News Roundup

A Wilmington traffic stop involving an Uber driver has received national attention over the past two weeks because officers involved in the stop falsely told the driver, who happened to be a lawyer, that it was illegal to film police.  Jesse Bright, a criminal defense attorney and part-time Uber driver, was using his cellphone to record his traffic stop when an officer told him to stop recording because it violated a recently enacted law.  In fact, there is no such law and Wilmington and New Hanover County law enforcement officials later released statements confirming that it is legal to record encounters with police and encouraging citizens to do so.

Checkpoints on Hold.  Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis announced last week that her department has suspended use of motor-vehicle checkpoints in an effort to dispel fears in the community about the rumored use of checkpoints to enforce federal immigration laws.  As this report from WCNC NBC Charlotte indicates, there have been widespread rumors and hoaxes on social media nationwide suggesting that checkpoints are being used for immigration enforcement, though evidence of such use is scant.

Guns on Campus.  The News & Observer reports that proposed North Carolina legislation, House Bill 251, would allow concealed-carry permit holders to carry their handguns on UNC system and North Carolina community college campuses.  Allowing concealed carry on campuses is controversial, here’s a piece in favor of the practice from the National Review.

“Not the Kind of Thing We Like to See.”  The Winston-Salem Journal reports that a man’s concealed carry permit was revoked when his armed intervention in a “fight” at Hanes Mall resulted in his conviction for discharging a firearm within the city limits.  Mistaking a struggle between group home workers and a mentally ill client for a fight, Daniel Ray Brown pointed his pistol at the group and fired a “warning shot.”  Judge John O. Craig revoked Brown’s permit, explaining that his behavior was “just not the kind of thing we like to see from people with concealed carry permits.”

Arrest Warrant and Indictment Forms.  Big news folks – the 2016 update to Jeff’s Arrest Warrant and Indictment Forms book has been published and is available for free from the SOG.  This is a particularly important update because it covers a two-year span of time and includes new forms for many of the sexual assault crimes, which the General Assembly revised and renumbered in the 2015 legislative session.

Word of Faith Fellowship.  Last week the News Roundup noted that two congregants allegedly involved in helping Word of Faith Fellowship church cover up physical and emotional abuse occurring within the church were assistant district attorneys in Prosecutorial District 25.  WRAL reports that the two individuals implicated, Frank Webster and Chris Back, are no longer employed as prosecutors in the district.  The report does not include details about their departure.

D.A. Resigns.  A few weeks ago, the News Roundup noted that Rockingham County District Attorney Craig Blitzer allegedly participated with Person/Caswell District Attorney Wallace Bradsher in a scheme where the two men hired each other’s wives for state jobs that didn’t actually require the women to perform work.  The Greensboro News & Record reports that Blitzer resigned from office last Friday.

Comet Ping Pong Plea Deal.  The Salisbury Post says that Edgar Maddison Welch, the Salisbury man who raided a Washington D.C. pizzeria with an assault rifle and pistol because he believed the “Pizzagate” online conspiracy theory, has reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.  Welch is expected to enter the plea at a hearing scheduled for March 24; details of the agreement were not reported.

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