News Roundup

As the Charlotte Observer reports, Mecklenburg District Attorney Andrew Murray announced Wednesday that the officer who fatally shot Keith Lamont Scott earlier this year lawfully used deadly force and will not face criminal charges.  Murray explained that a CMPD and SBI investigation into the shooting indicated that Scott was armed with a handgun during the deadly confrontation with officers and ignored commands to drop the weapon.  According to another report by the Observer, protestors marched from CMPD headquarters to the city center following the announcement; speakers at the protest called for increased police transparency.  Keep reading for more news.

Ohio State Attack.  The Columbus Dispatch has comprehensive coverage of an attack on Ohio State campus Monday morning that involved a man running into pedestrians with a car and then cutting people with a butcher knife.  Eleven people were injured in the attack, and the suspect, 18-year-old Ohio State student Abdul Razak Ali Artan, was shot and killed by a police officer.  One article from the Dispatch says that the FBI is investigating whether Artan had any involvement with ISIS.

Charlotte School of Law on Probation.  The National Law Journal reports that the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has voted to place Charlotte School of Law on probation for failing to comply with accreditation requirements related to maintaining sound admissions policies and only admitting qualified applicants.  According to the report, the ABA also concluded that the school was not in compliance with the requirement of maintaining a rigorous program of legal education that properly prepares students for participation in the legal profession.  The school remains accredited and has two years to achieve compliance with the accreditation requirements.   

Bond Fraud.  WRAL reports that a former Wake County assistant clerk of court pleaded guilty to criminal charges arising from “conspiring with bail bondsmen to change court records on the computer for a fee.”  The report says that over a five-year period former clerk Kelvin Ballentine falsified electronic court records in 307 cases to reflect that bondsmen had paid bonds for criminal defendants who failed to appear in court.  One bondsman involved in the scheme has been acquitted while two others have been convicted.

Flag Burning.  The Washington Post’s Volokh Conspiracy blog has a piece this week explaining that flag burning is a form of constitutionally protected speech.  The post comes in response to a tweet earlier this week from President-elect Donald Trump expressing his view that the penalty for flag burning should be a year in jail or loss of citizenship.

SOG Education and Entertainment.  Exciting news – there are two SOG happenings likely to be of particular interest to the many loyal readers of the North Carolina Criminal Law Blog.  First, John and Shea are presenting the Winter Criminal Law Webinar on December 9 (next Friday) from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Co-sponsored by IDS, the live webinar covers recent state and federal appellate cases as well as new legislation from the General Assembly.  It’s worth 1.5 CLE hours.

Second, a new episode of the SOG’s Beyond the Bench podcast is available. Hosted by Sara DePasquale, the new episode (Episode 3 – The Trial: Adjudicating Neglect) picks up where the last one ended, with the adjudicatory hearing for alleged child neglect in two different cases the podcast is following.  Spoiler Alert! There are two different outcomes.  Quit reading and get to listening.

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