Lots of interesting stuff this week. Without further ado:
1. The front page of the News and Observer today has a story that begins as follows: “Someone accused of killing a white person in North Carolina is nearly three times as likely to get the death penalty than someone accused of killing a black person, according to a study released Thursday by two researchers who looked at death sentences over a 28-year period.” The News and Observer article quotes lawyers on both sides, saying what one would expect. I can’t find a copy of the study itself online. If anyone knows where it can be found, please let me know and I’ll post a link. (It may not be anywhere, yet. One of the articles I saw about it said that it was to be published in the North Carolina Law Review next year. But given that the study was “released,” I’m hoping that it is publicly available somewhere.)
2. The governor has signed House Bill 80, the electronic sweepstakes ban about which I wrote here, but also made public remarks recently suggesting that she would be open to a legal, regulated sweepstakes industry so long as it was devoid of “profiteering.”
3. Having a sex offender in the neighborhood is a downer for lots of reasons. But this new paper, available on SSRN, quantifies one of the concerns: a 9% reduction in property values. (Hat tip: Sentencing Law and Policy.)
4. Former Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court is moving along, with the Senate Judiciary Committee recommending her on a 13-6 vote. Only one Republican, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, voted for her.
5. Last month, School of Government faculty members John Rubin and Alyson Grine did a criminal case law update via webinar. The webinar got rave reviews, and it’s just become available in archived form here. It’s free to view, but if you want CLE credit for watching, there’s a fee.
6. Finally, the usual collection of stories that I found inspiring (here, the daughter of Montagnard resistance fighters graduates from Elon Law School; here, a young woman who was home schooled in the cab of a big rig truck conquers Harvard and sets her sights on becoming an attorney), odd (here, an Amish teenager is charged after running a stop sign in his horse-drawn buggy and leading police on a high-speed chase; here, Oakland, California, where I went to high school, “authorize[s] four potentially enormous pot factories”), or otherwise noteworthy (here, a defendant who submitted at sentencing “phony photos of himself doing charity work at hospitals and schools” finds out that judges don’t usually appreciate fraudulent mitigating evidence).