News Roundup

For the last day or so, the headlines have been dominated by the multiple murder at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Law enforcement arrested Dylan Roof, 21, in Shelby, North Carolina. Roof is white, while the nine victims were black. Race appears to have been part of Roof’s motive. WRAL has the story here.

In other news:

New York prison break prompts call for GPS implants. CBS reports here that the successful escape of two inmates from a maximum security prison in New York has led at least one state senator there to propose implanting some convicts with GPS tracking devices. Any actual legislation would surely result in an Eighth Amendment challenge. I wouldn’t bet any significant sum of money either way on the outcome.

Gun bill passes NC House without controversial provisions. The News and Observer reports here that this year’s gun rights bill has passed the House and moved on to the Senate, but without its most polarizing provisions: the repeal of the handgun purchase permit system and the authorization for legislators with concealed carry permits to carry in the legislature.

State budget update. The House passed its budget. The Senate has now passed its quite different budget. Comparing the two as they pertain to the court system, the News and Observer reports here that “[t]he woefully out-of-date technology at the Administrative Office of the Courts would receive nothing from the Senate budget,” while “[t]he House budgeted $12 million for the first fiscal year, and another $7 million the next.” Further, “[t]he Senate would spend about twice as much as the House into a fund that pays private appointed attorneys for indigent defendants, in order to reduce a shortfall that has built up over several years leading to late payments,” but would cut the Capital Defender’s Office budget by one fifth. The two chambers will now attempt to resolve their differences, a process that could take weeks.

Stealing isn’t a crime in baseball. Well, stealing bases isn’t. Stealing signs isn’t a crime but is considered poor form, I think. Hacking into another team’s computer system to steal its database of player intelligence – as the St. Louis Cardinals are alleged to have done to the Houston Astros – is a federal offense. Professor Orin Kerr breaks it down here.

High tech helps officers enforce cyclist safety measures. I am an on-again-off-again runner, and not much of a cyclist. But I worry about my cyclist friends a lot, mainly because most of them have been run off the road by cars and have suffered serious injuries as a result. (They continue to ride, which suggests the possibility of undiagnosed brain injuries, but I digress.) Good news for cyclists comes from Chattanooga, Tennessee, where Ars Technica reports a bicycle officer has begun patrolling “with the brand-new Bicyclist and Safe Monitoring Applied Radar Technology (BSMART), a handlebar-mounted device that uses an ultrasonic sensor to calculate the distance between the bike and a passing car. Then it displays how far away the nearest edge of the car was to the bike in inches,” and if the driver was within the three feet mandated by state law, the officer can pull the car over and give the driver a warning or a ticket.

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