President Obama announced that he has selected Merrick B. Garland as his nominee for the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. The New York Times has an overview article about the nomination that states that it “sets in motion a standoff that is likely to play out for many months, perhaps without resolution.” Garland is currently serving as the chief judge of the District of Columbia Circuit, and reportedly is broadly respected for his work. A range of news outlets have published pieces on Garland’s background. The Obama administration’s is here; The Chicago Tribune’s is here; Newsweek’s is here; The Atlantic’s is here. The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog has a collection of reactions to the nomination from people in the legal field here. Hit the break for more news.
Clemency Program Backlogged. Reuters reports that President Obama’s clemency program for certain federal offenders “is struggling under a deluge of unprocessed cases.” The report indicates that more than 8,000 cases have yet to make it to the DOJ because the vetting process of a volunteer lawyers’ group is moving slowly. More than 44,000 applications for clemency have been submitted and a law professor quoted in the report estimates that about 1,500 prisoners should be eligible for commutation. So far, “[o]nly 187 inmates have had their sentences commuted.”
Man Who Survived Execution May Be Executed. The Associated Press reports that the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled, in a 4-3 decision, that the state may again attempt to execute death row inmate Romell Broom. Ohio has already tried to execute Broom once, but the 2009 execution went awry because attempts to properly insert an IV catheter were unsuccessful. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that a second execution attempt would not constitute double jeopardy or cruel and unusual punishment. The court’s slip opinion is available here.
Police Chief Supports Public Release of Law Enforcement Video. WRAL reports that Fayetteville Police Chief Harold Medlock “supports the publication of all law enforcement video gathered from dashboard and body cameras.” The News Roundup previously has noted Jeff’s op-ed in the N&O and interview with NPR that each discuss balancing privacy and transparency when it comes to public release of law enforcement video.
Concealed Weapon Owner Saves Day. The Seattle Times reports that a regular customer of a Seattle area 7-Eleven shot and killed a man who attacked the store’s clerk with a hatchet. The customer had a concealed weapon permit and was armed with a handgun at the time of the hatchet attack. A sergeant with the King County Sheriff’s Department said that the customer likely saved the clerk’s life. The clerk said that the customer was a “‘very nice’ guy.”
Stolen Bikes Recovered by “Bike Repo Batman.” With more news out of the Emerald City, the Seattle Times reports that a local vigilante hero has taken the law into his own hands and is recovering stolen bikes advertised for sale online. When the mysterious crusader identifies a stolen bike offered for sale, he arranges to meet the seller and then offers the thief the option of relinquishing the bike on the spot or waiting for the cops to show up. A Seattle Police detective said that bike thefts are driven by the city’s heroin epidemic.
He’s Sorry. The MLive Media Group reports that a Michigan man, Brian Earl Taylor, “surprised a courtroom of onlookers when he sang a song for Washtenaw County Trial Court Judge Darlene O’Brien after addressing the court” at his sentencing hearing. Taylor performed an apologetic a cappella number, loosely based on the melody of the Adele hit “Hello,” that explained that he was “sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry” about the incident that culminated with him being convicted for unlawful imprisonment and carrying a concealed weapon. A video is available at the link.