News Roundup

Reuters reported this week that Yahoo “secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers’ incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials.”  Reuters says that the government sent Yahoo a classified request to search the email accounts, likely under the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.  The scope of the surveillance is unprecedented and involved “hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts.”  The revelation comes just a month after the company announced that state-sponsored hackers stole information from 500 million Yahoo accounts in 2014.  Change those passwords and keep reading for more news.

Charlotte.  The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department released full-length dash and body camera footage of the Keith Lamont Scott shooting this week, according to the Charlotte Observer.  A separate report from the Observer says that the police department has asked the Police Foundation, an organization with the stated mission of advancing policing through innovation and science, to review the department’s policies and procedures.  CMPD Chief Kerr Putney announced his commitment to developing a consistent and transparent process for releasing video footage in the future.

DWI Murder Trial.  As WRAL reports, trial is underway in Hillsborough for Chandler Michael Kania, the former UNC student charged with second-degree murder for driving the wrong way on I-85 while drunk and causing a crash that killed three people and seriously injured another.  The News & Observer reports that one juror has been dismissed after falling asleep for nearly half an hour during the trial; the juror was replaced with an alternate.  Earlier this week Kania pleaded guilty to various other charges arising from the incident.

SCOTUS.  A pair of stories from NPR remind us that the U.S. Supreme Court began a new term this week.  This piece says that the shorthanded court is off to a “restrained start” and quotes Justice Kagan commending Chief Justice Roberts for trying to “keep to a minimum number of cases where we just throw up our hands and say we can’t reach a decision.”  Kagan lamented, however, that the purpose of the Court is to decide “hotly contested issues” but that doing so is difficult when there’s potential for a 4-4 tie vote.

Another NPR story notes that the Court “heard arguments Wednesday in the case of Duane Buck, a convicted Texas murderer sentenced to die after a psychologist testified that he was more likely to commit violent crimes in the future because he is black.”  Remarkably, the psychologist who provided the testimony was hired by the defense.  Buck is seeking a new sentencing hearing.

Chicago Violence.  An interesting article from Slate suggests that the current “out-of-control gun violence” in Chicago may be attributable to a policing strategy that dismantled gangs in the mid 1990’s.  According to the article, over a ten-year period law enforcement systematically targeted and the leaders of highly organized gangs that controlled the city’s illegal drug trade.  This strategy resulted in the successful prosecution of many gang leaders, but caused a “proliferation of small gangs.”  The article posits that without the discipline of a sophisticated hierarchical structure, the remaining gang “shards” engage in “attitude-driven” violence that is less predictable than the drug-turf-driven violence of the past.

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