News Roundup

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Locally, the big criminal justice news was former UNC basketball player P.J. Hairston getting a criminal summons. He allegedly punched a high school basketball player during a pickup game at the Durham YMCA. WRAL has the story here. I don’t know whether Tar Heels are more likely to cringe when hearing Hairston’s name or that of Rashad McCants, who says that Roy Williams knew about the academic fraud at the university and claims that UNC owes him “over $10 million due to the exploitation of me as a player and the lack of education that I received.”

In other news:

New edition of Black’s Law Dictionary. Check out this interview with Bryan Garner, editor of Black’s Law Dictionary and legal writing guru. Garner explains why he decided to include “SODDI defense” and other new terms, and gives recommendations for good non-legal dictionaries as well.The tenth edition of Black’s just came out. On Amazon, you can get it for just $81.19, a discount of a full seventy-six cents off the MSRP!

New use for dog sniffs. ARS Technica reports here that police in Rhode Island have a dog that is “trained to ferret out gadgets, such as thumb drives and hard drives, that might contain kiddie porn.” To be clear, the dog can’t discern the contents of such devices, but rather is “trained to identify scents such as metals and other components” typically found in electronic gadgets.

Provocative big-picture articles. Two think pieces caught my eye this week. On CNN, New York Law School professor Robert Blecker has this article recommending five ways to improve the death penalty, including execution by firing squad and making prisons more punitive. Meanwhile, at Slate, Josh Voorhees has this piece arguing that declining crime rates are largely a result of statistical sleight of hand, because virtually all of the violence and sexual assault that takes place in prison goes uncounted.

The eternal question: is Manhattan weirder than Florida, or the reverse? Arguing for Manhattan is this article, reporting (1) that Madonna showed up for jury duty “30 minutes late for her 10 a.m. scheduled arrival time, which is an hour later than the 9 a.m. time regular prospective jurors are asked to arrive”; (2) was “with an entourage fit for a diva — two male bodyguards and two female assistants”; and (3) was quickly dismissed “because her presence was a distraction” and said on the way out that she was “proud to do [her] job.” Arguing for Florida is this story, noting that a public defender has resigned after the judge who threatened to “beat [his] ass” and allegedly assaulted him just outside the courtroom was allowed to return to the bench.

Low income residents entitled to free marijuana. At least for this week, perhaps both Manhattan and Florida will need to step aside. As a proud alumnus of UC – Berkeley, I took a stroll down memory lane when I ran across this story, which notes that “[m]edical marijuana dispensaries in Berkeley must give their pot free of charge to low-income patients under an ordinance approved by the City Council. At least 2% of the marijuana each dispensary doles out needs to be given free to [Berkeley residents] who have ‘very low’ incomes [of under $32,000 per year for an individual]. . . . The ordinance also stipulates that [the] free pot must be the same quality, on average, as the pot that other members buy.” I wonder if some city employee is responsible for sampling the free pot and the paid pot to make sure that they are equally effective.

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