The lead story this week is the intersection of college sports and criminal law. Consider (1) former UNC professor Julius Nyang’oro has been charged with obtaining property by false pretenses in connection with an alleged no-show summer school class filled with UNC football players; (2) N.C. State running back Shadrach Thornton has been suspended from the team because he has been charged with marijuana and drug paraphernalia offenses and is a suspect in a sexual battery investigation; (3) Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston will not be charged with sexual assault after a long-delayed investigation by Tallahassee police, so he will play against mighty Duke in the ACC championship this weekend, though a civil suit or other legal action remains possible; and (4) most disturbing of all, an Alabama fan apparently shot and killed another Alabama fan after the Crimson Tide lost to Auburn, allegedly because the latter wasn’t sufficiently upset about the defeat.
It’s a little off topic for this blog, but readers, do you think that universities should get out of the big-time athletics business?
In other news:
1. Judge John Smith, director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, told the General Assembly that the courts are understaffed, underfunded, and are operating using an antiquated computer system. Also, the sun rose in the east today.
2. The United States Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina has agreed to look into the vehicle seizures that took place in Hamlet. Shea addressed part of that story on the blog about a week ago.
3. A supplement to Arrest, Search, and Investigation in North Carolina is now available. The AOC will provide copies to judges, prosecutors, PDs, magistrates, and select others, hopefully by mid-December. For everyone else, it’s $25 and is available here.
4. The Fourth Circuit just decided United States v. Robertson, an interesting case about whether consent to search was voluntary when several officers went to a bus shelter while investigating a suspicious foot chase, asked an occupant of the shelter whether he had “anything illegal,” and then asked “do you mind if I search you?” at which point the occupant turned around and raised his arms. A divided panel found that this was “begrudging submission to a command,” not consent. Professor Orin Kerr has a post about the case over at the Volokh Conspiracy.
5. Finally, I loved this story at Ars Technica, noting that “[f]our people were arrested in Calhoun, Georgia this week for using a six-rotor helicopter drone to deliver tobacco to a state prison. Operating from nearby woods, the group used binoculars to navigate the drone over the prison’s fences,” but were caught when a guard noticed the large helicopter and initiated a search. Amazon, they are not.