News Roundup

Trial began this week in Oregon for Ammon Bundy and six codefendants facing various charges stemming from their armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge earlier this year.  The Oregonian reports that people began lining up at 7 a.m. on Tuesday to get a seat inside the courtroom. According to USA Today, each of the seven defendants is charged with conspiring to impede federal land managers through force and intimidation, and five defendants are charged with firearm offenses.  In the waning days of the standoff, the de facto spokesman for the occupation, LaVoy Finicum, was shot and killed after he fled a traffic stop and, in an ensuing confrontation with police officers and FBI agents, appeared to be preparing to draw a handgun.  Keep reading for more news.

Sexual Assault at UNC.  As USA Today reports, UNC sophomore Delaney Robinson alleges that UNC junior Allen Artis sexually assaulted her in February, and has accused the University of mishandling the investigation and showing improper favoritism towards Artis, a UNC football player.  The story is receiving national attention this week, as evidenced by the fact that it is being reported in USA Today.

According to Robinson, both the University and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office unjustifiably failed to act in response to her report.  District Attorney Jim Woodall disagrees with Robinson’s characterization of his office’s response to the incident.  In this WRAL report, Woodall says that a felony investigation is ongoing and that his office has been in regular contact with the UNC Department of Public Safety.  Robinson swore out misdemeanor warrants against Artis on Tuesday and held a press conference; Artis turned himself in on Wednesday and was released on an unsecured bond.

Job Openings.  The School of Government recently posted two job openings that blog readers may find interesting.  First, we’ve got a job opening for a Defender Educator.  The person in that position works closely with John Rubin and the Indigent Defense Education group.  Take a look at the position description and John’s recent post announcing Alyson’s departure to get an idea of the position’s responsibilities.

We’re also looking for a Judicial Curriculum Development Specialist.  As stated in the position description, “the Judicial Curriculum Development Specialist assists the Director of the Judicial College in expanding and systematizing the Judicial College’s curriculum.”  Know who’s the Director of the Judicial College?  None other than blog-reader-favorite Jeff Welty.  Polish up those resumes folks.

Post-Conviction Innocence Evidence Rule.  The News & Observer reports that on Tuesday a State Bar ethics subcommittee approved a proposed amendment to Rule of Professional Conduct 3.8 that would require prosecutors to disclose evidence of innocence obtained after conviction.  According to the report, the proposed amendment will be considered by the full ethics committee in October.

Murder Rates on the Rise.  The New York Times says that murder rates increased in 25 of the 100 largest cities in the nation in 2015.  Chicago had the most homicides of any major city by a significant margin, while Baltimore’s murder rate saw the largest increase and reached a historic high.  According to the report, the cause of the increase across cities is difficult to pinpoint but one theory regarding Baltimore is that the surge is attributable to “a flood of black-market opiates looted from pharmacies” during the 2015 riots that followed the death of Freddie Gray.

Attorneys Frame PTA Mom.  The News Roundup previously noted the strange story of Jill and Kent Easter, married California attorneys who framed the president of the PTA at their child’s school for drug possession.  The L.A. Times recently published a six-part story about the saga here.

The Dangerous Life of John McAfee.  A new documentary about the “bizarre and scandalous life of tech millionaire John McAfee” will debut on Showtime later this month.  McAfee, famous for his eponymous anti-virus software, lived in Belize for a while, and, according to the documentary, lived dangerously.  In an interview with The Verge, the filmmaker says that she came away from her investigation convinced that, among other nefarious activities, McAfee was involved in two murders and a sexual assault while living in Belize.



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