News Roundup

195 new bills were filed in the North Carolina Senate yesterday, the deadline for filing new bills in that chamber this session. I haven’t reviewed all the new bills – or all the bills filed before yesterday, for that matter.  But a few items of interest include:

  • SB 520, which would expand the state’s indecent exposure law, possibly in response to the recent incident in Charlotte that I noted here
  • SB 579, which would allow the Commissioner of Agriculture to regulate concealed carry at the State Fair
  • SB 589, which would amend the habitual felon laws in a way that appears to be intended to clarify that previous convictions from New Jersey, which uses the term “crime” rather than “felony” as discussed here, would count
  • SB 613, the short title of which is “Prohibit Discriminatory Profiling”
  • SB 619, “Grey’s Law,” which would make various changes related to impaired driving and which I surmise is named after the DOT employee struck and killed just a few days ago
  • SB 641, which would expand eligibility for concealed handgun permits and limit sheriffs’ authority to investigate applicants and to impose application requirements not set forth in the statute
  • SB 684, which would require a judge considering a defendant’s proposed waiver of a jury trial to ask for and consider the State’s position, and determine whether the waiver is being “tendered in good faith and is not a tactic to procure an otherwise impermissible procedural advantage”


Of course, I should not omit mention of SB 559, which would make the Linville Caverns Spider the official state spider.

In other news:

Miller v. Alabama retroactivity headed to the Supreme Court, again. Miller is the case that forbade mandatory life without parole sentences for juvenile murderers. The courts are split on whether it applies retroactively. The Supreme Court granted certiorari in a case to address that issue, but the case became moot when the defendant was resentenced to a term of years. The Supreme Court just granted certiorari in a new case to hear the Miller retroactivity issue, as noted here at Sentencing Law & Policy.

Justices talk to Congress, criticize “broken” system. Associate Justices Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer addressed the House Appropriations Committee earlier this week. In the course of their appearance, they were asked about a wide range of topics. In response to questions, Kennedy described the corrections system as “broken” and criticized the “total incarceration” approach to crime control, while Breyer criticized mandatory minimum sentences. Stories about their appearance are here (Think Progress) and here (WSJ).

Former NFL player Darren Sharper sentence “an outrage”? Finally, I was struck by the resolution of the cases involving former NFL player Darren Sharper. Sharper, a former all-pro safety, pled guilty or no contest this week in courts in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Arizona – and will soon plead guilty in New Orleans as part of a “global” plea deal – in connection with nine sexual assaults. He has effectively admitted to drugging and raping a series of women over several years. The Los Angeles Times has the story here. Under the terms of the agreement, he’s expected to serve a total of just under nine years in federal prison. This New Orleans article reflects a variety of perspectives on the agreement, but most are somewhere between “a sweetheart deal” and “an outrage.” I am not deeply familiar with the case and don’t know what weaknesses the cases may have had or what the victims’ wishes were. But my first reaction is to share the view that Sharper got less time than he deserved for what appears to have been premeditated serial rape. If you’ve been following the case and have thoughts, please share them.

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