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News Roundup

Published for NC Criminal Law on October 20, 2017.

It’s been a year since a Molotov cocktail was thrown through the window of the Orange County Republican Party headquarters in Hillsborough, causing substantial damage to the building.  The FBI announced Monday that it was offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in the unsolved case.  Combined with $5,000 rewards offered by the state and the North Carolina Republican Party, the FBI reward brings the total reward money offered to $20,000.  Contact information for the FBI’s Charlotte office is available at the link.  Keep reading for more news.

Prison Employees Killed.  As the Charlotte observer reports, two prison employees were killed and three others were seriously injured late last week during an attempted escape at Pasquotank Correctional Institution.  Correctional Officer Justin Smith and Correction Enterprises manager Veronica Darden were killed the escape attempt, which involved a fire at a prison sewing facility and other violence.  The News & Observer has an article that identifies ways that the public can help the families of those who died or were injured.

Human Trafficking.  The News & Observer reports that FBI agents rescued 84 minors this month in a nationwide operation targeting human trafficking.  Three of the minors rescued were located in North Carolina, and 11 people in the state were arrested on trafficking charges.  The Observer report says that 13 law enforcement agencies across the state participated in the operation.

Clayton Bust.  WRAL reports that the Clayton Police Department executed the largest drug bust in the department’s history this week, arresting 19 people and filing charges against 9 others.  The bust was the culmination of three months of undercover investigation.

#MeToo.  Reports earlier this month from the New York Times and The New Yorker indicating that Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has sexually assaulted and harassed women for decades have brought the issue of sexual assault to the forefront of national conversation.  The hashtag #metoo, a statement that the person using the tag has been harassed or assaulted, has gone viral this week on social media.  Among the countless people sharing their stories is Olympic medalist McKayla Maroney who has alleged that she was molested for years by former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.  Nassar already is facing various criminal charges that are not directly related to Maroney’s allegations.

Foreign Emails.  On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in a major digital privacy case involving a dispute between the Justice Department and Microsoft about whether the content of emails stored outside the United States may be seized pursuant to a domestic search warrant.  As Reuters reports, last year the Second Circuit Court of Appeals prevented federal prosecutors from obtaining the emails of a Microsoft email account user that were stored in Ireland. A blog post about the case written by Microsoft’s Chief Legal Officer is available here.

“Empire” in Juvenile Detention Center.  The Washington Post reports that a federal judge has ruled that a class-action suit against Twentieth Century Fox Television arising from the filming of scenes for the show “Empire” in a Chicago juvenile detention center can move forward.  Certain scenes from the show depicted as taking place in a jail were actually filmed in the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center in the summer of 2015.  The suit alleges that during filming, the facility was placed on lockdown with detainees confined to their cells or small rooms called “pods.”  The suit also alleges that family visits, rehabilitation sessions, and educational programs were cancelled.

Lulu.  Who can forget the inspiring story of Gavel, the German Shepard in Australia who couldn’t cut it as a police dog but was gifted in diplomacy?  This week, the CIA brings us the similar story of Lulu, a black lab who, by all accounts, is a very good girl but is not interested in detecting explosives.  You can track Lulu’s journey into and eventually out of the CIA’s explosive detection training program through the #CIAK9 hashtag on Twitter, and can read the agency’s official press release on Lulu here.

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