This week the Tenth Circuit ruled that a condition of supervised release that required a man convicted of distributing child pornography to complete a sex offender treatment program violated the Fifth Amendment. The particular program at issue included a sexual history polygraph that required the man to answer questions about whether he had committed sexual crimes for which he was never charged. The program also required him to “sign an agreement instructing the treatment provider to report any discovered sexual crimes to appropriate authorities.” The court determined that the threat of being returned to prison for refusing to answer the polygraph questions, and thus violating supervised release, unconstitutionally compelled the man to be a witness against himself. Keep reading for more news.
Radar Problems. The News and Observer reports that the Wake County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing pending cases involving radar guns that were not in compliance with annual certification requirements. The report says that there are 60-70 pending cases involving radar guns that were out of compliance. Around 300 tickets were issued in stops made in patrol cars carrying non-compliant speed guns, but many of those cases have already been resolved.
Needle Exchange Legislation. WNCN reports that District 33 Senator Stan Bingham has introduced legislation intended to create needle exchange programs in North Carolina. The article says that the programs may be run by the county health departments. The objectives of the program are to reduce the spread of bloodborne diseases, reduce needlestick injuries to law enforcement and emergency personnel, and encourage drug users to enroll in evidence-based treatment. The legislation includes protections from prosecution for possession of needles obtained from the exchange program.
Treatment After Naloxone Overdose-Reversal. The News Roundup has previously noted the increasing use of the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone by law enforcement and other emergency responders. The Wall Street Journal reports that Prince was revived by the drug from a Percocet overdose six days before he died last month. The report indicates that while overdose rescues involving naloxone are becoming increasingly common, protocols for guiding people into addiction treatment following an overdose and rescue are relatively uncommon. Reportedly, people saved by the drug are at a high risk of overdosing soon thereafter because naloxone can trigger immediate withdrawal symptoms.
Prison Phone Charges. The Verge has a story about the high cost of making prison phone calls in some states. The story focuses on the efforts of one former prisoner and his grandmother to bring the issue to the attention of the FCC. The FCC eventually voted to institute rate caps for prison calls, but the caps have been challenged in court by phone companies.
Driving While High. An article from Ars Technica says that “[b]lood tests that try to quantify marijuana use are . . . useless at assessing how impaired a driver is, according to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.” This is an important finding because states where the drug is legal have defined a specific limit for the level of THC in a person’s blood for the purposes of impaired driving charges. Apparently the AAA study is consistent with other research that has found “no correlation between blood THC levels and impairment.” The Foundation reportedly recommends that law enforcement use “a combination of behavior and psychological tests to assess whether drivers who use marijuana are safe to drive” until a scientifically valid measure of impairment is developed.
Zimmerman Auctions Gun. Florida news outlet WOFL Fox 35 is reporting that George Zimmerman has posted an online auction for the gun that he used in 2012 to shoot and kill Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman, who was himself shot last May in a dispute with a motorist, reportedly characterized the gun as an “American Firearm Icon.” Zimmerman further indicated that proceeds of the sale would be used to “fight [Black Lives Matter] violence against Law Enforcement officers” and be used against both the prosecutor who handled the Trayvon Martin case and Hillary Clinton. The general reaction to the auction from the public seems to be outrage, but Zimmerman told WOFL: “I’m a free American. I can do what I want with my possessions.” At the time of writing the online auction was not accessible and there were reports that the website, gunbroker.com, may have cancelled the auction.