News Roundup

On Wednesday, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced that he would retire from the United States Supreme Court at the end of July.  Kennedy’s retirement has been long-rumored and was made official with a short letter of resignation which he hand-delivered to President Donald Trump on the afternoon of the final day of the Court’s 2017-18 term.  Kennedy has been widely characterized as the Court’s swing justice because of his liberal view on some issues and conservative view on others.  The New York Times compiled a list of some of the Court’s major decisions where Kennedy’s vote was seen as decisive.  Keep reading for more news.

State of the Judiciary.  Chief Justice Mark Martin recently delivered the 2018 State of the Judiciary address at the North Carolina Bar Association’s annual meeting.  Among other things, Justice Martin highlighted progress that has been made in implementing the recommendations of the North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice, including the enactment of the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act.  A transcript of his remarks is available here.

Hate Crimes.  Last year at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, James Alex Fields Jr. killed Heather Heyer and injured several others by driving his car into a group of people who were protesting the rally.  On Wednesday, the Justice Department announced that a federal grand jury had indicted Fields for federal hate crimes arising from the incident.  Fields already had been charged with first-degree murder in Virginia and is scheduled to go to trial later this year.

Lone Ranger.  The Charlotte Observer has a story this week describing the work of Sampson Parker, Jr., the only wildlife resource officer in Mecklenburg County.  The story is a good reminder that we’re entering a busy time of year for the wildlife resource officers across the state who make sure that people obey the law as they enjoy North Carolina’s wide variety of natural resources.

Officer Charged.  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that a police officer who shot and killed a 17-year-old earlier this month has been charged with a homicide crime.  Officer Michael Rosfield shot Antwon Rose II in the back as he was fleeing a traffic stop of a car that had been involved in a drive-by shooting.  News reports say that Rose was unarmed but had an empty magazine in his pocket; two guns were found in the vehicle from which he was fleeing.  Rosfield is said to have given conflicting accounts of the shooting during the subsequent investigation.

Leaks.  As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, the first person to be prosecuted by the Trump administration for leaking government information pleaded guilty this week in a federal court in Georgia.  Reality Winner, a 26-year-old former Air Force linguist, was charged under the Espionage Act for leaking a top-secret National Security Agency report about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election to the online national security news outlet The Intercept.  Prosecutors have asked that Winner be sentenced to more than five years in prison.

France.  There’s terrifying international criminal news this week out of France where it appears that a loosely affiliated counterculture gang that once largely confined itself to intentional communities has broken containment and is menacing America’s oldest ally.  Hopped up on Soylent, militant Vegans are vandalizing butcher shops, restaurants, and rotisseries across the country.  The French Federation of Butchers has called on the government to provide its members with police protection.

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