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News Roundup

The long-awaited North Carolina sports betting law went into effect on Monday. House Bill 347, which was passed last summer, authorizes and regulates wagering on horse racing and on professional, college, and amateur sports. It allows up to twelve legal online sportsbooks and eight in-person sportsbooks to operate at professional sports venues in the state.

The law provides the following penalties for violations of its provisions:

  • A Class 2 misdemeanor for knowingly engaging in wagering in violation of the new law;
  • A Class 2 misdemeanor for any person under the age of 21 to engage in wagering;
  • A Class G felony to influence or attempt to influence the outcome of any competition or aspect of any competition that is the subject of wagering; and
  • A Class I felony for any applicant for a license under the new laws to willfully furnish, supply, or otherwise give false information on the license application.

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News Roundup

A Wisconsin official who posted a photo of his marked ballot on Facebook during the April 2022 election had felony charges against him dropped Monday. Paul Buzzell, a member of a local school board, faced maximum penalties of 3.5 years behind bars and $10,000 in fines and would have been barred from holding elected office if convicted. Ozaukee County Judge Paul Malloy dismissed the charges against Buzzell, expressing that a state law prohibiting voters from showing their marked ballots to anyone else is in violation of the constitutional right to freedom of speech.

According to this AP article, there has been movement in other states in favor of allowing “ballot selfies.” In New Hampshire, a federal judge held that a state law barring an individual’s right to publish their ballot violated the First Amendment. Legislators in Michigan changed state law in 2019 to make ballot selfies legal. The Wisconsin Senate passed a bill in 2020 to legalize ballot selfies, but the proposal died in the state Assembly.

Keep reading for more criminal law news.

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News Roundup

The Colorado Supreme Court upheld the search of Google users’ keyword history to identify suspects in a 2020 fatal arson fire. The Court cautioned it was not making a “broad proclamation” on the constitutionality of such warrants and emphasized it was ruling on the facts of just this one case. At issue before the court was a search warrant from Denver police requiring Google to provide the IP addresses of anyone who had searched over 15 days for the address of the home that was set on fire, killing five people.

According to this AP News article, one suspect asked the court to throw the evidence out because it violated the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures by being overbroad and not being targeted against a specific person suspected of a crime. The Court ruled that the suspect had a constitutionally protected privacy interest in his Google search history even though it was only connected with an IP address and not his name. While assuming that the warrant was “constitutionally defective” for not specifying an “individualized probable cause,” the Court said it would not throw out the evidence because police were acting in good faith under what was known about the law at the time.

Keep reading for more criminal law news.

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News Roundup

After more than 25 years, an arrest has been made in the killing of the rapper Tupac Shakur, as AP news reports here. “Pac” died in a drive-by shooting in 1996 in Las Vegas at the age of 25. The suspect is charged in Nevada state court with murder by deadly weapon. Police allege that the man supplied the gun and otherwise assisted in the homicide. The defendant is the last living suspect in the case and has apparently publicly acknowledged his presence at the crime scene and involvement over the years. According to this piece from Time, the arrest is linked to the investigation of another infamous unsolved killing, the murder of Christopher Wallace, a/k/a “the Notorious B.I.G.” He was killed in Los Angeles at age 24 around six months after Tupac. The impact of both men’s short-lived careers on hip-hop can hardly be overstated. Still no word on who shot Biggie Smalls. Read on for more criminal law news.

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News Roundup

I am saddened to share news of the tragic shooting that took place on the UNC’s campus Monday, which led to the death of Professor Zijie Yan. Reports of shots fired led to an hours-long lockdown on the campus and public schools nearby. UNC graduate student Tailei Qi, who was a member of Yan’s research group, has been charged with first-degree murder and carrying a gun on an educational campus in connection with the shooting.

Thank you to all who have reached out to us here at the School of Government.

Keep reading for more criminal law news.

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News Roundup

According to WRAL and other sources, seven homes and one business have been damaged in six fires in Durham since July 2. The homes are all in the same area of town and were vacant at the time. Authorities believe the fires were intentionally set and are actively seeking information from the public about possible suspects. Read on for more criminal law news.

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News Roundup

The indictment of former President Trump continues to dominate the news. Since Shea’s roundup last week noting the federal charges, the indictment was unsealed. It reveals that Trump faces 37 felonies. Most of the charges (31 counts) relate to Trump’s alleged improper storage and retention of national defense information. The indictment also charges conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding and concealing documents from the grand jury and from investigators, and making false statements to investigators. The charging document is a so-called “speaking” indictment, laying out much more specific detail about the circumstances surrounding the charges than the more common bare-bones indictments describing only the commission of the elements of the offense. You can read the indictment here or here. Judge Aileen Cannon, who presided over earlier litigation regarding the search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, has been assigned to the case. The former President has pled not guilty. Read on for more criminal law news.

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New Podcast: The N.C. Criminal Debrief

I’m pleased to announce that a new project, the North Carolina Criminal Debrief Podcast, is up and running. As you might guess, the podcast focuses on criminal law issues affecting the state. The idea is to provide another platform for folks to stay abreast of developments in the field in a way that is accessible … Read more