in your car do you? I said nothing. The the cop said: do you have something to hide?’ I said ” No, I have something to protect, the Constitution.” Millions of our soldiers have died to preserve my rights and I consider it un-American to flush their sacrifices in the toilet so you can go on a fishing trip in my car with no legal right to” . OFFICER,you took an oath to protect and preserve the Constitution, nd every time you demand that some American throw those precious rights away you are demeaning the blood shed so we could have prortections against warrantless searches.

    Consent requests should be banned, forever. All they do is anger and embarrass the victim, who in 90% of all cases has nothing illegal and who has to sit or be cuffed and tortured while the inquisition carries on, on the side of a road. The reall disturbing reason for banning consent requests is that very few people know their rights and are not intimidated by a loud, bullying, blustering, lying cop who turns mean as soon as they realize that they have someone who will not swallow their pill…that makes them mad…as if we should not dare to argue or refuse their ” requests “. Consent is almost never willing..the people fear telling a cop NO even when carrying contraband. Fear, lack of education and past experiences with cops make many people cower and allow anything the cops wants because they feel that he will violate you worse if you refuse and that they will do what they want to anyway.

    Sad state of affairs…cops using deceptive and threatening practices to gain consent,,,anything a cop wants but has to ask for is a sure fire sign that you had better not allow them to proceed. Consent demands demean the public and no one wants the embarrassment of being picked thru by cops on a busy highway while the cops desperately hunt for anything they can use against the citizen…that makes hate.

  5. Per NCGS § 143C-2-1, Governor Perdue is Director of the NC Budget. So it wasn’t a good idea for her to ignore the State auditor’s audit of the NC Administrative Office of the Courts which revealed over $100 million in mismanaged funds, and then to award Chief Justice Sarah Parker a lifetime achievement award (because Parker oversees the NC AOC per NCGS 7A-33, and 7A-34).

    Yesterday the USDOJ released its report on the NC AOC which revealed gross mismanagement of federal funds and subsequent constitutional abuse of thousands of defendants in NC. Gov. Perdue can no longer cover up the crime in the AOC. If she’s lucky, she won’t go to jail for the next 14 years like ex-Illinois governor is for public corruption.

    Gov. Perdue, Lt. Gov. Dalton and Tillis also signed Bill 272 which allows the NC State Bar to evade state and federal tax. This is prosecutable under Internal Revenue Code Title 26.

    USDOJ report:

    http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/cor/TitleVI/030812_DOJ_Letter_to_NC_AOC.pdf

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