News Roundup

The Asheville Citizen Times reports that the city’s police department has implemented a policy that requires officers to use a newly-developed written consent form prior to conducting a consent search.  The form makes clear that people giving consent understand that they have a right to refuse the search, that their consent is given voluntarily, and that they understand that evidence discovered during the search may be used against them.  Consent to search may still be given verbally, but the form also may be signed by the person who is the target of the search.  The Citizen Times says that the new policy is controversial, with some arguing that the policy will reduce racial disparities in policing and others arguing that it will diminish officer safety.  The APD’s press release about the new policy is available here.  Keep reading for more news

Smokable Hemp.  Hemp is back in the news again this week, with the Associated Press reporting that a version of the 2019 Farm Act approved by the North Carolina Senate this week makes possession of smokable hemp illegal beginning next June.  The proposed legislation also modifies G.S. 15A-974 by adding a new subsection that deals with suppressing evidence in situations where there is a subsequent determination that a substance believed to be a controlled substance at the time of a search is not actually a controlled substance.  Look for a blog post from Phil discussing the legal status of smokable hemp in detail once a final version of the Farm Act becomes law.

Jeopardy.  Last week was an exciting one for fans of Jeopardy, assistant district attorneys, and the Wake Forest University School of Law because WFU Law alumna and Union County ADA Martha Bordogna was on the buzzer for the show’s October 22nd and 23rd episodes.  I didn’t catch the episodes as they aired but extensive research on Jeopardy fan blogs tells me that Bordogna trounced her opponents and took first place on October 22nd – stacking up 22 correct answers, going 2 for 2 on rebound attempts, and nailing the Final Jeopardy question (answer: Barbara Streisand).  No doubt concerned about the constitutionality of an ADA taking double Jeopardy wins, Bordogna didn’t repeat in her second game but still took home some cash.  Nice work!

Life Behind Bars.  There have been two recent national news stories that provide the public with a look at the living conditions of people who are incarcerated.  In September, NBC News ran a series with Lester Holt entitled Justice for All that “examine[s] America’s legacy of mass incarceration, the state of rehabilitation for violent criminals, ideas for justice reform, and the role of crime victims in defining that reform.”  As part of the series, Holt spent two nights in a maximum-security prison.

The other story involves a grittier account of the conditions inside the Florida prison system.  In early October, the Miami Herald reported that Scott Whitney, who is serving 30 years for drug trafficking, had over a period of four years filmed and produced a documentary entitled Behind Tha Barb Wire that provides a realistic look at his life at Martin Correctional Institution.  A story from the Herald this week says that Whitney recently was caught with a cell phone while being transferred to another facility.

Back to School CLE.  Do you have plans on November 22 from 8:30am to 4:45pm?  If you need 6 hours of high-quality CLE, then we would like to invite you to come to the School of Government for Back to School: CLE @ SOG.  This CLE has it all – 4 hours of general credit; 1 hour of ethics credit; 1 hour of technology credit; and, most importantly, 1 hour of lunch.  We hope to see you here.

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