News Roundup

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden spoke at an event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, marking the 100th anniversary of a 1921 racist mob attack that left hundreds dead and the Black community of Greenwood destroyed but that was not widely known by the general public until recently.  NPR notes that several documentary projects focusing on what is now known as the Tulsa Race Massacre are being released this month, including films from PBS and the History Channel.  Keep reading for more news.

APD.  The Asheville Police Department announced in a press release on Wednesday that it is experiencing a staffing crisis and, effective immediately, will no longer respond to a variety of lower-level crimes, ranging from certain thefts under $1,000 to simple assaults reported after the fact.  The announcement said that the department has lost 84 officers since the beginning of 2020 and that the changes are necessary to improve response times to emergency calls to 911.  People still may report these lower-level crimes, including by using the department’s online tool, and an officer will respond when available.  WLOS has more about the story here.

Deputy Shot.  The News & Observer reports that Wake County Sheriff’s Deputy Ronald Waller was shot with an assault rifle on Wednesday while serving an eviction notice at an apartment complex in Raleigh.  At a press conference, Sheriff Gerald Baker said  Raleigh Police Department officers responded to the scene and worked with EMS to transport Waller to the hospital. Waller, who underwent surgery and is recovering, has been with the sheriff’s office for over 20 years.  Eddie Dewain Craig is suspected of the shooting and has been charged with attempted murder.

Meat Cyberattack.  There was another major cyberattack this week, this time targeting a large meat processing company JBS, which is the highest volume beef producer in the United States.  The company had to shut down operations at 13 plants across the country after its systems were infected with ransomware.  The FBI has attributed the attack to a Russian speaking group known as REvil.

Giglio Letters.  Carolina Public Press has an article this week that explores practices related to “Giglio letters” – letters from a district attorney’s office to a law enforcement agency indicating that an officer essentially is disqualified from testifying in criminal cases because of misconduct that undermines the officer’s credibility.  Many times, such letters effectively end an officer’s career with the particular agency but the letters are not always shared with other agencies, leading to situations where an officer may be hired in a new jurisdiction despite his or her past misconduct.  The Carolina Public Press report notes that legislation, supported by the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association, is pending in the General Assembly that would require Giglio letters to be submitted to the North Carolina Criminal Justice Standards Committee so that they can be maintained in a database.

COVID White Paper.  The UNC School of Government’s Public Defense Education group has released a new white paper, available here, on COVID-19, Guilty Pleas, and Motions for Appropriate Relief. The paper reviews possible grounds for post-conviction relief for defendants who entered guilty pleas during the pandemic, including lack of a voluntary plea, dangerous jail conditions, pandemic-related ineffective assistance of counsel, and invalid waivers of counsel, among others. Authored by attorney Ian Mance, the paper is the latest in a series of white papers, legal bulletins, and blogs published by the School on COVID-19 and its impact on criminal defense practice, all of which can be found in the School’s COVID-19 Defense Tool Kit.

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