News Roundup

House Bill 2 continues to be a major topic in the local and national news this week.  As the Charlotte Observer reports, Governor McCrory defended the legislation on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday morning.  McCrory’s appearance followed his issuance of an Executive Order last week that calls for the legislature to restore a State cause of action for wrongful discharge based on employment discrimination, but does not call for changes to the controversial restroom regulations.

On Tuesday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a 2-1 decision that reversed a lower court’s dismissal of a transgender high school student’s lawsuit alleging that his local school board discriminated against him in violation of Title IX by banning him from using the boys’ restroom at his school.  The Fourth Circuit determined that the lower court did not “accord appropriate deference to the relevant Department of Education regulations” which the Department has interpreted as requiring schools to treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity.  As the Charlotte Observer reports, the McCrory administration filed a brief in the case supporting the Virginia restroom ban.

Supreme Court Hears DWI Cases.  As Shea noted in a blog post earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme court heard oral arguments Wednesday in three cases which present the question of whether, in the absence of a warrant, a state may make it a crime for a person to refuse a chemical test to detect the presence of alcohol in the person’s blood.  The Washington Post has an overview of the oral arguments here; Slate has a piece here that criticizes the quality of some of the argument.

Woman Indicted for Live-Streaming Rape.  As this blog regularly notes, advancing technology sometimes collides with criminal law in unusual ways.  Ars Technica has a disturbing report that indicates that an 18-year-old Ohio woman has been indicted on two counts of “Illegal Use of a Minor in Nudity Oriented Material or Performance” based on her conduct of live-streaming an alleged rape on Periscope.

Legislative Committee Considers Police Body Cameras. The News and Observer reports that a North Carolina legislative committee recently approved a draft bill that leaves the decision of whether to require the use of body cameras to “each [law enforcement] department in consultation with city or county officials.”  According to the report, under the draft bill camera footage would not be considered a public record, but a procedure for the release of footage would be established.

N.C. Supreme Court Names New Clerk. The AOC announced this week that J. Bryan Boyd will be appointed as the new clerk of court for the Supreme Court of North Carolina.  The current clerk, Christie Roeder, is retiring at the end of May.  Boyd currently is a law professor at Campbell University.

FAA Confirms That Shooting a Drone is a Federal Crime. Regular readers know that the News Roundup has long advocated the use of specially trained eagles to disable intrusive drones.  According to a recent report from Forbes, there’s now even more reason to employ a bird of prey for this vexing chore: the FAA has confirmed that shooting drones out of the sky with a gun is a federal crime.  Specifically, shooting down a drone violates 18 U.S.C. § 32, a statute criminalizing “destruction of aircraft or aircraft facilities.”

Important Lesson Learned the Hard Way.  The Fayetteville Observer reports that a Bladen County father, Ted Walters, “discovered Friday that his son allegedly stole hamburger and bacon from his grandmother’s freezer.”  Upon learning of this violation of law and general decency, Walters reportedly forced his way into his son’s home and shot him in the leg in order to teach him a lesson about the consequences of stealing.  The elder Walters faces criminal charges in the connection with the incident.

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