Partisan judicial elections may be returning to North Carolina. House Bill 8, which passed its second reading with a 64-49 vote, mostly along party lines, would make appellate court elections partisan. Trial court elections would remain non-partisan. The News and Observer has the story here.
In other news:
Bizarre murder case in Wayne County. A Wayne County man who killed a community college employee this week has been arrested in Florida, has returned to North Carolina and has appeared in court. He has admitted the murder, asserting that he is a neo-Nazi who hates gay people, and stating that he killed the victim because he made advances towards the defendant’s brother. The defendant has also admitted to several other homicides, including some that appear not to have taken place. WRAL’s latest story is here.
Free legal research tool. According to this Volokh Conspiracy article, Google has made it easier to search judicial decisions in the Google Scholar database, and has even provided a dedicated browser button for that purpose. I haven’t tried it, but it sounds like it works well, and did I mention? It’s free.
Large firm moves new hire salary to $200,000. You wouldn’t need a free research tool, or a free anything else, if you worked at Williams and Connolly in Washington, DC. It has just boosted its base salary to $200,000 for new hires, and of course, more for more senior folks. Ironically, I’m administering new prosecutors’ school this week, talking to lots of new assistant district attorneys making $40,000 per year but handling hundreds of cases each week on their own.
National death penalty support declines. The Pew Research Center has a new report finding that support for the death penalty has declined somewhat, with 56 percent in favor and 38 percent opposed. Detailed statistical results from the Pew survey are here and are interesting.
Free range parenting? I admit to being behind the times in certain regards, but I had never heard of “free range parenting” before this week. Apparently, proponents of this strategy believe in giving their children considerable freedom to move around outside unsupervised, thereby developing competence and self-reliance. It has been in the news because a couple in Maryland is under investigation after permitting their 10- and 6-year-old children to walk together to and from a park about a mile from their home. As far as I can tell from this CNN story, the investigation is a social services matter at this point, not a criminal case, but the basic issue is whether the parents have committed child neglect. What say you, readers?