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News Roundup

As WLOS reports, a man who fired shots at a law enforcement officer in downtown Asheville on Tuesday morning was shot and killed by deputies who were at the Buncombe County Courthouse and responded to the nearby scene.  Shane Tilman Kent was killed after shooting a 9mm handgun from inside a parked vehicle near the courthouse.  One sheriff’s office lieutenant involved in the incident sustained injuries to his arm, either from a bullet or broken glass from the car Kent was in when he was shot.  The SBI now is assisting in the investigation.  Keep reading for more news.

Federal Prisons.  This week the Federal Bureau of Prisons announced that it would confine the entire population of federal prisoners to their cells for fourteen days in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the prison system.  The Associated Press reports that the move comes after three inmates have died and many others have been hospitalized at FCC Oakdale, a prison in Louisiana.  More than a dozen staff members at the prison also have tested positive, with one hospitalized and in intensive care.  Severe staffing shortages in the federal prison system are compounding the strain caused by the virus, with the AP report saying that some employees at Oakdale are working 32 hours straight to fill scheduling gaps.

State Prisons.  The Charlotte Observer reports that inmates and employees at various prisons in North Carolina have now been diagnosed with COVID-19.  Two inmates at Neuse Correctional Institution along with an inmate at Caledonia Correctional Complex and another at Johnston Correctional Institution have tested positive.  The prison employees who tested positive work at Johnston, Maury Correctional Institution, Eastern Correctional Institution, and Central Prison.  The Observer report further notes that a contract nurse who worked at the Mecklenburg County Juvenile Detention Center also has tested positive for the virus.

Prison officials announced new steps to reduce the spread of the virus in the state’s prisons, saying on Wednesday that employees are subject to temperature checks and screening questions when reporting to work and will be denied entry if they present a risk.  In addition, inmates who are brought into state prisons from county jails will be isolated for 14 days.  Certain units at the prisons that have been exposed to the virus have been quarantined.

Trooper Passes.  Flags across the state have been flying at half-mast this week in honor of North Carolina State Highway Patrol Trooper Nolan Sanders, who died in the line of duty in a car accident.  Sanders was on duty and driving north on Interstate 795 in Pikeville on Friday night when his vehicle left the road and collided with a culvert.  A NCSHP Sergeant said that it did not appear that Sanders was involved in an enforcement action at the time of the accident.

Deputy Passes.  The Pilot reports that Deputy Sypraseuth ‘Bud’ Phouangphrachanh of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office died this week from complications caused by COVID-19.  Phouangphrachanh was a 14-year veteran of the Montgomery Sheriff’s Office and had previously served as a police officer in the Town of Candor.  The report says that “Deputy Bud,” as he was known in the community, was popular with his colleagues and students in Montgomery County schools where he served as a School Resource Officer.

Pistol Permits.  WRAL reports that the Wake County Sheriff’s Office has announced an agreement with a plaintiff who sued the office when it temporarily halted the issuance of pistol purchase permits due to the coronavirus pandemic.  The Sheriff’s office said that the combination of an increase in applications for the permits and new social distancing requirements had caused issues at the ACSO Pistol Permits Office.  Under the agreement, the office will operate a modified application process.

Legal Updates from the Judicial College.  After last Friday’s successful zoom criminal law update, we have decided to do another one. Phil Dixon, John Rubin and I will host an online forum next Thursday, April 9, 2020, from 1 – 2 p.m. to talk about recent criminal law decisions by our appellate courts.

We are now able to accommodate 500 people on our zoom presentations and availability is on a first-come-first-serve basis. Participants will be muted but may send in questions using the chat feature.

To maintain a level of security we will not be publicly posting the zoom meeting link or meeting ID. Many of you already received an email announcement with the information. If you still need the login information for the next Legal Updates from the Judicial College, please complete this short form and we will email you the instructions on how to join: https://www.sog.unc.edu/webforms/legal-updates-judicial-college.

We look forward to talking with you on Thursday!

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