News Roundup

Yesterday Justice Stephen Breyer announced that he will retire from the United States Supreme Court when the court takes its summer recess later this year, assuming that his successor has been confirmed by that time.  As a profile from SCOTUSblog explains, Breyer was nominated to the Supreme Court by former President Bill Clinton in 1994 after serving for 14 years on the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals.  President Joe Biden made a campaign pledge to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court and said yesterday that he intends to follow through on that commitment by the end of February.  Keep reading for more news.

Webinar.  When the calendar turns to February, many North Carolina lawyers begin wondering whether they’ve fulfilled their annual CLE requirements.  We’ve got exciting news for folks who need more CLE credit and for those who don’t – the School of Government will be hosting a live criminal law webinar on February 18 from 1:30 to 3:00pm covering topics such as drug offenses, legislative changes to law enforcement procedures, satellite-based monitoring, juvenile justice, and expunctions.  Join us for a lively conversation about the law with faculty members Phil Dixon, Jacqui Greene, Jamie Markham, John Rubin, Jeff Welty, and Brittany Williams.  More information about registering for the course is available here.

Kidnapping Complications.  Last year alleged plots by more than a dozen men to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, kill law enforcement officers, and attack the State Capitol in Lansing became major national news.  The story has been back in the news in recent weeks because as the federal trial of five of the men draws near it appears that they will present an entrapment defense.  As the New York Times reports, four out of twelve men who were involved in a widely reported incident where they surveilled Whitmer’s vacation home and assessed how to blow up a nearby bridge were either government informants or undercover FBI agents.  Defense attorneys in the case are arguing that the informants and undercover agents acted as the driving force behind the plots against Whitmer and also have raised questions about FBI agents who supervised the investigation.  The trial is scheduled to begin in early March.

Officers Save Life.  WNCN reports that three Hillsborough police officers helped save a man’s life after he passed out at the local Walmart.  Sgt. Nicole Senter was at the store responding to a fraud call when she saw the man pass out and determined that he did not have a pulse.  Senter started performing CPR and called for assistance.  Two other officers arrived soon thereafter and assisted Senter until EMS arrived.  The Hillsborough PD has a Facebook post about the incident here.

Avenatti.  Michael Avenatti and Stormy Daniels were back in the headlines this week after Daniels testified at Avenatti’s federal criminal fraud trial in New York.  Daniels testified that Avenatti stole hundreds of thousands of dollars of a book advance that she had received for “Full Disclosure,” a 2018 memoir where she discussed her sexual relationship with former President Donald Trump, among other things.  Avenatti, who was convicted of unrelated federal fraud charges in 2020, is representing himself and is expected to cross examine Daniels today.