News Roundup

Nationally, the news of the moment is that Attorney General Eric Holder will resign as soon as a successor is confirmed. California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Manhattan United States Attorney Preet Bharara are among those reputed to be candidates for the position. Holder is keeping busy even as he plans his departure. His resignation comes the same week that he delivered a speech advocating criminal law reform and stating that “the United States will never be able to prosecute or incarcerate its way to becoming a safer nation.”

In other news:

Former state judge nominated to the federal bench. President Obama nominated Loretta Biggs to be a United States District Judge for the Middle District of North Carolina. Ms. Biggs is in private practice in Winston-Salem. She previously served as a state district court judge, and briefly on the court of appeals. If confirmed, I believe that she would be the first black woman to serve on the Middle District bench. The Winston-Salem Journal has the story here.

Federal court records to be restored. Speaking of the federal courts, Ars Technica reports here that the Administrative Office of the United States Courts has reversed course. It previously planned to delete 10 years’ worth of electronic filings from several circuit courts as part of an upgrade and unification of the PACER system. After public outcry and political pressure, the filings will instead be incorporated into the new system.

FBI study on active shooter incidents. The McClatchy Washington Bureau reports here on a just-released FBI study of “[a]ctive shooter incidents, in which gunmen try to kill people in a populated area.” The takeaway is that such incidents are becoming more common – up from about 6 per year in the early 2000s to over 16 per year since. In part, the FBI blames the copycat phenomenon for the increase.

Cary teen charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle. Shea wrote this week about the death of 15-year-old Laura Yost. She was a passenger in her friend Spencer Saunders’s car when he apparently turned left in front of a truck, resulting in a fatal accident. Shea pondered the possibility of criminal charges, and WRAL reports here that Saunders has indeed been charged. WRAL also has an article here about how the greatest risk factor for teen drivers is not texting while driving, but teen passengers.

DOC rolling out new uniforms . . . The Charlotte Observer reports here on the new uniforms soon to be worn by corrections officers in North Carolina’s prison system. They look sharp! Clip-on ties up the sartorial ante without compromising officer safety, and the fabrics used will apparently perform better than those in the current getups.

. . . and mountains of veggies. Inmates at the Caledonia Prison Farm in Halifax County grew a bumper crop of squash this year. According to this report, they have donated 4,500 cases of canned squash to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. Guessing that each case contains 12 cans, that’s 54,000 cans of squash, or enough to feed a family a can of squash per day for 148 years!

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