News Roundup

A couple of news items caught struck me during this holiday-shortened week.

Impact of Riley on pending cases. I’ve started to have questions about the impact of Riley v. California, the Supreme Court case barring cell phone searches incident to arrest, on pending cases. The analysis is a bit of a long story. A good place to start is with this blog post on the Volokh Conspiracy, and its discussion of whether the exclusionary rule should apply to cell phone searches done in good faith pre-Riley. A complete discussion in North Carolina would also need to include State v. Carter, the case that rejected, under the state constitution, the Leon good-faith-reliance-on-a-search-warrant exception to the exclusionary rule.

LegalZoom bill goes zoom, zoom? The legislature has made some progress on a budget but it isn’t done yet. Meanwhile, a few other bills of interest remain alive. One is H 663, which has passed the House and is being considered by the Senate. It would define the practice of law to exclude “[t]he design, creation . . . publication, distribution, display, or sale, including by means of an Internet Web site, of self-help legal written materials, books, documents, templates, forms, computer software, or similar products if the products clearly and conspicuously state that the products are not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.” In other words, it’s a LegalZoom bill. Perhaps predictably, the North Carolina Bar Association opposes it. LegalZoom’s not much help with criminal law matters yet, but general practitioners should be aware of this.

Writ of what now? Back to the Supreme Court. Everyone knows that the Court takes most of its cases by granting writs of certiorari. Now, say the word “certiorari” aloud. Listen to your own pronunciation carefully. Now check out this National Law Journal article to find out which Justice pronounces the word like you do. Is it Justice Kennedy, who “pronounce[s] it ‘ser-shee-or-ARR-eye,’ so that the end rhymes with ‘far ‘cry’”? Or is it “Justice Sonia Sotomayor[, who] drops an entire syllable, pronouncing the word as ‘ser-shee-ARR-ee.’” Or are you with “Retired Justice John Paul Stevens[, who] led a faction that pronounces the word to rhyme with ‘Ferrari,’ as in ‘ser-shee-or-RAHR-ee’”? Be careful: “Another group led by Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. has adopted ‘ser-shee-or-RARE-eye,’ rhyming with ‘fair guy.’” You don’t want to cross the Chief.

The grass is always browner. Fourth and finally, although North Carolina can be a crazy state, it is good to know that other states have their foibles, too. Nebraska accidentally released hundreds of prisoners before they finished their sentences and didn’t notice for years. New York’s police have launched a crackdown on “underground acrobats who flip, somersault and pole-dance among New York City subway riders” in search of tips, with over 200 arrests so far this year. And in Florida – of course, Florida – a fugitive tried to throw the police off his trail by calling 911 and falsely reporting that he had seen himself running away from his actual location. End result: he got “Tased” before being arrested.

Have a great weekend, everyone. Stay away from the subway acrobatics and try to work the word “certiorari” into your cookout conversations.

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