What a week! The news stories just kept coming. It started off over the weekend, when the News and Observer published this interesting article about upcoming appellate arguments over the state’s “born alive” rule. As the article notes, “[t]he state Supreme Court has said that to convict someone for murder under common law, the victim must be born alive, capable of living independently of his mother, and must have died from injuries suffered prior to birth.” Apparently, 35 states follow the contrary rule, i.e., they allow murder charges to be brought based on the killing of a fetus. The article notes that the General Assembly may address this issue as well. In other news:
1. Durham novelist and convicted murder Michael Peterson is seeking a new trial, according to this News and Observer report. The basis of his request is that former SBI agent Duane Deaver, who has been blamed for many of the problems at the SBI lab, was a crucial witness at Peterson’s trial. The motion apparently alleges that “Deaver has had a long-standing pattern and practice of fabricating inculpatory evidence, concealing exculpatory evidence, tailoring his testimony to whatever the prosecutor wanted or needed him to say, and committing perjury in order to advance his primary goal: to secure the conviction of the person on trial.”
2. Several School of Government publications and educational opportunities were released this week. The 2010 supplement to North Carolina Crimes is available here; a recent webinar on felony sentencing is available free in recorded form here; and a new edition of Arrest Warrant and Indictment Forms is available here.
3. For those interested in the United States Supreme Court, this video of Deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben, veteran of 77 oral arguments before the Court, being interviewed by Duke professor Sara Sun Beale may be worth viewing. Likewise, this story about the defendant who won a new trial in the important Confrontation Clause case Melendez-Diaz v. Massachussetts may be worth a look. (Spoiler: he was acquitted on retrial, but apparently not because of his enhanced right to confrontation.)
4. Fans of Malcolm Gladwell, and fans and critics of law school rankings, may be interested in this WSJ law blog article about Gladwell’s own law school rankings, and his criticism of the ubiquitous U.S. News rankings. Apparently, Gladwell thinks that U.S. News ought to place more empahsis on value for money in its rankings. Factoring that in, he gets some interesting results. For example, BYU is second, and NYU is 33rd. Further discussion of Gladwell’s methodology is available here on the Volokh Conspiracy.
5. Other stuff that may be of interest: this piece on the decline of trial lawyers; this article about Colombian drug dealers’ cocaine-transporting submarine, with an eight-ton capacity; this post about English cops ordering homeowners to “remove wire mesh from their windows as burglars could be injured”; this story about a 25 year old just arrested for the 67th time (he murdered a janitor at age 15, and if convicted of his most recent charge, it would be his tenth felony since 2007); and this quick tidbit — titled, in part, the “blogfather” — about a blog written by an imprisoned mafia boss.