News Roundup

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There was a steady stream of news about capital punishment this week. The Pope addressed a special joint session of Congress this week, and among many other things, asked the legislature to abolish the death penalty. The full text of the speech is here. Justice Scalia, one of the Supreme Court’s six Catholics, reportedly stated this week that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if the Court bans the penalty in the future, though he personally believes it to be constitutional. Meanwhile, State Rep. Jon Hardister, a Republican from Greensboro, indicated that he believes the death penalty should be eliminated because he doesn’t “trust the government to do it right” and stated that he is starting “conversation[s]” with other Republican legislators on the issue. Finally, Reuters published this long report, the key finding of which is that “[a] review of 2,102 state supreme court rulings on death penalty appeals . . . over the past 15 years found a strong correlation between the results in those cases and the way each state chooses its justices. In the 15 states where high court judges are directly elected, justices rejected the death sentence in 11 percent of appeals, less than half the 26 percent reversal rate in the seven states where justices are appointed.”

In other news:

Fayetteville sexting case resolved. LaToya blogged here about two Fayetteville teens who faced criminal charges as a result of consensual sexting. The matter has been resolved with what sounds like some type of misdemeanor deferred prosecution agreement for the young man. (The young woman had previously accepted a similar deal.) A local story with details is here. The agreement was apparently reached last week, but I missed it.

Untested Fayetteville rape kits destroyed. As WRAL describes here, the Fayetteville Police Department recently acknowledged that, several years ago, it destroyed over 300 untested rape kits in order to “free up space in the . . . evidence room.” Over 1,000 other rape kits remain untested. Chief Harold Medlock is, quite understandably, not happy. But problems with rape kits are not unique to Fayetteville. CNN notes here that Kentucky has over 3,000 untested kits and that there may be over 400,000 nationwide.

More charges against officers, not many convictions. The Wall Street Journal reports here that “[m]ore U.S. police officers have been charged with crimes for deadly on-duty shootings in 2015 than in any year going back a decade. But not a single officer has been convicted of murder or manslaughter this year.” Of course, serious cases take time to bring to trial, so the lack of convictions “this year” may not say much about the ultimate disposition of the cases initiated this year.

Bar passage rates plummet. Above the Law has this story, noting that scores on the multistate portion of the bar exam have fallen to their lowest level since 1988. Overall bar passage rates have also declined in many states, including North Carolina. One hypothesis is that a decline in legal job openings has led fewer smart college graduates to choose law school, which has led law schools to admit less qualified and less capable students, who are less likely to pass the bar.

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2 comments on “News Roundup

  1. There have always been a disproportionate number of police involved shootings and “other” crimes committed by police officers, both on and off-duty. Many of the crimes go undiscovered and thus, unreported and undocumented. It just appears these actions are more prevalent now due to media sensationalism via by-standers recordings that display part of an encounter that distorts the view of the average citizen. In fact, there are probably FEWER instances of police misconduct NOW simply due to the suspicion that it may be “caught on tape,” in my opinion.

  2. I can assure you that law enforcement officers have NOT changed their actions with regard to the cameras other than to feel more confident and SAFER in the proper application of legal force, deadly or otherwise Mr. Dennis Y.

    Law enforcement has quickly and willingly embraced the dash/body cameras because they save the officer’s job and credibility far more than they hurt any officer.

    If you took the time to actually research the issue you’ll find that it was City and Police Attorneys who bitterly complained and “advised” against body and dash cams saying they put the department and city at risk. Attorneys don’t like body/dash cams because they made the work of the attorney much harder in that they have to suddenly WORK and defend the department and officers because they are in the right. These attorneys could no longer take the easy path of paying off the whiners and complainers to just go away. Attorneys now actually have to argue well established law and policy and are expected to succeed. Attorneys hate that.

    These cameras aren’t showing any of the conspiracy theorists’ “disproportionate number of police involved shootings and ‘other’ crimes committed by police officers”…they ARE showing the liar violators, the racist and anti-law enforcement belligerent demeanor and verbiage towards law enforcement officers and an entire generation of spoiled, entitled brats, who believe rules and laws don’t apply to them because of parents who failed in raising their children properly.

    What you cite as fewer incidences of police misconduct is nothing more than the body/dash cameras showing the TRUTH and those complaints/whines are quickly UNFOUNDED…or simply NOT MADE because the unethical violator realizes that they won’t win the law suit lotto and may in FACT be charged with filing a FALSE police report because there was a camera.

    I assure you…we officers ARE laughing uproariously at the discomfiture of those lazy, slothful, greedy, violent, Thug Life|Prison|Gang|Welfare culture practitioners, worshipers and enablers when faced with the audio/visual proof that they lied and the officer(s) did everything right and within policy and law.

    We also find it hysterically funny when we are able to SUE the LYING VIOLATOR as happened in this incident;

    http://www.nfvzone.com/news/2012/05/24/6324832.htm

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