News Roundup

My favorite story this week concerns the alleged criminal mastermind who was charged with trying to steal copper . . . “from a construction site where the Garner Police Department is building a new station.” WRAL has the story here. We’ll see if he cops a plea to copping the cops’ copper.

In other news:

Constitutional amendment hits the press. Our report on the proposed constitutional amendment that would enable felony defendants to choose a bench trial instead of a jury trial has sparked a media firestorm! OK, mild media interest. But that’s still more than the amendment had received previously. Among other stories, I did this interview with NPR, and stories appeared in the News and Observer and on WRAL.

Seats left in new misdemeanor defender program. Public defenders and private lawyers who do indigent defense work are invited to fill the last few seats in the new misdemeanor defender training program, to be held September 16 to September 19 at the School of Government. The program always gets rave reviews. Full details are available here.

Open carry, state by state. Folks interested in the ebb and flow of gun rights may be interested in this story on the WSJ Law Blog, which includes a state-by-state map of where open carry is allowed without a permit, where it’s allowed with a permit, and where it’s prohibited. As I’ve noted previously on the blog, open carry is generally legal in North Carolina and does not require a license.

Judge orders bailiff to shock defendant. Finally, a story from Maryland that is shocking both literally and figuratively. Judge Robert Nalley ordered a bailiff to administer a shock to a self-represented “sovereign citizen” defendant. The defendant apparently was disruptive but not threatening. Nonetheless, the judge told the bailiff to “do it” and “use it,” resulting in the administration of a shock via a restraint device. The shock left the defendant on the ground screaming. The court has declined to produce the security video of the incident, on grounds that doing so could “compromise[] . . . security protocols.” The Baltimore Post Examiner has the story here and here.

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