News Roundup

Lots of news again this week.

1. The News and Observer ran this story, the opening line of which is “[e]very case former State Bureau of Investigation Agent Duane Deaver touched is now a potential land mine.” It’s an interesting read, and it raises some serious legal issues. Plus, my colleague Jessie Smith is quoted. I should add that a letter to the editor in the newspaper yesterday asserted that “[a] recent statement made by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD) in effect clears Deaver of any wrongdoing.” I haven’t followed all the details of this issue closely enough to know which statement is referenced. If someone else does, please let me know or post a comment. Update: here it is.

2. The General Assembly continues to work away. Perhaps the most interesting development of the week was the unveiling of the Council of State Government’s recommendations for “justice reinvestment.” Broadly, the idea is to save money on corrections by running a better probation system, and to plow the savings into reducing recidivism. As described here, the recommendations include “immediate, short-term punishments [short of full revocation] on probationers who fail a drug test or fail to report to their probation officers.” A more detailed summary of the proposals — including changes to the habitual felon laws and the expansion of post-release supervision — is available here.

3. A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned developments in connection with the Racial Justice Act. The Act has drawn national attention, and this post notes that Michigan State University is convening a conference about it. I believe that some of the defendants who have filed claims under the Act are relying on a study conducted by Michigan State professors, so I suppose that there’s a bit of a nexus there. Query the fate of the conference if the General Assembly repeals or severely limits the Act, as some have predicted.

4. My colleague and co-blogger Shea Denning has recently completed an online module on the basics of DWI. It’s available on this page. You can view it for free, or pay a few bucks and get CLE credit. Writing about DWI reminds me that I saw this item recently. Apparently, a Nebraska man was just arrested for his third DWI. Nothing too newsworthy about that, except that he had “two men and two women in the front of [his] truck,” all of whom were nude. I’m not sure if that’s an aggravating factor or what, but hopefully the scenario is covered in Shea’s module.

5. The Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office has raided a video gaming parlor in what appears to be the first case under the new electronic sweepstakes law. You can read more about the raid here, and more about the law here.

6. Last, the usual miscellany: blogs are apparently being killed off by Twitter and Facebook, according to the New York Times (but we’re setting records for readership); perhaps proving the triumph of the newest new media, the Death Penalty Information Center now has an “app,” seriously; and, while many new lawyers struggle to find work, some partners at major corporate law firms have broken through the $1,000 per hour billing barrier. I think I’m in the wrong line of work.

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