News Roundup

On Monday morning, the FBI executed a series of search warrants at the home, office, and hotel room of Michael Cohen, a personal attorney for President Donald Trump and a former executive at the Trump Organization.  News reports say that the warrants were sought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York based on a referral by the Office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, and that Cohen is under investigation for bank fraud, wire fraud, and campaign finance violations.  Keep reading for more news. 

Crimes Supplement.  What could be more exciting than learning that the 2017 Cumulative Supplement to North Carolina Crimes: A Guidebook on the Elements of Crime now is available in print and digital forms? Finding out that every paper copy of the new supplement includes a code that provides one calendar year of free access to the online version of Crimes.  That’s right, if you buy a paper copy of the 2017 supplement, you’ll be enjoying free online access to Crimes through May 1, 2019.  Hit the link for more information.

Lanesboro.  The News & Observer reports that big changes are coming to Lanesboro Correctional Institution, the state’s largest prison.  Over the next year, Lanesboro will be converted to a women’s prison and will be renamed as the Anson Correctional Institution.  The N&O report says that most of the prison’s current inmates will be transferred to other prisons, but that a minimum-security unit at Lanesboro will remain a male facility.

Particularity.  A few weeks ago, Jeff blogged about the particularity requirement for search warrants – the principle that a warrant must provide a sufficiently particular description of the place to be searched and the things to be seized such that the warrant doesn’t authorize a general rummaging of a person’s belongings.  Politico has an article this week discussing motions to suppress evidence recently filed by Paul Manafort that are grounded in part in arguments that certain warrants authorizing the search of his home and storage locker lacked particularity and were overbroad.  The article includes links to copies of the motions.

Couch. Ethan Couch recently was released from custody in Texas after serving two years in jail as a condition of probation after admitting responsibility to multiple charges arising from killing four people while driving drunk in 2013.  Couch’s case attracted national attention when a psychologist testified that Couch was a victim of “affluenza” because he grew up in a rich but dysfunctional family, and grabbed headlines again when he fled to Mexico with his mother to avoid a probation hearing after a video surfaced of him playing beer pong.

Cosby.  Bill Cosby’s retrial on charges that he sexual assaulted Andrea Constand began this week in Philadelphia.  Cosby’s first trial ended in a deadlocked jury mistrial.  Since the end of the first trial, there has been significant national conversation about sexual assault and harassment, often referred to as the “Me Too Movement.”  The linked news report says that the trial judge has forbidden people from wearing or displaying anything related to the movement while inside the courtroom.

Bomb Lab.  Late last month, the hunt for a serial bomber in Austin, Texas was major national news.  The New York Times recently published an inside look at an ATF facility that is analyzing the remnants of the explosives used in the Austin bombing spree.

Reasonable Reactions.  There’s hardly anything that will ruin a pleasant drive in one’s automobile more quickly than encountering that most dreadful of all road-going menaces – the cyclist.  Quietly and cleanly using the state’s roads to go here and there, as if they’re somehow entitled to do so by law, who do these cyclists think they are?  Last year, Claude Donald Watson, of Candler, was fed up with this nonsense and got out of his vehicle at a stop light so that he could punch a nearby cyclist in the face.  This year, he’ll be spending three days in jail as part of a split sentence for simple assault.

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