Potentially capital federal charges have been filed against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in connection with the Boston marathon bombings. The filing of charges led to an initial appearance – in the hospital – before a federal magistrate judge, who advised Tsarnaev of his Miranda rights in the course of the proceeding. (Investigators had not previously read him his rights, apparently on the controversial theory that the public safety exception applied.) The advisement, in turn, apparently resulted in Tsarnaev refusing to speak further with officers. The Wall Street Journal has the story here.
In other news:
1. Governor McCrory signed several bills this week that are related to criminal law, making human trafficking a reportable sex offense and increasing the punishment for felony child abuse. The News and Observer summarizes the action here.
2. A couple days ago, the United States Supreme Court decided Moncrieffe v. Holder, a crimmigration case ruling that “[i]f a noncitizen’s conviction for a marijuana distribution offense fails to establish that the offense involved either remuneration or more than a small amount of marijuana, it is not an aggravated felony” requiring deportation and barring discretionary relief therefrom. In other words, a green card holder who shares a little marijuana with his buddies may not be completely out of luck.
3. Another week, another video sweepstakes acquittal. This one took place in Macon County. The News and Observer reports here that “the game [in question], and the kiosk it’s in, markets and sells . . . gift certificates . . . that can be used at [a specific] website.” The defense attorneys apparently argued that “[s]ales of the cards . . . are promoted with free entry into sweepstakes games that require skill and dexterity,” which leaves them outside the scope of G.S. 14-306.4. I would be interested to know whether there have been convictions under the new law as well as acquittals. If anyone knows of any other case outcomes, please send me an email or post a comment.
4. Former Governors Jim Hunt and Jim Holshouser sent a letter to a variety of newspapers this week, arguing that public financing of judicial elections is important and should be retained. The letter was published in the Southern Pines Pilot here. Some Republican leaders have questioned the value of public financing, making Governor Holshouser’s statement particularly significant.
5. Finally, this week brought an abundance of stories that run from merely odd to utterly bewildering:
- Sentencing Law and Policy reports here on how four female prison guards in Baltimore were impregnated by the same inmate. Two of the women apparently got tattoos involving the man’s name.
- The Smoking Gun notes here that “[a]fter handing over her last $50 to a drug dealer . . . a Florida woman suffering from buyer’s remorse called 911 and asked cops for help in securing a refund. [She] explained to . . . police that she would be penniless until her next . . . disability check arrived. . . . Despite [her] explanation . . . officers arrested her for misusing the police emergency system.”
- Above the Law notes here that Jose Canseco, generally viewed as a steroid-using meathead, Tweeted the following about the interrogation methods to be used on the Boston marathon bombing suspect: “I also think waterboard and shoot but scalia was clear in hamdi dissent that citizens get due process.” If the guy has plowed through all the opinions in Hamdi, he’s a step ahead of me.
- Finally, the Sixth Circuit upheld a sentence of 30 days in jail for contempt after a man used a cell phone to Tweet during a federal sentencing hearing. The Cleveland Plain Dealer has the skinny here.