News Roundup

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Late last week five Dallas police officers were shot and killed in an ambush attack while working at a protest against the officer-involved shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota that the News Roundup reported last week.  In addition to the officers who were killed, nine other officers and two civilians were injured.  The Dallas Morning News has comprehensive coverage of the attack here.  It has been reported that the gunman, Micah Xavier Johnson, “was upset about the recent police shootings” and said that “he wanted to kill white people.”  Johnson had served in the military and carried out the ambush from an elevated position using an assault rifle; he was killed by police using a bomb robot after a standoff.  The incident reportedly is the deadliest attack on U.S. law enforcement since September 11 and is a reminder of the danger officers across the country face while they work to keep communities safe.  Keep reading for more news.

Bomb Robot.  As mentioned, Johnson was killed by police using a bomb robot as a delivery vehicle for C-4 explosive.  This is an unconventional tactic, with Popular Science reporting that it was the first time that a robot has ever killed a person with a bomb while under police command in the United States.  Law Professor Eugene Volokh weighs in on the legality of the tactic here.

Open Carry.  A number of marchers attending the Dallas protest were themselves carrying “military-style rifles” according to this report from the New York Times.  As it is in North Carolina, it is legal to open carry a rifle in public in Texas.  The Times report says that there is disagreement between Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown and open carry activist C. J. Grisham about whether the presence of protestors armed with rifles caused confusion when the attack started.

Gaston County DA Won’t Pursue Death Penalty.  The Gaston Gazette reports that Gaston County District Attorney Locke Bell says that his office will no longer seek the death penalty in eligible cases.  Bell says that, though he supports capital punishment, prosecuting death penalty cases is too time consuming and expensive since, in his view, the state Supreme Court is not going to allow executions to be carried out.

Earlier this year, former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake wrote that after decades of experience in the criminal justice system he had concluded that the death penalty probably cannot be implemented constitutionally under the Eighth Amendment.

Court of Appeals Seat.  As the North Carolina Lawyers Weekly reports, the candidate filing period for the open seat on the Court of Appeals began Monday at the State Board of Elections and is open until noon today.  Every candidate who files will appear on the November ballot.

Fox Back on Bench.  WRAL reports that Superior Court Judge Carl Fox is back on the bench after receiving a life-saving blood marrow transplant.  Fox was diagnosed last year with myelodysplastic syndrome and was given three months to live.

Prosecutor Resigns.  WRAL also reports that Wake County Assistant District Attorney Colleen Janssen resigned Friday.  As the News Roundup previously noted, Janssen had been on paid leave following an appellate court ruling that she violated two defendants’ rights by withholding evidence and failing to correct false testimony in jointly tried robbery and assault cases.

RTI to Investigate HB2 Premise.  RTI International has announced that it “will self-fund research to better understand LGBTQ communities and violence in the United States.”  The announcement says that researchers are skeptical of the premise motivating HB2 that “allowing transgender people to use the restroom of the gender with which they identify opens a gateway for victimization of women and children.”

Pokémon Safety.  Everybody’s playing Pokémon Go, but it’s only fun if you stay safe while you try to catch them all.  Luckily, people around the country have provided terrific examples of what not to do:  Don’t try to snag a Charizard while you’re driving; Don’t be lured into an armed robbery in pursuit of a Squirtle; Don’t have your phone stolen while you’re snaring a Wigglytuff.  Common sense precautions will keep you in the game and out of harm’s way.

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