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News Roundup

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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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4 comments on “News Roundup

  1. A significant factor in the size of our Death Row is that our State hasn’t executed anyone in over 12 years. 15 of those 142 have been capitally sentenced since the last execution and 50 of the 142 have been sentenced in the 2000’s. Therefore, the high number is not simply due to an overabundance of death sentences handed down in NC. That figure has steadily declined to little more than one or two a year. Those that advocate abolition I believe realize that the majority of NC supports the death penalty and therefore have been very crafty in how they have gone about trying to abolish it. The present de facto moratorium has accomplished exactly what they have advocated. If we are going to have a death penalty, we need to execute those capitally sentenced by juries. If we are not, then we need to formally abolish it. Our legislature needs to act.

    • its easy to kill someone in the abstract when its just a number. doing it for real is a terrible ordeal for all involved except for the families who are victims and even for them it doesn’t do much good. its horrible for the lawyers on both side the judge and the jury and the executioner. the only good that comes from the death penalty is it forces defendants to accept a life sentence.

    • Thank you sir for challenging the emotional incontinence in this issue and providing us with logic and common sense. I just wish more people at UNC had the capability of setting emotion aside and dealing with such topics fairly and logically.

  2. as long as we can sell a bunch of arms to the Saudis and make a bunch of money, why worry? he was a journalist, right?-Donald “little hands” chump

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