News Roundup

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The top story of the week is the controversy surrounding the new ban on electronic sweepstakes.  I posted about it yesterday, and after my initial post, the Attorney General issued an opinion letter regarding the situation, and announced his intention to appeal a superior court judge’s ruling that held part of the law unconstitutional.  But there was plenty of other news as well:

1.  The News and Observer ran an AP story about efforts by the Federal government to ban synthetic cannabinoids, commonly sold under brand names such as Spice and K-2. Apparently, the DEA is seeking to add such drugs to the controlled substance schedules on an emergency basis. The General Assembly may also be considering action on that front.

2.  The Scripps Howard news service recently conducted an analysis of FBI crime data, supplemented with data available under open records laws, that revealed the likely presence of as many as seven formerly unknown serial killers. The analysis showed clusters of unsolved homicides of women — four of them apparently in Las Vegas. In at least two cases, the police had not previously considered the possibility of a serial killer. (Hat tip: Crime and Consequences.)

3.  The New York Times recently ran a story about a case in which a critical witness lied about his service as a military veteran.  The defendant was convicted of soliciting the witness to kill three federal officials.  On appeal, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the witness’s misrepresentations were unlikely to have influenced the outcome of the case.  Some veterans groups are angry about the ruling, contending that it devalues the significance of heroic military service.  On the other hand, some commentators are angry about the Times‘ coverage of the case, suggesting that the article distorts the court’s reasoning and understates the strength of the evidence against the defendant.

4.  A few additional tidbits that may be of interest to some.  First, a British woman recently reported the theft of her snowman to police.  Second, a recent report concluded that being a judge is a disappearing job with no future.  Third, citizens of Oklahoma are understandably agitated about a recent story regarding a convicted cop killer who was smoking pot, using a Blackberry, and posting to Facebook from his prison cell.  The inmate has apparently been transferred, and my guess is that his new accommodations have fewer amenities.  Finally, the American bar association has issued its annual Blawg 100 awards.  We were overlooked, but at least we are in the ABA’s overarching indexn of legal blogs for the first time.  Baby steps.

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