News Roundup

In Chapel Hill, the top story is District Attorney Jim Woodall’s decision not to charge former UNC employee Deborah Crowder in connection with the athletic/academic/no-show classes scandal. The Herald Sun has the story here, but the key detail is that the decision not to prosecute was based in part on Crowder’s ongoing cooperation, both in the criminal investigation and in UNC’s own renewed investigation. Sounds like interesting information may be forthcoming.

In other news:

  1. New big dog in the AG’s office. Robert Montgomery, formerly the head of the appellate section, has been named the Senior Deputy AG for the Criminal Division. He replaces long-time leaders Jim Coman and Bill Hart, who recently retired from the AG’s office. The News and Observer reports the announcement here.
  2. Mooning the judge: inadvisable. In Alamance County, a criminal defendant had completed his business before a district court judge and was walking away when he “yanked his pants down just above his knees, exposing his underwear” to the court. According to this local story, Chief District Court Judge Jim Roberson held the defendant in contempt and sentenced him to 10 days in jail.
  3. ACIS, ACIS, everywhere? LEXIS made a public records request to the AOC, asking for a complete copy of the ACIS database. The AOC declined to provide it on various grounds, but the court of appeals just ruled in LEXIS’s favor. Does that mean we’re in for a huge proliferation of third parties offering access to the information contained in ACIS at extremely low rates? I don’t know, but those interested in this issue should check out this blog post by School of Government public records law expert Frayda Bluestein.
  4. Competition for Chief Justice. It appeared that Senior Associated Justice Mark Martin would be unopposed in his candidacy for retiring Chief Justice Sarah Parker’s seat, but Brunswick County Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis filed for the seat just before the deadline. Both she and Justice Martin are Republicans, though the election is nonpartisan. This local story reports the basics.
  5. North Carolina to be the last holdout on juvenile age? The USA Today has this story, mostly about efforts to raise the juvenile age to 18 in New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo is backing the move. If successful, it would leave North Carolina as the only state with a lower age, though the story notes that reform efforts continue in North Carolina as well.
  6. “I may have a law degree but I think like a criminal.” This is the most over-the-top, engaging, outrageous, hilarious lawyer ad I can recall, by Pittsburgh defense attorney Daniel Muessig. Other good lines include “laws are arbitrary” and “I make jail visits – I’ll probably be there visiting my friends anyway.” It may undermine respect for the law, and it’s three minutes of your life that you’ll never get back, but it’s still well worth a look.
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