News Roundup

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This has been a busy but inspiring week for me, as we have had over 40 new prosecutors here at the School of Government for training. It is always a treat for me to work with aspiring public servants, and this group has impressed me as particularly serious and committed. But the world has not stopped turning while I have been immersed in this training program:

1. I blogged here about Superior Court Judge Greg Weeks’ recent ruling under the Racial Justice Act, and noted that the state has announced its intention to appeal. Professor Doug Berman argues here that the state might be better served by not appealing and instead focusing on future cases. I’m not sure I’m convinced, but of course, it’s not my decision.

2. Former Senator John Edwards’ trial continues in Greensboro. As far as I can tell from reading the newspaper, it is embarrassing for all involved, with former aide Andrew Young admitting that he spent the donations in question in large part on his large personal home outside Chapel Hill, which includes a swimming pool and home theater. He says that he “lost [his] perspective.”

3. Speaking of the News and Observer, it recently ran this article about the legal job market in the Triangle. The article’s thesis is that the market, while still weak, is getting better. As evidence, it reports that one career services officer at a local law school has seen a reduction in students breaking down in tears in her office. I guess that’s progress.

4. The big national news this week was the oral argument before the United States Supreme Court about Arizona’s anti-illegal-immigration law. The basic issue is whether the federal government’s authority to regulate immigration precludes states from promulgating their own immigration initiatives. A lower federal court barred enforcement of Arizona’s law, but this oral argument recap suggests that the Supreme Court may reverse, at least as to some of the law’s provisions.

5. In Florida, George Zimmerman was released on bond despite being charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman testified at the hearing, and told Martin’s parents “I am sorry for the loss of your son,” and “I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I am, and I did not know if he was armed or not.” It’s not common for a defendant to testify at a bond hearing, but at least one commentator thinks it was a brilliant public relations maneuver.

6. Finally, I was again torn this week about which bizarre story to highlight at the end of this post. Should I feature this story about the savvy probationer who tried to sell marijuana to his probation officer? Or this one about a proposed Egyptian law that apparently would authorize a husband to have sex with his wife’s body within six hours after her death? In the end, I decided on this cringe-worthy story about Michigan judge Wade McCree, who allegedly sent a shirtless picture of himself to his female bailiff. The bailiff’s husband was not amused and reported the judge to the state’s Judicial Tenure Commission. Asked about the incident by a news reporter waving a copy of the image, the judge, who is also married, apparently said “[h]ot dog, yep that’s me. . . I’ve got no shame in my game.” Or shame, period, apparently.

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