A 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department in Minnesota, Kim Potter, was charged this week with second-degree manslaughter for killing 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop where Potter possibly confused her pistol for her taser. The incident, which involved a white officer and a Black victim and occurred in relatively close proximity to the location where Derek Chauvin’s trial is being held, sparked several nights of protests. Following a traffic stop for an expired registration, Potter was attempting to take Wright into custody on an outstanding arrest warrant for failure to appear when Wright attempted to get back into his car and flee the stop. Body camera footage appears to show Potter yelling “Taser” before firing a single fatal shot with her Glock service pistol. Keep reading for more news.
Defense News. There are two items of interest from the SOG’s Public Defense Education Group this week. First, Ian Mance has written a new white paper on COVID-19 and the management of juries during trial and deliberations. Among other things, the paper considers the potential impact of juror concerns about COVID-19 on their deliberations and of a juror or key participant testing positive for COVID-19 after the jury has been seated. This paper is the third in a series related to COVID-19 and jury trials; the first two, along with a variety of other resources focused on defense practice during the pandemic, can be found in Public Defense Education Group’s COVID-19 Tool Kit.
In other Public Defense Education Group news, John Rubin recently participated with Morrisville Chief of Police Patrice Andrews in a discussion of the ongoing trial of Derek Chauvin on the WRAL program On the Record. The discussion is available to stream here.
Long. Last year the News Roundup noted that Ronnie Long was pardoned by Governor Cooper after serving almost 44 years for a 1976 rape that he did not commit, the third longest time served in U.S. history for an exonerated person. This week the Charlotte Observer reported that Long has received $750,000 from the state as compensation for his wrongful conviction under Article 8 of G.S. Chapter 148. That amount is the maximum available under the statute but works out to only about $17,000 for each year Long spent in prison.
Backlog Arrests. This blog frequently has noted the rape kit backlog in states across the nation, including here in North Carolina. WRAL reports that the Durham Police Department has been working through its untested rape kits and announced two arrests this week in years-old sexual assault cases. Isadore Sullivan Jr., was charged with a 2007 rape and Carlos Dominguez-Aguilar was charged with a 2015 rape, each arrest was the result of DNA evidence obtained from rape kits that were tested as a result of grant funding from the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative. The WRAL article says that since 2019 the department has tested 270 out of roughly 1,700 kits in its backlog.
Madoff. As the Associated Press reports, notorious Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff died this week of chronic kidney failure at the Federal Medical Center in Butner. Madoff, who at one time was the chairman of the Nasdaq, defrauded billions of dollars from clients of his investment advisory business over several decades by fabricating stock trades and paying returns with other client’s money.