News Roundup

The big news at the General Assembly this week was the introduction of the House budget bill. Recent projections of a budget surplus contributed to a proposal to spend about 6% more than last year, including millions more for the courts and a 2% raise for most state employees. The News and Observer reports here that the AOC is “very pleased” with the House budget. Of course, there’s a long way to go before the budget is final.

In other news:

North Carolina ACLU releases app for recording law enforcement. As explained on the organization’s website, the North Carolina ACLU has just released a smartphone app that allows users to record law enforcement officers engaged in possible misconduct and send the footage to ACLU for review. Several other state chapters have recently released similar apps.

Wake Forest law professor on excessive court costs and fees. Ron Wright, a professor at Wake Forest’s law school, co-authored this Huffington Post article about excessive costs and fees in criminal cases. The article starts by describing some of the questionable costs and fees in place in Ferguson, Missouri, and the incentives that such costs and fees create. It then moves on to proposing a “statewide Commission on Criminal Fees.” Regular readers will recall Shea’s previous post explaining that few of the most widely condemned practices used in Ferguson are replicated here in North Carolina. Nonetheless, our criminal costs and fees keep climbing, with no end in sight, and the idea of taking a global look at them may have merit.

Summer criminal law webinar from the Indigent Defense Education group at the SOG. On June 5, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., School of Government faculty members John Rubin and Alyson Grine will do a criminal case law and legislative update webinar. It’s free for IDS employees, $75 for everyone else, and offers 1.5 hours of CLE credit. More details and registration information are here.

A sartorial revolution for attorneys. Finally, I will send some School of Government promotional merchandise to the first North Carolina attorney who wears a Suitsy to court. What’s a Suitsy? According to this Gizmodo review, it is “an adult-seized pajama onesie disguised as a full business suit.” The description is pretty much all you need to know, but it raises the obvious question: How did society exist without this before now? Additional things I’d like to know include whether it has “shoes” and whether there is a model designed for women.

Have a great holiday weekend. We’ll take Monday off but will be back with a new post on Tuesday as usual.

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