News Roundup

The top of the news this week is SB 10, which appears to have passed the state Senate. (You can see the bill’s progress here.) Readers of this blog will be most interested in section 2.8 of the legislation, which, effective July 1, 2013, would abolish all 12 special superior court judgeships that are not connected to the business courts. Republicans contend that the special superior court judges carry few cases and that judges should in any event be elected, not appointed by the governor. The fiscal note accompanying the bill estimates a savings of at least $2 million annually from the move, less any money spent hiring emergency (retired) judges at $400 per day. The News and Observer lists the 12 potentially affected judges here; all were appointed by Democratic governors. The paper also notes that there are questions about the constitutionality of abolishing occupied judgeships. The legal issues there strike me as fairly complicated; I hope to entice a knowledgeable colleague to weigh in on the question soon.

In other news:

1. Speaking of Democratic governors, Mike Easley has regained his license to practice law after a two-year suspension resulting from his felony conviction under the campaign finance laws. WRAL has the details here.

2. Last week, a vendor of internet sweepstakes obtained a TRO prohibiting the enforcement of G.S. 14-306.4. But this week, a judge dismissed the case, opening the door (again) to enforcement of the law. More here courtesy of the Greensboro News and Record.

3. Nationally, there continues to be significant interest in gun control measures, including new criminal laws. I recently appeared on a (very) local TV show to discuss the issue. The hour-long video is below, and is available at this link.

4. If an hour isn’t enough for you, or if you want a more detailed, legal analysis of Second Amendment issues, I’m planning a free webinar on the law of guns and gun control. We’re still finalizing the details but it will take place on Wednesday, March 20; basic information is available here.

5. The recent suicide of internet activist and federal criminal defendant Aaron Swartz has led Congress and others to focus on the exercise of prosecutorial discretion. Among other interesting pieces, check out this paper by Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds about the connection between prosecutorial discretion and overcriminalization. I may have something to say on the latter subject myself at a later time.

6. Finally, a bit of blog news. We went over 1,000 posts this week. I use the blog every day in my work, and I’m deeply grateful to my colleagues who contribute posts, and to readers who contribute comments and suggestions.


5 thoughts on “News Roundup”

  1. Hi Jeff,

    I wonder why Wake County Court judges are hearing complex cases that they should be referring to the N.C. Business Court. For example, Judge Ridgeway recently ruled against Newton’s Laws of Physics in the Red Light Robber case, pled by physicist Brian Ceccarelli and his attorney Paul Stam.

    Physicist Brian Cecerelli illustrated to Wake Court Judge Ridgeway that the Town of Cary’s red light traffic program was defective because the yellow lights were improperly calculated so that a driver could not stop safely in time. But Judge Ridgeway ruled against Newton’s Law of Physics:

    “Judge Ridgeway said Cary had met its legal obligation under state law when it established a program using cameras to catch drivers running red lights. Even if it could be shown that state DOT engineers should have set longer yellow-light times at some intersections, Ridgeway said, there was no cause to make the town repay the $50 penalties collected from an estimated 9,500 drivers who were covered in the case.“The town of Cary is pleased with the judge’s ruling,” Lisa Glover, Cary’s assistant town attorney, said afterward.”


    Read more here:

    Read more about the Red light robber fraud here:

    “Traffic engineers systematically misapply a physics formula to yellow light durations. Engineers’ ignorance of what the formula means and their misapplication of the formula yield practices that violate physical laws of MOTION. The specific law they violate is the equation of motion “a = dv/dt.” The violation, “2a = dv/dt”, forces all drivers to habitually run red lights.” – http://WWW.REDLIGHTROBBER.COM

    “If red light cameras worked as billed, then there would no continuous supply of money. But the money flows regularly.” -WWW.REDLIGHTROBBER.COM

    And Judge Ridgeway failed to recognize that this is a national problem.

  2. Check out Senate Bill 272 signed into law by Gov. Perdue in 2011. The title of the bill is “Victims’ Crime Compensation.” But if you read page 2 of the bill, you’ll see that there is a clause stating that the NC State Bar is allowed to keep its accounting on its IOLTA trust fund confidential. What does the NC State Bar’s IOLTA trust fund have to do with Victim’s crime compensation?And check out this email from the NC State Controller’s office stating that the NC State Bar doesn’t account for its IOLTA fund as required by state reporting requirements:

    Now check out the state laws pertaining to state agency reporting requirements:

    NCGS §143.20.1 – Annual financial statements required for all state agencies.

    NCGS §143-D-7 – Accounting duties of all state agencies – provide and certify correct fiscal information to state controller.

    § 143C-2-1. Governor is Director of the Budget.

    GOP leader Tom Fetzer noticed Gov. Perdue’s defective accounting procedures when he reviewed her campaign reporting and asked Wake DA Willoughby to investigate this in 2010 but Willoughby never did:

  3. Mazel tov on 1,000 posts. I am interested to see what you guys think about the constitutionality of eliminating the judges’ posts while they are in term. I came across Article 17 of our state Constitution in my research, but I didn’t have the time to devote to reading the cases interpreting that section.

  4. Will North Carolina ever enact a Stop and Identify law like 24 other states have done? We have one in 20-29 regarding legally stopped motor vehicles.


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