News Roundup

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This week, the mighty fell. Locally, Dana Cope, the former director of the State Employees Association of North Carolina, pled guilty to spending $570,000 of the Association’s money on personal expenses, like landscaping, flying lessons, a trip to China, a home theater system, clothing, and much more. During his court appearance, Cope acknowledged “I am a thief.” He received a sentence of 58 to 82 months in prison. WRAL has the story here. Nationally, Subway spokesman Jared Fogle was sentenced to 15.5 years in federal prison after admitting he possessed child pornography and had sex with minors. The sentence exceeded prosecutors’ recommendation of 12.5 years. Fogle will also pay $1.4 million in restitution. Reuters has the details here.

In other news:

The Ferguson effect, or the other Ferguson effect? Over at Sentencing Law & Policy, Professor Doug Berman has a post up noting that FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Loretta Lynch disagree about whether crime is up as a result of less proactive policing after Ferguson: Comey seems to think so, while Lynch sees no empirical data to support the idea. Berman takes Lynch’s view, and suggests further that looking for a “Ferguson effect” on police may be looking in the wrong place. He argues that Ferguson may have had an effect on citizens by reducing respect for law and increasing criminality. It’s an interesting idea and he cites some social science literature that provides at least indirect support.

Crowdfunding criminal defense. The Marshall Project has this piece up, noting that on crowdfunding sites, “[i]t’s not uncommon to find requests for bail money, legal fees, fines, or even to underwrite payments for expert witnesses at trial.” Some work, others don’t, and most donations come from friends and family, many of whom can barely afford the contributions that they make.

Military justice system hiding child sex crimes? The Associated Press just published this article, which begins: “More inmates are in U.S. military prisons for sex crimes against children than for any other offense . . . but an opaque justice system prevents the public from knowing the full scope of the crimes or how much time the prisoners spend behind bars.” The piece is worth a read, especially since we are in what sometimes claims to be the most military-friendly state in the nation.

In women behind bars, we’re number two. So reports the Prison Policy Initiative here, with a bevy of supporting graphs and tables. The United States is slightly behind Thailand in our female incarceration rate, but we are ahead of all other nations and far ahead of other developed nations. At 97 out of every 100,000 women incarcerated, North Carolina is somewhat below average among the states.

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