There was lots of news this week about judges new and old, so let’s start with that, then move on to the rest:
- Jeff Hunt, until now the elected district attorney for district 29B (Henderson, Polke, and Transylvania counties), has been named a special superior court judge. Assistant district attorney Doug Pearson will be the acting district attorney. Congratulations to both. Details here.
- Superior Court Judge Gary Trawick became just the seventh judge to hold court in all 100 counties. Chief Justice Parker was on hand to mark the milestone, which, as explained in this article from the Ashe Mountain Times, may never be reached again as budget realities constrain judges’ travel.
- The National Law Review has this interview with new court of appeals judge Mark Davis. His top pet peeve? Tyops.
- Sentencing Law and Policy notes here that a career federal public defender – and Duke alumna – has been confirmed to a seat on the Eighth Circuit and is already generating talk about a possible future Supreme Court nomination.
- Turning from judges to legislators, today is “crossover day” at the General Assembly. Basically, bills that don’t pass at least one chamber by today get put on the shelf for this session. The News and Observer has this rundown of what’s still alive, including a possible repeal of the Racial Justice Act and a bill expanding prosecutors’ authority to convene investigative grand juries, as they are able to do in the federal system.
- The National Traffic Safety Board issued a recommendation that states set .05 as the new blood alcohol limit for impaired driving, down from the .08 that is uniformly the threshold under current law. The USA Today has the story here, including the response from the American Beverage Institute (opposed) and an assessment of the likelihood of states adopting the lower limit (low for now).
- The Justices of the Supreme Court are increasingly diverse, at least in terms of race and sex. The lawyers who appear before the court? Not so much. This Huffington Post article begins, “In roughly 75 hours of arguments at the Supreme Court since October, only one African-American lawyer appeared before the [J]ustices, and for just over 11 minutes.” It goes on to discuss Latino lawyers, female lawyers, and whether this issue will solve itself over time. (Side note about diversity among the Justices: Unless I am mistaken, all of the sitting Justices went to law school at Harvard or Yale, with Justice O’Connor, who slummed it at Stanford, being the last Justice who went elsewhere.)
- Finally, check out this story from the Shelby Star. It begins: “A Kings Mountain woman was arrested Saturday and charged with assault inflicting serious injury after beating another woman with a Bible, according to arrest warrants.” I knew that the Good Book had many uses, but that’s one I hadn’t thought of. (It sounds like the victim wasn’t hurt too badly, and I certainly hope that’s the case.)