News Roundup

The major national criminal law news of the week was the arrest of Jeffrey Epstein on federal sex-trafficking charges involving underage girls.  Epstein, who often is referred to as a billionaire financier though the extent and source of his wealth is largely shrouded in mystery, pleaded guilty in 2008 to prostitution charges in Florida state court as part of an unusually lenient plea agreement that allowed him to avoid serious federal sex crime charges and shielded any of his co-conspirators from prosecution.  That plea agreement was approved by current Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, who was the United States Attorney in the Southern District of Florida at the time.  Over the years, Epstein has been connected to President Donald Trump and former President Bill Clinton.  Keep reading for more news.

Ticket Irregularities.  WNCN reports that two North Carolina State Highway Patrol troopers are under investigation for “traffic ticket irregularities” in Harnett County, and that one of the troopers involved has been “separated” from the Highway Patrol.  The report says that investigators are looking into whether the troopers wrote citations without actually serving them on the person who was being cited, meaning that the person would be unaware of the charges until he or she went to court or tried to pay their fine.  Jason R. Benson was separated from the Highway Patrol and Christopher S. Carter is on administrative duty during the ongoing investigation.

Officer Shot.  WRAL reports that multiple law enforcement agencies are investigating the non-fatal shooting of a Henderson police officer early yesterday morning.  The officer, who had not been publicly identified at the time of writing, was investigating a shooting that occurred around 9pm Wednesday evening.  While interviewing possible witnesses around midnight, the officer was hit by a bullet fired from a passing car.  Anyone with information about the incident should contact the Henderson police department.

Peeping Tom.  Another report from WRAL says that Raleigh police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a man who has been caught on security cameras in the Falls River neighborhood sneaking around houses and exposing himself.  Images of the suspect and contact information for police can be found at the WRAL link.

Coach Charged.  The Greensboro News & Record reports that the recently-hired boys basketball coach at Southwest Guilford High School has been charged with taking indecent liberties with a student at North Davidson High School, his previous employer.  James Brandon Mullis was arrested on the charge last week, and Southwest Guilford said that his contract would not be renewed for the upcoming school year.

General Accused of Sexual Misconduct.  The Associated Press reports that the nomination of General John Hyten to be the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is in jeopardy following allegations that he subjected a senior military officer to a series of unwanted sexual advances.  The officer told the Associated Press that Hyten kissed, hugged, and rubbed himself against her in 2017 while she was one of his aides.  The officer also said that he tried to derail her career after she rebuffed him.  An Air Force investigation conducted after the officer reported the conduct did not reveal sufficient evidence to recommend any administrative punishment for Hyten or charge him with a crime.

Illegal Beer.  A Utah beer company has been stalled in its efforts to sell “Polygamy Porter” in North Carolina according to the Fayetteville Observer.  In a letter to the Utah Brewers Cooperative, the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Commission said that it refused to approve the beer for sale because “[p]olygamy is illegal.”  A quick review of the General Statutes suggests that changing the name to “Non-Disruptive Public Intoxication Porter” could be a viable alternative.

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