News Roundup

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The Associated Press reports that North Carolina has become the first state in the nation to require all attorneys, regardless of practice area, to reveal any credible evidence or information that creates a reasonable likelihood that a person convicted of a crime is innocent.  The disclosure requirement was adopted earlier this month as Rule of Professional Conduct 8.6 – “Information About a Possible Wrongful Conviction.”  Keep reading for more news.

Stress.  The News & Observer says that RTI International and Durham police officers recently teamed up for a six-week study that monitored officers’ stress levels throughout the day using a device described as a “Fitbit on steroids.”  The study apparently is the first of its kind in that it takes a quantitative approach to measuring stress rather than relying on self-report responses to questions about how an officer feels.  Here’s a link to an abstract from RTI.

Addiction Task Force.  President Trump has launched an addiction task force intended to combat the nation’s opioid crisis, according to this report from The Associated Press.  Trump has asked New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to chair the effort.  The AP report says that Christie “has dedicated his final year in office to addressing the drug crisis” and recently signed legislation that “limits first-time opioid prescriptions to five days’ worth of drugs and requires state-regulated health insurers to cover at least six months of substance abuse treatment.”

Naloxone Rescue in Chatham.  The News & Observer reports that Chatham County sheriff’s deputies used the overdose reversal drug naloxone for the first time last week to revive a woman.  The Sheriff’s Office, along with the police departments in Siler City and Pittsboro, trained officers on how to respond to opioid overdoses in November.

Prosecutorial District Merger.  The Greensboro News & Record reports that the AOC has asked legislators to merge Rockingham, Person, and Caswell counties into one prosecutorial district.  A bill which would do so effective January 2019, House Bill 439, was filed last week.  As the News Roundup has noted, the elected district attorneys in those counties are under investigation for hiring each other’s wives for state jobs that didn’t require any work, but the News & Record report says the merger is unrelated to that investigation.

Intellectual Disability and Capital Punishment.  The United States Supreme Court ruled this week that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals took an unconstitutional approach to deciding whether a capital defendant was intellectually disabled.  As Jeff has explained in a previous post, the Eighth Amendment prohibits imposition of the death penalty on intellectually disabled defendants.  The case decided this week is Moore v. Texas and an opinion analysis from SCOTUSblog is available here.  Look for a post from Jeff about the decision next week.

Shaming Sanction.  A Guilford county District Court judge is making news this week after ordering a man who pleaded guilty to assault on a female to stand in front of the courthouse holding a sign that reads “This is the Face of Domestic Abuse.”  According to the News & Observer, Judge Mark Cummings ordered Joshua Hill to hold the sign outside the courthouse for four hours a day for seven days.  Jamie discussed this sort of shaming sanction a few years ago in this post.

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