News Roundup

Yet again this week, our nation confronts the tragedy of a mass shooting.  Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of murder following an attack on Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.  Cruz was a student at the school but had been expelled.  For perspective on where this incident falls among the more than 40 active shooter episodes at schools in the United States since 2000, 12 people were killed at Columbine and 26 were killed at Sandy Hook; two were killed last month in Kentucky.  Three of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern United States history have occurred in the last five months.  Keep reading for more news.

Florida.  As is often the case with mass shootings in America, Cruz was armed with an AR-15 style rifle.  The Tampa Bay Times reports that Cruz bought the rifle legally last year.  Back in November while discussing the deadliest mass shooting by one person in the history of Texas, the News Roundup noted the reasons why AR-15’s are both popular and controversial.

A series of articles discussing the history of the weapon and the controversy surrounding it were published last year in The Atlantic.  Those articles are here, here, here, and here.  Those articles discuss the much-debated question of the lethality of the AR-15 relative to other firearms, with the articles arguing that the rifles are especially deadly.  Typifying the opposing view, a master firearms instructor told USA Today that mass shooters often have an unsophisticated understanding of firearms and choose the AR-15 without realizing that much more dangerous alternatives are readily available.

Unusual Defendants.  There were numerous criminal law stories this week featuring unusual defendants.  A Raleigh defense attorney was charged with felony larceny for allegedly taking money out of another person’s misplaced wallet at the Wake County courthouse.  Also in Wake County, a patent attorney was charged with taking indecent liberties with a child.  In Durham County, a former deputy was convicted of taking indecent liberties with a child while serving as a school resource officer.  Out in Seattle, the chief counsel for the city’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office was charged with wire fraud and identity theft for attempting to steal the identities of seven people who were subject to immigration proceedings.

AWIF.  Big news folks: Jeff Welty’s 2017 Update to Arrest Warrant and Indictment Forms (6th ed.) has been released and is available to download for free.  The 2017 update is jam-packed with fourteen updated or completely new forms and a comprehensive table of contents which indicates the most recent version of every form in the manual.

Murder Trial.  Trial began this week for Chad Cameron Copley, a Raleigh man charged with murder for shooting and killing Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas, who was outside Copley’s home after leaving a party in the neighborhood.  The shooting made national news when it happened in 2016 and drew comparisons to the Trayvon Martin case.

Naloxone Donation.  Regular readers know that Asheville teenager Peter King was ahead of the curve in terms of donating naloxone to local law enforcement agencies in need of the opioid overdose recovery drug.  WUNC says that the Aetna Foundation is getting in on the action, announcing this week that it will donate $1 million to the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition to purchase and distribute naloxone in rural parts of the state.  The donation is part of Aetna’s plan to donate $6 million to North Carolina to combat the opioid epidemic.

Romance Moves.  Regardless of what you did for the special someone in your life this Valentine’s Day, it pales in comparison to the efforts of Christian Gerald Desgroux of Raleigh.  Yes, unless you fraudulently donned the uniform of a three-star Army general and told security officers at SAS headquarters that you had clearance from the White House to land a helicopter on the company’s soccer fields for the purpose of picking up an employee and flying her to Fort Bragg for a classified briefing, I’m sorry to say that you’ve been outdone.

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