News Roundup

The disappearance and suspected murder of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi captured international headlines this week with news reports suggesting that Khashoggi was the victim of a state-sponsored hit that reads like something from a spy novel. Khashoggi is a prominent journalist who was living in the United States after fleeing Saudi Arabia late last year. He disappeared upon entering a Saudi consulate in Turkey earlier this month to obtain marriage documents, and it is widely suspected that he was murdered and dismembered there by highly trained Saudi security operatives and a forensic specialist. Saudi officials have denied any involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance. Keep reading for more news.

Death Row. The Center for Death Penalty Litigation recently released a report titled “Unequal Justice: How Obsolete Laws and Unfair Trials Created North Carolina’s Outsized Death Row.” As part of that title suggests, North Carolina has a considerable death row population — 142 prisoners which makes our state’s death row the sixth largest in the nation. For reference, North Carolina was the 9th most populous state in the nation in 2017. The report includes some interesting information, including that about three-quarters of people on death row were sentenced in the 1990’s and, consequently, were sentenced prior to criminal justice reforms related to false confessions, eyewitness identifications, open-file discovery, and the creation of IDS.

Fatal Feud. The Laurinburg Exchange reports that an “ongoing dispute between neighbors” turned deadly this week when Jaser David Peeples, apparently with assistance from his wife Barbara Ellen Peeples, allegedly shot James Chesnutt and his wife, who had not been publicly named at the time of writing. James Chesnutt died from his wounds but his wife was in stable condition. Both Peeples have been charged with an assortment of offenses, including attempted murder which is expected to be upgraded soon to murder.

Undersigned Counsel Hereby Submits the News Roundup (“Roundup”). The summer issue of Litigation magazine includes an article describing judges’ views on how to craft a well written brief. You may be saying to yourself, “I already know how to do that — I pepper my briefs with fancy words like ‘heretofore’ and ‘hereinafter;’ I deride opposing counsel’s arguments as ‘specious’ and ‘absurd;’ and I forcefully state that ‘clearly’ the court ‘must’ rule in favor of my client, ‘plaintiff-appellant.'” Here’s the link if you want to double-check that strategy.

In My Face With My Fist. A while back, the News Roundup noted that the iPhone Face ID feature that allows people to unlock their phones using their faces had worked in the favor of law enforcement investigators when they aimed a recalcitrant suspect’s phone at his face and caused it to unlock. Engadget recently reported that in the world of criminal investigations what one face giveth the other taketh away, with officers now being instructed to avoid looking at suspects’ iPhones so that they do not inadvertently lock the devices.

CLE Opportunity. As we’ve mentioned previously, the School of Government is offering a new CLE program that we think will interest blog readers. On November 16, 6.25 hours of CLE is on offer at the Back to School CLE @ SOG. We hope to see you there.

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