News Roundup

On Wednesday, a man with a rifle ambushed Republican members of Congress at a park in Virginia as the lawmakers held a morning baseball practice in preparation for the annual Congressional Baseball Game, which was held yesterday.  Five people were wounded, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who was in critical condition at the time of writing.  Two Capitol Police officers engaged the gunman in a shootout where he was fatally injured.  The gunman, James T. Hodgkinson, seemingly was motivated by political animus – he reportedly asked whether the lawmakers were Democrats or Republicans before the attack.  The Washington Post has comprehensive coverage of the incident.  Keep reading for more news.

NCCU.  The News & Observer reports that one of the Capitol Police officers involved in the shootout with Hodgkinson, David Bailey, is a 2007 graduate of N.C. Central.  Bailey was injured during the incident but his injuries are not life threatening and he reportedly is in good condition.

Hodgkinson.  As mentioned in the lead, it appears that Hodgkinson’s attack was motivated by political animus.  Hodgkinson reportedly volunteered for the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders and frequently criticized Republicans and President Trump on Facebook.  Politicians from both sides of the aisle called for unity in the wake of the attack.

Defendant Grateful to Have Been Shot.  The Winston-Salem Journal has an unusual story of a criminal defendant who thanked a Winston-Salem officer for shooting him during a standoff in September of last year.  Marshall Alan Wiggins pleaded guilty to assault with a firearm on a law-enforcement officer and a DVPO violation in Forsyth County last week based upon an incident where he pointed a gun at officers during a domestic altercation.  Officer A.D. King shot Wiggins during the ordeal.  Wiggins, who is now paralyzed, apologized to King and said that he was “10 times a better person” after the incident than he was before.

Cosby.  The Associated Press reported Thursday that jurors in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial are deadlocked on all charges.  The jury has been deliberating for days but the judge ordered them to continue to try to reach a unanimous decision and denied a defense motion for a mistrial.

High Tech Injustice?  There’s been recent interest in deploying new technologies in various areas of the criminal justice system.  For example, the News Roundup previously has noted (here, here, and here) the increasing use of risk assessment tools in pretrial release decisions.  An opinion piece in the New York Times this week says that some uses of new technologies are negatively affecting the fairness of criminal proceedings because courts have shielded proprietary elements of the technologies from defendants as protected trade secrets.  The U.S. Supreme Court apparently is considering whether to hear a case, Wisconsin v. Loomis, involving this issue.

When I Paint My Masterpiece.  As the nation collectively ponders criminal justice reform, there are some who think that someday everything is going to be different.  One of those people is Agnes Gund who recently sold Roy Lichtenstein’s 1962 painting entitled “Masterpiece” for a cool $165 million, and used the proceeds to establish the Art for Justice Fund.  The aim of the new fund is to end mass incarceration, according to NBC News.

Protect & Swerve.  Big news folks, we’ve got a law enforcement dance-off story this week.  Officer Courtney Leaver of the Lincoln, Nebraska, Police Department threw down the gauntlet last week with some solid moves on Twitter and a challenge to the rival Bellevue P.D. to “bring it.”  Bellevue responded, but had nothing to bring beyond awkward gyrations.  The Grand Island P.D. then got in on the action and were acquitting themselves well until a bike cop showed up.  Overall, I’d say Nash County’s Cody Williams doesn’t have much to worry about from the Cornhusker State.

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