Several recent news stories may be of interest to readers of this blog:
1. Sotomayor scuttlebutt: Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings are scheduled to begin next week. There’s no reason to doubt that she’ll be confirmed, and the ABA just rated her “highly qualified,” all of which makes one wonder about the value of the Congressional Research Service’s report on her record as a court of appeals judge. One minor ethical issue that has cropped up and has some North Carolina relevance is her use of the name “Sotomayor and Associates” for a legal consulting business that she ran in the 1980s. It appears that she was the only attorney in the practice, making the use of “and associates” misleading. In North Carolina, a solo practitioner’s use of “and associates” is specifically prohibited — the comment to Rule 7.5 notes that “[i]t is . . . misleading to use a designation such a ‘Smith and Associates’ for a solo practice.”
2. The Triangle’s left-leaning free weekly, the Independent, produced a story about the financial impact of the death penalty, a topic that’s also hot in other states as I noted here. The story has received some national attention, which you can check out here.
3. Although the North Carolina appellate courts continue cranking out opinions — including a batch yesterday from the Court of Appeals, several of which will be highlighted in future blog posts — the United States Supreme Court is done until October. Just as flowers bloom in spring, analyses of the just-completed Term bloom in summer. The New York Times’s analysis has a cool graphic showing the Justices’ votes in the 5-4 cases decided this term. A collection of other analyses is available here.
4. Finally, the AP reports that the man who killed five people in South Carolina this week and then was shot by police in Gastonia was recently released from prison in North Carolina. (Other stories about this matter are here and here.) Although some have suggested that more should have been done to keep him off the streets, the DOC’s website shows that he was sentenced to more than ten years as a habitual felon after committing a number of breaking/entering and larceny crimes. (Not sure if the link will work, but his DOC profile is here.)