News Roundup

Shea blogged here about the same-sex marriage rulings in North Carolina’s federal courts, and the potential criminal law and other issues those rulings present for North Carolina magistrates. There have been a bevy of developments since, including a decision by the Sixth Circuit upholding a ban on same-sex marriage, apparently teeing the issue up for the Supreme Court, and a dispute between Senator Phil Berger and the Administrative Office of the Courts about whether magistrates may refuse to perform same-sex marriages based on sincerely-held religious beliefs. WRAL covers the latter story, including a link to the latest AOC letter on the issue, here. I also recommend my colleague Michael Crowell’s detailed exploration of the issue, here. But that’s far from the only big story of the week.

In other news:

Move to unseal Charlotte records related to Stingrays. The Charlotte Observer posted this follow-up to its earlier story about cell site emulators, or Stingrays. The Observer has moved to unseal old applications and orders concerning Stingrays, and the story quotes several judges who appeared to favor unsealing. However, the FBI takes the position that Stingrays are a national security technology and that proceedings about them should remain secret, so some federal involvement in the fracas seems possible. I posted about the law of Stingrays – such as it is – here.

Pot prohibition polls poorly. The alliteration is a bit of a stretch, but the point is that marijuana legalization initiatives did well on election day. CNN reports here that Alaska and Oregon followed Colorado and Washington to more-or-less complete legalization at the state level, while Washington DC adopted a narrower legalization measure that could still be reversed by Congress. Even marijuana’s main “defeat” this cycle – the failure of a proposed state constitutional amendment in Florida regarding medical marijuana – gained 57% support from voters, though 60% is the standard under Florida law.

Is the lane line in the lane, or out of the lane? A question that comes up in sports (is the line in or out?) and apparently in math (it is an open interval or a closed interval?) comes up in traffic cases, too. For an interesting exploration of the issue, consider this blog post at the Volokh Conspiracy.

Former Charlotte mayor votes illegally, put on house arrest. Former Charlotte mayor Patrick Cannon has been convicted and sentenced in federal court in connection with accepting bribes from undercover FBI agents. However, he has a couple of weeks left before he is required to report to federal prison to serve his 44-month sentence. This Tuesday, he took advantage of his freedom to head to the polls, which, as a convicted felon, he may not do. The Charlotte Observer apparently brought this to the attention of the court, which called Cannon in for a hearing. He explained that he voted without thinking and that “[t]he light just didn’t come on that day.” Cannon was placed on house arrest with electronic monitoring until he reports to serve his sentence. The Observer’s story is here.

The problem with wearing an “I [heart] crystal meth” t-shirt. Finally, a head-scratcher. A Colorado woman was arrested on meth charges while wearing a t-shirt proclaiming her affection for the drug. The local story, complete with photo, is here. Points for anyone who can explain why she might have thought that was a good clothing choice. Bonus points for anyone who can analyze the admissibility of the picture if her case goes to trial.

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