Because a snowstorm is supposed to trap many of us in our homes this weekend, I thought I’d highlight some news items that may be of interest.
1. Judges Wynn and Diaz have moved one step closer to seats on the Fourth Circuit.
2. There have been developments in several high-profile North Carolina criminal cases: Ruffin Poole, former aide to Governor Easley, has been charged in federal court with corruption-related offenses. Several defense lawyers and a court staffer in Johnston County recently pleaded guilty in connection with the filing of bogus dismissals in DWI cases. (A related case against a prosecutor remains pending.) And a judge in Wake County dismissed AWDWISI charges against a man whose pit bull mauled a six year old. Because I have a long-standing interest in animal law, the last item is particularly noteworthy to me. The case appears to involve nuanced legal issues that I’d like to write about at some point; if anyone knows of other cases involving similar issues, I’d like to hear about them.
3. Although the above items are high-profile around here, the chatter nationally is focused on California. The top story there is that a Los Angeles judge has ordered filmmaker Roman Polanski to return to the United States for sentencing in his sexual assault case, rather than being sentenced in absentia from Switzerland. The whole case has a Hollywood feel, with the latest developments including a filing by the victim on behalf of Polanski, arguing that the prosecutors have not paid enough heed to her belief that the case should be thrown out. Speaking of Hollywood, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has floated the idea of building prisons in Mexico to hold California inmates, on the theory that such prisons would cost less to construct and less to operate.
4. On the lighter side, the Seventh Circuit has upheld a rule forbidding prison inmates from playing Dungeons & Dragons for fear that it will inspire gang activity; a German man was caught at an airport with 44 protected lizards in his underwear; an alleged Florida car thief was arrested playing the video game Grand Theft Auto; and the UK has started projecting the faces of wanted criminals onto the sides of castles.