Yesterday, Justice Stephen Breyer officially resigned his seat on the Supreme Court of the United States after 28 years of service. Justice Breyer, universally described as a kind and humble person, was one of the more liberal members of the current Court on criminal justice matters. In his famous dissent in Glossip v. Gross, 576 U.S. 863 (2015), he argued that the death penalty “in and of itself” constitutes a cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the Eighth Amendment. His replacement and former law clerk, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, was sworn in by Chief Justice Roberts. ABC news has more details here, including a lovely picture of Justices Breyer and Brown Jackson together. Keep reading for more news. Continue reading
Tag Archives: news
Many Americans have been paying close attention to the proceedings of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. Among the interested observers are federal prosecutors at the United States Department of Justice, who are increasingly frustrated with the Committee’s refusal to provide DOJ with transcripts of the Committee’s witness interviews. Politico reports here that DOJ thinks the transcripts may be useful in its effort to prosecute those who engaged in criminal activity during the attack. DOJ also views the Committee’s selective release of transcripts during televised hearings as fueling defense arguments that the Committee is making it impossible for defendant to get a fair trial. Continue reading →
This week, the North Carolina Senate passed a bill that would allow marijuana to be used for medical purposes. According to the legislative findings at the beginning of the bill, 37 states already permit marijuana to be used legally under at least some circumstances. Although the bill had bipartisan support in the Senate, its fate in the House is uncertain. Keep reading for more news. Continue reading →
On Sunday evening, the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history occurred at a country music concert in Las Vegas. Armed with more than 20 guns, some modified for increased rates of fire, Stephen C. Paddock killed 58 people and wounded more than 500 others by firing upon concert-goers from an elevated position inside the Mandalay Bay hotel. The Las Vegas Review-Journal has comprehensive coverage of the shooting. Keep reading for more news. Continue reading →
CNN reports that “[t]he latest FBI annual hate crimes report shows a sharp spike in the number of hate crimes nationwide, with attacks against Muslims increasing the most sharply.” The report is based on data from 2015, compared to 2014. While the percentage increase for crimes against Muslims was greatest, anti-Semitic incidents were the most prevalent in absolute terms. The report is available here. Has there been an increase in hate crimes after the recent presidential election? Yes. Or, no. Or, yes, just like after President Obama was first elected. We may need more than 10 days of data to answer that question definitively. Keep reading for more news.
The Charlotte Observer reports that North Carolina did not have a Powerball jackpot winner but that two tickets worth $2 million each were sold in the state, one in Raleigh and the other in Spring Lake. According to the Chicago Tribune, lottery winners should hire lawyers before coming forward to claim their prizes. According to the ABA Journal, if you participate with others in a ticket-buying group, it may be a good idea to consult with a lawyer before even buying tickets in order to avoid a potentially costly dispute regarding the terms of the joint purchase agreement. The first thing we do, let’s hire some lawyers, as it were.
[Editor’s note: We’re trying a new system for the news roundup. Rather than having a faculty member, usually Jeff, compile the roundup, we’ve asked a staff attorney to take the lead most weeks.]
In the fortnight since the final news roundup of 2015, a group of armed protesters seized a building in a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, President Obama announced new executive actions intended to reduce gun violence, Durham posted the job description for the city’s Chief of Police, and the new Star Wars film became the highest-grossing film in North America. The news has wandered many a weary foot since auld lang syne, and it’s time to round it up: Continue reading →
It’s the last news roundup of 2015! The blog will be on its annual holiday hiatus for the next two weeks, resuming on Monday, January 4, 2016.
It was certainly a full news week. A Baltimore jury hung on manslaughter charges against an officer in connection with the death of Freddie Gray (Baltimore Sun), Disney World added metal detectors after a Florida lawyer was arrested last week trying to smuggle a handgun into the Magic Kingdom (Orlando Sentinel), and California proposed new rules “that could hobble the development of autonomous cars and even ban ‘driverless’ ones outright” (Jalopnik). Quite a bit happened here in North Carolina as well. Continue reading →
Most of the office chatter around the SOG this week concerned the new lawsuit challenging the recently-enacted retention election procedure for North Carolina Supreme Court Justices. The basic question is whether that procedure satisfies the state constitution’s requirement that justices be elected. The Fayetteville Observer has more information here. But that wasn’t the only interesting story of the week.