Melendez-Diaz: Crawford Applies to Lab Reports

In yesterday’s frivolous post, I said that legal news was slow. Not anymore! The United States Supreme Court decided Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts yesterday. It’s a big Confrontation Clause case, and I expect that Jessica Smith, the Crawford expert on our faculty, will eventually weigh in with an expert analysis. But since Jessie’s still busy administering … Read more

Bluff the Listener

At the risk of sounding like a Volvo-driving academic from Chapel Hill, I’ll admit to enjoying some of National Public Radio’s weekend programming, including the game show Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. My favorite part of the show is a segment called Bluff the Listener, where a caller is asked to distinguish between fictional and actual news stories. Suffice it to say, the actual news stories are at least as bizarre as the fictional ones.

With the judges’ and DAs’ conferences this week, legal news is a little slow, so I thought it would be fun to play a legal variant of the same game. Of the four news items below, one is fictional, and the other three are real. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to identify the fictional one.  Ready? Here you go:

1. 200 French prison inmates are currently participating in a 15-day cycling “Tour de France,” just weeks before the world’s best professional cyclists begin their Tour de France. The inmates are accompanied by “prison sports instructors” during their travels, and “breakaways,” an important feature of the real Tour, are apparently frowned upon.

2. A 13-year-old boy from Missouri just graduated from the St. Louis University School of Law, becoming, according to media reports, the youngest attorney in the United States. The boy, who was homeschooled until starting college at age 10, admits that “some people may be uncomfortable with a lawyer my age” but says that he is “used to dealing with stereotypes.” H reports that he already has a job lined up at a law firm in his hometown, and that he has joined the Young Lawyers’ Division of the state bar association. He plans to be the longest-serving member of the Division when he ages out of eligibility . . . in 2031.

3. Two months after being named Officer of the Year, a Chicago police officer celebrated the honor by assaulting a police chief, being charged with a felony, and being placed on administrative leave. News reports contain no information suggesting that he offered to return the award.

4. An inmate at the federal supermax prison in Colorado has requested court-appointed counsel to assist him in suing the Bureau of Prisons over the food served at the prison. He claims that he is not receiving enough whole grains and fresh produce, and that the diet is causing him to “sin against God.”

If I knew how to include a poll in this post, I’d do it. But I don’t, so I have to trust you. To learn which story is fictional, read on using the link below.

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Analysis of DWI Procedures under Fowler and Palmer

Shea Denning, who is the motor vehicle and DWI expert on the School of Government’s faculty, has read, re-read, and re-re-read State v. Fowler and State v. Palmer, the recent Court of Appeals cases concerning the special procedures for motions to suppress and motions to dismiss in DWI cases. The product of her labors is … Read more

State v. Bare and Satellite-Based Monitoring

I’m in Asheville for the next few days, but I wanted to write briefly about an important case decided by the Court of Appeals last week. In State v. Bare, the court held that satellite-based monitoring (SBM) of sex offenders is not punishment, and therefore does not implicate the Ex Post Facto Clause. The defendant … Read more

News Roundup

Several interesting news items have cropped up recently. First, the United States Supreme Court decided District Attorney’s Office v. Osborne, in which a 5-4 majority ruled that there is no constitutional right to post-conviction DNA testing. Having slogged through the whole decision, my sense is that it will have limited impact in North Carolina given … Read more

Caught on Camera

It seems that video cameras are everywhere, these days: at the bank, at every youth soccer game, in jails and prisons, at Wal-Mart. One often-cited (but apparently questionable) statistic suggests that Londoners are caught on camera 300 times per day. Americans, too, are videotaped frequently. Some of the cameras belong to police departments, who often … Read more

Gant and Herring

The Supreme Court (Washington, not Raleigh) has been exceptionally busy with criminal law matters over the last few months. As readers of this blog know, two of the blockbuster decisions this Term have been Arizona v. Gant, which severely restricted vehicle searches incident to arrest, and Herring v. United States, which held that the exclusionary … Read more

State v. Byrd and Violations of DVPOs

Editor’s note: Several readers have reported technical difficulties with the blog. I’m trying to solve the problem, but in the meantime, (1) it seems to be limited to users of Microsoft Internet Explorer, so using a different browser may help, and (2) the last two days’ posts should be viewable here and here. My apologies. … Read more