News Roundup

Published for NC Criminal Law on September 15, 2017.

A shooting at a high school near Spokane, Washington, on Wednesday morning left one student dead and three others injured.  Caleb Sharpe, a sophomore at Freeman High School, is accused of killing fellow student Sam Strahan and wounding three other students.  Reportedly armed with an AR-15 rifle and a handgun, Sharpe is said to have opened fire in a hallway just before classes were scheduled to begin.  A report from local paper The Spokesman-Review says that Sharpe began the attack with the rifle, which soon jammed.  He then began firing the handgun before being tackled and disarmed by a school custodian.  The story was developing at the time of writing.  Keep reading for more news.

 

U.S. Attorney Nominations.  Late last week the White House announced that President Donald Trump had made his sixth wave of United States Attorney nominations.  Among the nominations are positions in North Carolina’s Middle and Western Districts.  R. Andrew Murray, currently the District Attorney of Mecklenburg County, has been nominated to serve as the United States Attorney for the Western District.  Matthew G.T. Martin, currently Associate General Counsel for Duke Energy, has been nominated to serve as the United States Attorney for the Middle District.

Stephens Retiring.  Wake County Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens has announced that he will retire at the end of October according to WRAL.  Stephens has served as the senior resident judge in Wake since 2001.  He was appointed to the bench in 1984 and elected as a resident judge in 1986.  His tenure as senior resident has been the longest of any in the history of Wake County.  The News & Observer reports that Chief Justice Mark Martin has selected Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul C. Ridgeway as the county’s next senior resident judge.

Posner Retiring.  Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard A. Posner unexpectedly announced his retirement from the federal bench earlier this month.  Posner was a sometimes-provocative member of the federal judiciary and is a prolific author on various topics related to the law.  In a New York Times interview after his announcement, Posner said that his retirement was prompted by the sudden realization that people without lawyers are mistreated by the legal system and a calling to do something about the situation.  Describing his approach to judging, Posner said that he “pay[s] very little attention to legal rules, statutes, [and] constitutional provisions,” instead preferring to resolve disputes with sensible solutions.

Motorway.  WRAL reports that a state audit released this week revealed that “[s]everal high-ranking State Highway Patrol members lived up to 187 miles from where they worked last year.”  Agency policy requires troopers to live within 20 miles of the county line where they are assigned.  The report says that the audit identified eight troopers who lived at least 68 miles from their duty stations.  The report also says that each trooper denied commuting long distances to work but that in some cases those denials were contradicted by fuel logs.

Doing Work.  The Gainesville Police Department inadvertently lightened the mood in Florida prior to the arrival of Hurricane Irma over the weekend by posting a picture to the department’s Facebook page of three officers reporting for duty ahead of the storm.  The photo’s caption said that the officers were members of the “night crew” and were “ready to do some work,” phrases that the department likely didn’t realize could be construed as double entendres – until the comments started rolling in.  Now a calendar is in the works.

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Topics - Courts and Judicial Administration