News Roundup

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According to this report, when United States Supreme Court clerks are looking for commentary about cutting-edge legal issues — like when they’re considering petitions for certiorari — they don’t look at law reviews anymore. They read blogs. I have a new spring in my step today! In other news:

1. The News and Observer reports that Attorney General Cooper has tapped retired court of appeals judge Gerald Arnold to be the temporary head of the SBI lab.

2. Cases are coming fast and furious (quickly and furiously?) about surveillance technologies. The Third Circuit just decided an important cell-phone tracking case (report here, opinion here, commentary here). And shortly after I posted my update on GPS tracking, a Virginia appellate court held that warrantless tracking is OK (report here, opinion here).

3. The lethargic economy has many states struggling to balance their budgets. The New York Times reports that in Missouri and elsewhere, budget woes are contributing to a severely overburdened indigent defense system. An interesting proposal for addressing some of the problems in indigent defense comes from the CATO Institute, which suggests a voucher system that would allow indigent defendants to choose their own attorneys. (Hat tip: Sentencing Law and Policy.)

4. Other stories that caught my eye this week include this report that the DEA is recruiting Ebonics translators; this New York Times piece about those blog-reading Supreme Court law clerks and their political ideologies; and this report regarding the successful use of a single-drug execution protocol in Washington, apparently following Ohio’s lead in moving away from the three-drug protocol used in most states.

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