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News Roundup

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The Durham Herald Sun reported this week that felony charges against eight people allegedly involved in destroying a Confederate monument in downtown Durham last summer have been dismissed.  The criminal cases are not over though, the Herald Sun report says that those charged in the incident will be tried on misdemeanors including injury to personal property, injury to real property, and defacing or injuring a public monument.  Apparently, a great deal of public interest in these cases remains, the report says that the courtroom was overloaded with spectators such that some defendants who were in court for unrelated cases couldn’t find a seat.  Keep reading for more news.

Fish Markets.  The Word of Faith Fellowship is not the only North Carolina religious organization currently under criminal scrutiny for allegations of abuse.  The Fayetteville Observer reports that late last year the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office charged John C. McCollum and several other members of McCollum’s religious organization with various crimes arising from allegedly forcing children to work at fish markets in the Fayetteville area for little or no compensation.

Cash Cab.  The Greensboro News & Record reports that a multi-agency drug sting in Greensboro has resulted in numerous arrests and the seizure of roughly $1 million of narcotics.  As part of the sting, law enforcement officials seized 8 kilos of cocaine, 11 kilos of heroin, 50 pounds of marijuana, a Rolls-Royce, and over $500,000 of cash and jewelry.  The sting was known as “Operation Cash Cab” because the drugs were being transported in a cab.

U.S. Supreme Court.  The United States Supreme Court heard arguments in two Fourth Amendment cases this week that may be of interest to readers.  On Tuesday, the Court heard both Byrd v. United States and Collins v. Virginia.  Byrd presents the issue of whether the driver of a rental car who is not listed as an authorized driver on the rental agreement but who has the renter’s permission to use the car has a reasonable expectation of privacy in the car’s trunk.  Collins presents the issue of whether, pursuant to the automobile exception, law enforcement may search a vehicle without a warrant when the vehicle is parked in the curtilage of a home.  A SCOTUSblog argument analysis for Byrd is here and an analysis of Collins is here.

Prison Overhaul.  President Donald Trump convened a group of experts this week for a roundtable discussion of ways to overhaul the nation’s prison system to reduce recidivism by providing offenders with more resources to help them successfully re-enter society after their release.  The Associated Press has a report about the meeting here.

Immigration Crackdown.  NBC News reports that U.S. immigration agents raided 7-Eleven stores nationwide early Wednesday morning in “the biggest crackdown on a company suspected of hiring undocumented workers since President Trump took office.”  Ninety-eight stores across the country were raided in an effort to apprehend undocumented immigrants working at the stores.  The NBC report quotes ICE officials as saying that the action is “a harbinger of what’s to come” as more raids are planned for the future.

Five-0.  Folks, you better keep it between the lines in the City of the Arts – the Winston-Salem Police Department recently made a show of force on social media that will make even the most hardened criminal think twice about committing an offense against the dignity of that fair city.  You’ve been warned.

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