News Roundup

The Greensboro News & Record reports that four jurors in a Guilford County murder trial were followed from a parking area to the courthouse by a man wearing all red clothing, a color associated with a gang.  In response to the incidents, Judge David Hall restricted the number of people who could be in the courtroom and ordered officers to be on the lookout for the man.  Richard Allen Williamson eventually was detained by courthouse security in the lobby of the building, identified by the jurors, and charged with obstruction of justice.  Keep reading for more news.

Relief from a Criminal Conviction.  John Rubin just released the 2018 edition of Relief From a Criminal Conviction: A Digital Guide to Expunctions, Certificates of Relief, and Other Procedures in North Carolina.  The new version of the resource, which is available for free online,  incorporates legislative changes through 2018, including expanded opportunities to obtain a certificate of relief and a new expunction for cases involving threats of mass violence by a person under the age of 20.  Also updated are the statutes, forms, and other materials, all of which have live hyperlinks.  Check it out if you haven’t already.

Justice Candidates.  Earlier this week Jeff blogged about North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin’s resignation from the state’s highest court to become the Dean of the Regent School of Law.  The News & Observer reports that at least two people have announced their intention to run for a seat on the court in 2020 – current Court of Appeals Justices Lucy Inman and Phil Berger Jr.  It is expected that Inman and Berger would run for Associate Justice Paul Newby’s seat because he has said that he will run for Chief Justice.

Amnesty Day.  Last week the News Roundup noted that last Friday was “Amnesty Day” in the Buncombe County courts, an event where people with outstanding misdemeanor arrest warrants and failures to appear could come to court to deal with their issues without risking arrest.  What went unnoted was the surprising fact that nobody showed up at last year’s Amnesty Day.  The Asheville Citizen Times reported this week that more than 500 people showed up to this year’s event, making it the most successful Amnesty Day in the event’s five-year history.

Statue to be Removed.  The Winston-Salem Journal reports that a Confederate monument in the city’s downtown area will be removed sometime soon because it imperils public safety.  Citing the need for police presence at the statue to prevent acts of vandalism, the city declared it a public nuisance and said that it was subject to summary removal.  The Journal article describes recent pro- and anti-statue demonstrations in the city.

Stone Indicted.  Late last week special counsel Robert Mueller charged political operative Roger Stone with seven criminal offenses arising from allegations that Stone coordinated with WikiLeaks on behalf of the Trump presidential campaign to disseminate damaging information about Hillary Clinton and then lied about those efforts.  FBI agents arrested Stone and searched his home in a pre-dawn raid last Friday morning.  Stone has pleaded not guilty to the charges and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the charges have nothing to do with President Trump.

Crime Cancelled.  Many parts of the country are braving bitter cold this week, the conditions so extreme that mail service has been suspended in some locations.  In Madison, Wisconsin, where it was 24 below zero, the police department was forced to cancel illegal activity during the cold snap, saying it was “simply too cold to commit crimes.”

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