News Roundup

The biggest legal story of the week was the surprise leak of a draft opinion for the U.S. Supreme Court written by Justice Samuel Alito that would overturn Roe v. Wade.  Politico broke the story and later reported Chief Justice John Roberts’s confirmation that the leaked draft was authentic and his direction to the Marshal of the Court to launch an investigation into the leak.  Keep reading for more news.

Conspiracy Plea.  The Associated Press reports that a North Carolina man, William Todd Wilson of Newton Grove, pleaded guilty this week to federal charges of seditious conspiracy and obstructing an official proceeding based on his participation in the January 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol.  Wilson was a member of the Oath Keepers anti-government militia and brought weapons to the Washington area the day before he entered the Capitol with other members of the group.

The AP story says that 780 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the attack at the Capitol and that more than 270 have pleaded guilty.

Legal Researcher.  Readers may be interested to know that the SOG Criminal Justice Innovation Lab is hiring a Legal Research Specialist to join its growing interdisciplinary team working on evidence-based solutions that promote a fair and effective criminal justice system.  The Research Specialist will be an attorney who, among other things, is responsible for legal research and writing supporting the Lab’s projects and model tools.  More information about the position and a link to the application is available here.

Sheriff’s Office Investigation.  WITN reports that the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that it is the subject of an ongoing federal investigation, which the office says is related to “old cases that were handled by a prior employee.”  Few details of the investigation have been made public and the Sheriff’s Office says that it is fully cooperating with federal investigators.

COVID Fine Fight.  Back in early 2020, the News Roundup noted that Deputy Sypraseuth ‘Bud’ Phouangphrachanh of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office had passed away from complications of COVID-19.  WFMY reported this week that the North Carolina Department of Labor has fined the sheriff’s office $4000 for failing to report Phouangphrachanh’s passing as a work-related COVID death within 8 hours as required by law.

Sheriff Chris Watkins said that it took weeks to confirm that Phouangphrachanh caught COVID while on the job and that he attempted to stay in touch with State officials during the investigation but many people were out of their offices during the early pandemic lockdowns.  An official with the Department of Labor said that they took calls and emails without interruption in the spring of 2020 but Watkins says that he plans to appeal the citation and fine in part because of its insensitivity.