News Roundup

My family and I went to the State Fair last weekend, the same day as Bobby Joe Snyder, the third registered sex offender to be arrested at the Fair this year. WRAL has the story here. We had a good time, watching some clogging, cheering for the Axe Women Loggers of Maine, and eating fried Oreos.

In other news:

Fourth Circuit to rehear cell site location information case. I blogged here about United States v. Graham, the case in which the Fourth Circuit ruled that a search warrant is required to access cell site location information over a protracted period. The court has granted the Government’s petition for rehearing en banc. Stay tuned for future developments.

FBI Director feels a “chill wind blowing through American law enforcement.” FBI Director James Comey recently gave a speech at the University of Chicago Law School. It was wide-ranging, touching on his affinity for basketball, his work as a prosecutor, sentencing reform, and policing. One part of the speech has proven controversial: Comey’s suggestion that some major cities have seen a spike in violent crime because police feel besieged, in part by a rise in citizens’ video recording of officers, and so are less vigorous in their work. The text of the entire speech is here. I found it thoughtful and worth reading, but whatever the accuracy of Comey’s suggestion, I seriously doubt that the people-recording-the-cops genie is going back in the bottle.

Deputy fired after arrest of student. In a related development, the Associated Press notes here that cellphone video played a major role in the firing of a South Carolina School Resource Officer for using excessive force in arresting a 16-year-old girl. The New York Times reports skeptically here on the rise of the School Resource Officer.

Debate over sentencing reform. Speaking of the Times, its Room for Debate section showcases different perspectives on the question, will crime rise if more people are kept out of prison? Of course, the answer to that question is only one piece of the larger puzzle of sentencing reform. Another is whether current sentencing is fair and reasonable. Justice Kennedy doesn’t think so, describing long prison sentences as part of “an injustice of great proportions” in a recent address. Sentencing Law and Policy has the story here.

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