News Roundup

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump nominated Tenth Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch to the open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Widely viewed as having a similar ideological mold as the late Justice Antonin Scalia, SCOTUSblog says Gorsuch favors textualism, thinks the criminal law should be clear, and is a good writer. The Washington Post has a sample of his criminal law writing. Keep reading for more news

You’re Doing it Wrong. The News & Observer reports that North Carolina’s 98 page driver’s handbook will be expanded by a few more pages if House Bill 21 becomes law. The bill reportedly directs the DMV, along with the Highway Patrol and two law enforcement associations, to develop guidelines about proper behavior during traffic stops that will be integrated into the handbook.

Opiate Crashes. News outlet Fox 8 reports that recently there were three car crashes involving opioid use in High Point within the span of a single week. According to High Point Police, the town saw a 148% increase in heroin overdoses in 2016. As the News Roundup frequently has noted, increased opioid overdoses are a national problem.

Chrome Domes. WRAL reports that an outbreak of hair loss has struck the Wilson County justice system. In this case age isn’t the culprit, rather District Court Judge John Covolo’s colleagues are shaving their heads or adopting short cuts in a show of solidarity following Covolo’s cancer diagnosis. Covolo reportedly hopes that the compassionate gestures will help raise awareness about the disease.

Cheater Beaters. If you are planning to take the North Carolina bar exam in the near future, there’s little doubt that you also were planning to cheat on the exam by somehow programming the tiny “touch bar” on your new Macbook to display answers to the exam questions. Not so fast whiz kid! The Board of Law Examiners is on to your scheme and has decreed that touch bars must be disabled prior to entering the test.

The Money. The Prison Policy Institute recently released a report titled “Following the Money of Mass Incarceration.” Touted as the first of its kind, the report says that mass incarceration “costs the government and families of justice-involved people at least $182 billion every year.” The report takes a broad look at the economic impact of the American condition, taking into account not only the costs of operating correctional institutions and court systems, but also the costs related to such things as bail bonds and telephone calls.

Jury Scam. In the modern fake news environment, it can be hard to sort out what’s real and what’s fake. According to the Raleigh Police, if someone calls you saying that he or she is a deputy sheriff, threatens you with prosecution for failing to comply with a jury summons, and directs you to obtain and provide the information for a prepaid financial card in order to avoid prosecution, then you are being scammed. Just as a general rule of thumb, most situations where prepaid financial cards can be traded for relief from prosecution are suspect and should be approached with caution.

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