News Roundup

The New Hampshire presidential primary happened Tuesday.  Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders won the contest for their respective parties.  Politico reports that the New Hampshire results forecast an intense battle in the coming months for the presidential nomination in each political party.  There was not any sports news whatsoever this week, so let’s take a look at the legal news:

Cyberbullying.  The Volokh Conspiracy blogs here that on Wednesday of next week the North Carolina Supreme Court will hear a facial challenge to our state’s cyberbullying statute in State v. Bishop.  The post describes a friend-of-the-court brief that UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh and a student submitted in the case.  The brief argues that North Carolina’s statute is overbroad “because it suppresses a great deal of constitutionally protected speech.”

Candid Camera.  The Wall Street Journal reports here that the American Bar Association is urging the United States Supreme Court to allow cameras in the courtroom to record oral arguments.  Some justices have expressed reluctance about the idea because of the potential that it could influence the dynamics of oral arguments.

Can’t Resist It.  Ars Technica reports here that a new study published in the journal Criminology & Public Policy suggests that people who are exposed to Tasers may be more likely to waive their Miranda rights after being tased.  In addition, the study reportedly suggests that “Taser-exposed” suspects may experience cognitive declines that could influence whether their Miranda waivers are given voluntarily and also could result in inaccurate responses to interrogation.  The study, funded by the Justice Department, noted that more than 2 million people have been tased in the past decade.

When Keeping It Real Goes Too Far.  The Washington Post reports that a misunderstanding at an after-school tennis practice in California has culminated in a $5.7 million civil judgment against two attorneys who were formerly husband and wife.  A jury awarded the money to Kelli Peters who was framed for drug possession by attorneys Jill and Kent Easter.  Apparently Jill Easter mistakenly believed that a comment Peters made regarding Easter’s son was derogatory and decided that the best way to remedy the slight would be to have her (now ex-) husband plant drugs in Peters’ car and report her to the police.  What could go wrong?  Seemingly everything.

Would You Like a Crocodilian With That?  While North Carolina has had its own share of assaults with unusual deadly weapons, see, e.g., State v. Mills, 221 N.C. App. 409 (2012) (sufficient evidence that lawn chair was a deadly weapon), perhaps no state has a prouder history of creative assaults than Florida.  The Washington Post reports here that Joshua James, known to his mother as a “prankster” who engages in “stupid prank[s] . . . because he thinks it’s funny,” carried on the Sunshine State’s tradition last fall by tossing a live alligator through the drive-through window of a Wendy’s restaurant.  On Tuesday, James, who is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, was ordered by a judge to stay away from all Wendy’s restaurants and have no contact with animals other than his mother’s dog.


2 thoughts on “News Roundup”

  1. Ars Technica reports here that a new study published in the journal Criminology & Public Policy suggests that people who are exposed to Tasers may be more likely to waive their Miranda rights after being tased.

    JW Schrecker: Or maybe it’s simply nothing more than their brain being “shocked” into normalcy and their decisions the product of a cured (albeit mostly temporarily) mind. Is not Electroconvulsive therapy still practiced today?

    Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), formerly known as electroshock therapy and often referred to as shock treatment, is a psychiatric treatment in which seizures are electrically induced in patients to provide relief from psychiatric illnesses. It is the only currently used form of shock therapy in psychiatry.


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