News Roundup

The North Carolina General Assembly’s short session began Monday.  On the first day of the session, supporters and opponents of HB2 held well attended dueling rallies in Raleigh according to this report from the Charlotte Business Journal.  The Wall Street Journal has a national perspective on the rallies here. Democratic legislators filed a bill to repeal HB2, but Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger has stated that repeal is not on the Republican agenda. The News and Observer reports that 54 protestors opposed to HB2 were arrested inside the Legislative building after refusing to leave House Speaker Tim Moore’s office and the area around it.  Keep reading for more news.

Veterans Treatment Court Judge Spends Night in Jail.  The Fayetteville Observer reports that Cumberland County judge Lou Olivera recently spent the night in jail.  Olivera, a veteran himself, presides over Veterans Treatment Court and had sentenced a participant to spend a night in jail as a sanction for a positive urinalysis.  Rather than have the man spend the night alone, Olivera drove him to the Robeson County jail and spent the night alongside him in a cell.  Separately, WRAL has a story about the Cumberland court’s first graduate, a man who once struggled with homelessness and substance abuse but who says that he is “a different person” after completing the program.

Crisis Intervention Training.  The News Roundup previously noted that a substantial portion of the people shot by the L.A.P.D. in the last year had documented signs of mental illness.  A report from the New York Times indicates that the Portland Police Bureau “has spent years putting in place an intensive training program and protocols for how officers deal with people with mental illness.”  This type of training, commonly known as crisis intervention training, is reportedly drawing interest from law enforcement agencies around the country.

New AOJB on Gun Permit Appeals.  If you’re like most News Roundup readers, you spend a lot of time wondering what Jeff Welty does on Fridays now and how courts should handle concealed handgun permit and pistol purchase appeals.  Well folks, Jeff writes exciting Administration of Justice Bulletins on Fridays and the newest one is all about gun permit appeals.  Hot off the press, the new AOJB is available free from the SOG.

Textalyzer.  The New York Times has an article about a new device called a Textalyzer which is purported to be “the digital equivalent of the Breathalyzer.”  The Textalyzer can be connected to a cellphone in order to determine if the phone has been recently used.  According to the report, New York lawmakers are considering a bill that would use the theory of implied consent to permit officers to use the device on a suspect’s phone at the scene of a traffic accident.

HB2 Enforcement Low Priority. WRAL reports that enforcement of HB2’s bathroom provisions is a low priority for Raleigh police.  The report indicates that local authorities have struggled to determine how to enforce the bill because it does not contain a criminal penalty and the city doesn’t have the resources to post officers outside of bathrooms to check birth certificates.  Raleigh police will continue to respond to any complaints and enforce existing criminal laws applicable to bathroom situations.

New Police Chief in Durham.  The News and Observer reports that Atlanta Deputy Police Chief Cerelyn J. Davis will be the next police chief in Durham.  Davis is the city’s second female police chief and will start work on June 6.

Former House Speaker Sentenced to Prison. The Chicago Tribune reports that former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert was sentenced to 15 months in prison this week after pleading guilty to illegally structuring bank withdrawals to avoid reporting requirements.  Hastert used the money to attempt to hide that he had sexually abused high school athletes while coaching a wrestling team.  Above the Law has an article that is critical of the proceedings in the Hastert prosecution.

Meth in Septic Tank.  According to this report, the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office recovered a quantity of methamphetamine from an unusual place late last week.  Reportedly, a suspect flushed methamphetamine down a toilet as narcotics agents executed a search warrant.  The agents were undeterred and dug up the home’s septic tank, eventually recovering “approximately 7 pounds” of what is optimistically described as “water-diluted meth.”  There are some recent North Carolina appellate court rulings that are unfavorable to defendants in cases involving mixtures of controlled substances (examples here and here); this case certainly presents a unique twist on the issue.

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