News Roundup

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President Donald Trump recently tweeted that he will name his U.S. Supreme Court nominee on Thursday of next week.  With the nomination on the horizon, various news outlets are weighing in on appointments to the federal judiciary: CBS News has a report saying that two judges, Neil Gorsuch and Thomas Hardiman, have emerged as the top contenders for the Supreme Court vacancy; Politico reports that Trump’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, is in favor of Hardiman, with whom she currently serves on the Third Circuit; The Volokh Conspiracy has a piece that discusses potential appointments to the circuit courts of appeal.  Keep reading for more news. 

Racial Justice Act.  As the News & Observer reports, a superior court judge “ruled this week against four death row inmates trying to use the short-lived Racial Justice act to have their sentences commuted to a lifetime in prison.”  Prior to the repeal of the Racial Justice Act in 2013, a different superior court judge had ruled in favor of the inmates, but that ruling was vacated and remanded to the superior court to allow prosecutors more time to respond to statistical analyses that had been presented.  Taking up the case on remand, the judge ruled that the cases could no longer proceed because of the intervening repeal of the Racial Justice Act.  The report says that the ruling is expected to be appealed and that related litigation is pending in federal court.

Final Podcast Episode.  The final episode of season two of Beyond the Bench, is available for download.  This season of the podcast has been tracking two neglect cases involving homeless juveniles.  In this final episode, listeners will learn about permanent outcomes for the family and child.  Hit the link to listen to “Obtaining Permanency” and find out what happens in the podcast’s remaining court case.

Armed March.  The Wilmington Star News reports that the Revolutionary Black Panther Party of Wilmington has “raised concerns among local officials” by announcing a plan to host an “armed human rights march and armed freedom ride” Sunday in Wilmington.  As the report notes, there is a North Carolina statute that prohibits, with certain exceptions, possessing or having immediate access to a dangerous weapon during a parade or demonstration.  Despite their reported concern, local officials quoted in the report expressed confidence that the event would pass without incident.

Mental Illness in Jails.  WRAL has a report that says that many people with mental illness are ending up in the North Carolina criminal justice system and that there is a lack of available appropriate treatment in the community.  In the report, Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison characterizes the county jail as “probably the largest mental health facility in the state.”

Charlotte School of Law.  The Atlantic has an article that discusses the current predicament of the Charlotte School of Law.  The article includes interviews with people familiar with the school and with for-profit educational institutions generally.

Beef with LaBeouf.  The New York Times reports that actor Shia LaBeouf was arrested for misdemeanor assault and harassment this week at a “livestream art installation” in New York City.  While protesting President Trump at the livestream installation, LaBeouf got into an argument with another man, pulling off the man’s scarf and scratching his face.

Arrestee Eats Officer’s Notes.  After being arrested for robbing a woman while threatening her with a stun gun in Raleigh, Montez Daquan Bascombe added a new anecdote to the sometimes-colorful law of resisting, delaying, or obstructing an officer.  While being interviewed at the station, Bascombe grabbed an officer’s handwritten notes and ate them.  Regardless of whether this constitutes resisting or obstructing, it seems that some delay in retrieving the notes would be inevitable.

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