News Roundup

As the L.A. Times reports, there was another school shooting in the United States this week.  Early on Thursday morning just as classes were beginning, a student at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California, opened fire with a handgun while standing in the school’s quad.  Two students were killed and three others were wounded.  The gunman, apparently a 16-year-old boy whose birthday was Thursday, shot himself but survived and was being treated at a hospital at the time of writing.  Keep reading for more news.

Wife Swap Civil Verdict.  Last week the News Roundup noted that trial had begun in a civil case arising from the scheme by former district attorneys Craig Blitzer and Wallace Bradsher to improperly hire each other’s wives for state jobs.  This week the trial concluded, and a jury awarded Debra Halbrook $1.8 million in damages arising from her termination as a legal assistant in Bradsher’s office after she reported the improper arrangement to the SBI.  The civil complaint is available here and a WRAL story about the verdict is here.

No Charges in Leak.  The Asheville Citizen-Times reported last week that a prosecutor with the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys, Charles A. Spahos, announced that he would not bring any criminal charges in connection with the leak of body camera footage of the Johnnie Rush beating incident in August of 2017.  The Citizen-Times published the leaked footage in February of 2018, and the disturbing video showing Rush being punched in the head, shocked with a stun gun, and choked fueled widespread outrage about the conduct of former APD officer Christopher Hickman.  Jeff is quoted in the article and provides a brief analysis of criminal law issues surrounding the leak.

Deputy Passes.  WRAL reports that Northampton County Sheriff’s Deputy Markeem Brooks was killed in a car crash on Wednesday night while on duty.  Brooks was responding to a report of gunshots when his car ran off the road and overturned.  Our thoughts are with Brooks’ colleagues, friends, and family.

Bathroom Threat.  The News & Observer reports that an Orange County high school student was charged with communicating a threat of mass violence on educational property based on allegedly scratching a threatening message into a bathroom stall.  Blog readers know that the North Carolina Court of Appeals dealt with a juvenile case involving similar facts earlier this year.

Teacher Charged.  Earlier this year the News Roundup noted the unusual story of a Winston-Salem teacher who allegedly stored a handgun in her classroom after obtaining it from a student and then returned it to the student at the end of the school day.  Now a former teacher, Sarah Melissa Wilson recently was indicted on criminal charges related to the incident.

Three Judges go to White Castle.  Earlier this year things were going well for Indiana judges Andrew Adams, Bradley Jacobs, and Sabrina Bell.  The trio were in Indianapolis to attend a judicial conference and had spent the evening preceding the first day of the conference drinking at various establishments in the city.  As so often happens, things took a turn for the worse around 3 a.m. in the parking lot of a White Castle where Bell, known to herself and others as a “fiery” and “feisty” person who “get[s] mouthy” when she drinks, gave the one-finger salute to two men who had yelled at the judges from an SUV.  This set off a series of calamitous events – a fight erupted during which Adams and Jacobs were shot; a man in the SUV was charged with several serious crimes; Adams was charged with misdemeanor battery; and all three judges, the South Bend Tribute reports, now have been suspended following disciplinary proceedings with the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications.

Back to School.  Though my lack of continuing legal education in 2019 hasn’t hurt me none, the writing’s on the wall that the situation will be different come February 28, 2020.  That’s why I’m going back to school right here at the SOG next Friday, November 22.  Readers, as you know, six hours of high-quality CLE is on offer at Back to School: @ SOG.  Hit the link, sign up, and we’ll see you next week.

Category: Uncategorized