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News Roundup

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Next week, from Wednesday to Friday, the School of Government is virtually hosting the Public Defender Attorney and Investigator Conference.  The event is co-sponsored by the Office of Indigent Defense Services, the North Carolina Association of Public Defenders, and the North Carolina Association of Public Defender Investigators.  Held through the Zoom webinar platform, the event is open to IDS employees, private assigned counsel, and contract attorneys handling indigent criminal and delinquency cases.  Registration is open until midnight on Sunday, August 16.  You can sign up and find more information here.  Keep reading for more news.

College Parties.  The return of college students to campuses across the country in recent weeks means a return to college parties, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.  As a local example, ABC 11 reports that the ECU Police Department already has shut down 20 parties since the start of the semester in Greenville, one of which had more than 400 students in attendance.  According to the ABC report, officers are giving warnings to students at parties but will consider more serious enforcement action if they have to return to the same event multiple times.

Flynn Hearing.  This week the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals held an en banc hearing to determine if the federal judge presiding over the criminal case against former national security advisor Michael Flynn will be allowed to rule on whether prosecutors may dismiss the case against Flynn.

When the News Roundup last noted the Flynn case, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan had taken the unusual step of appointing a retired federal judge, John Gleeson, to present arguments against the Department of Justice’s motion to dismiss the case, a motion that was itself unusual in that it was filed after Flynn already had pleaded guilty to charges of lying to federal investigators.  Earlier this summer, Gleeson filed a brief calling the motion to dismiss a “gross abuse of prosecutorial power.”  Before that brief was filed and before Sullivan had ruled on the DOJ’s motion to dismiss, Flynn sought a writ of mandamus from the D.C. Circuit asking the court to order Sullivan to dismiss the case.  A three judge panel of the court granted Flynn’s petition in a 2-1 decision but provided Sullivan the option to seek review by the en banc court, leading to the hearing this week. 

Iowa Voting.  ABC News reports that Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds recently signed an executive order that grants many convicted felons the right to vote following the completion of their sentences.  The order doesn’t automatically apply to people convicted of certain serious offenses, such as murder, who must petition the governor for the restoration of their voting rights.  Iowa apparently was the last state in the country that permanently banned people from voting following any felony conviction.  The report says that Governor Reynolds has supported restoring the right to vote following a felony conviction in part because of her own experience with DWI arrests several decades ago.

Sign Stolen.  The News Roundup has a history of noting unusual thefts – giant chicken statues, grandma’s fine china, grandma’s frozen bacon, and even a Missouri woman’s entire house.  This week WLOS reported on another for the list, and this one was simply unexpected.  Someone has made off with a giant billboard promoting the town of Marion, that peaceful gem just off Exit 81.  If you know anything about the heist, which occurred sometime over a 10-day period at the beginning of this month, please contact McDowell County Crime Stoppers.

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