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News Roundup

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As the Asheville Citizen-Times reports, earlier this month the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians was the victim of a damaging cyberattack that caused widespread damage to tribal networks and affected critical systems including 911 dispatch.  Almost two weeks out from the December 7 attack, the tribe still is working to repair their network and bring systems back online.  A former IT employee who was suspended two days before the attack, Benjamin Cody Long, has been arrested in connection with the incident.  A report from the Cherokee One Feather covering Long’s detention hearing in Cherokee Tribal Court has detailed information about the attack and includes a quote from the judge describing the damage as “immense and unprecedented.”

This is the last blog post of the year.  Thanks to all of our readers for engaging with the blog this year, we hope that everyone has a safe and happy holiday season.  Keep reading for more news.

SRO Charged.  WRAL reports that a former Vance County school resource officer, Warren Durham, who violently slammed an 11-year-old middle school student to the ground last week has been charged with several criminal offenses, including assault on a child under 12 and misdemeanor child abuse.  Video of the incident released last week sparked widespread outrage and was picked up by national news outlets.  Durham was fired from his position as a Vance County Sheriff’s Deputy on Monday.  The child’s family was disappointed that Durham was not charged with a felony, but District Attorney Mike Waters explained that felony charges were precluded by the fact that the child was not seriously injured despite the violent nature of the assault.

Principal Placed on Leave.  WLOS reports that Asheville High School Principal Jesse Dingle has been placed on administrative leave after the Asheville Police Department received a report alleging his involvement in a sex offense.  The alleged offense does not involve a student and it did not occur on campus according to WLOS.

Funds Re-raised.  Earlier this month, a fundraising jar that benefited the family of a 5-year-old girl, Amelia Brown, was stolen from the McDonald’s restaurant where it was set up.  Brown was injured in a shooting in New Bern in early December.  The jar eventually was returned but it wasn’t clear whether all of the money also was returned because it had not been counted prior to the theft.  NewsChannel 12 reports this week that a businessman in the community, John Peterson, reached out to Brown’s family after hearing the story, offering a donation to make up any unrecovered contributions.  The investigation into the shooting and the theft still is ongoing.

Jail Death Settlement.  Last year the News Roundup noted that the family of a woman, Michele Smiley, who died of a methamphetamine overdose while in custody at the Buncombe County Detention Center had filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the county.  WLOS reported this week that Buncombe has reached a $2 million settlement with Smiley’s family.  The settlement follows a DHHS investigation that revealed deficiencies in jail staff’s handling of the incident.

New Case Citation Format.  The North Carolina Supreme Court issued an administrative order earlier this month that creates a new universal case citation for opinions issued by the state’s appellate courts, beginning January 1, 2021.  Opinions that are filed on or after that date will be assigned an opinion number and will include paragraph numbers.  These additions will enable the use of a consistent universal citation to appellate opinions as soon as they are issued.  The examples given in the administrative order are: State v. Smith, 375 N.C. 152, 2020-NCSC-45, ¶ 16; State v. Smith, 255 N.C. App. 43, 2020-NCCOA-118, ¶ 23.

Welty Well Wishes.  We can’t have a final News Roundup and blog post of the year without a sendoff for the blog’s founder, the original author of the roundup, our colleague, and our friend Jeff Welty.  As Jeff wrote last week, he’s heading to the North Carolina Department of Justice to lead the Special Prosecutions and Law Enforcement Section of the NC DOJ’s Criminal Division.  We’ll miss Jeff’s legal analysis, leadership, and good humor but we look forward to seeing him in the hallways of the SOG again and soon – my understanding is that Shea already has negotiated his commitment to some guest teaching after the turn of the year.  Best wishes to Jeff from all of us.

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