News Roundup

Published for NC Criminal Law on January 13, 2023.

The national news this week focused on the discovery of classified documents at President Biden’s home in Delaware and former private office in Washington. Yesterday, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a former federal prosecutor as Special Counsel to investigate the matter. The Associated Press explains here that “The position of Justice Department special counsel is a fairly new creation, enacted by Congress in 1999 following a bruising and politically divisive independent counsel investigation that resulted in [impeachment proceedings against President Clinton]. The purpose was to ensure ultimate Justice Department oversight of sensitive investigations rather than vest them with an independent prosecutor who could operate unchecked and without supervision. Though the attorney general retains ultimate authority over a special counsel’s decisions, special counsels do have the latitude to bring whatever cases they see fit. They are funded by the Justice Department, can bring on their own prosecutors, are entitled to office space and are often expensive.” Keep reading for more news.

Former Rocky Mount officer charged with selling 198 grams of cocaine. WRAL has this story about Linc Brooks, a former Rocky Mount officer who was arrested this week after a drug dog reportedly located 198 grams of cocaine in his truck during a traffic stop. Deputies then obtained a search warrant for Brooks’s house and apparently found guns, scales, and paraphernalia. Note that Brooks is alleged to have possessed just 2 grams less than the 200 gram threshold that separates Class G trafficking from Class F trafficking. A coincidence, or professional knowledge at work?

Controversy over law clerk with criminal record. In Michigan, two jurists who serve on the state supreme court have been embroiled in a brouhaha about a law clerk. Newly-elected Justice Kyra Harris Bolden, the first Black woman to serve on the court, hired a law clerk named Pete Martel. Martel is a 48-year-old man who, in his youth, committed an armed robbery of a store and shot at police. He served 14 years in prison, was released in 2008, and has since obtained a law degree. After Justice Bolden hired him, fellow Justice (and fellow Democrat) Richard Bernstein publicly announced that “there are certain jobs you should never be allowed to have after you shoot at a police officer, and one of them is clerking for the highest court in the state.” Bernstein pronounced himself “disgusted” and said he was no longer speaking to Justice Bolden as “[w]e don’t share the same values.” The Associated Press reports here that after Martel resigned to avoid being a distraction to Justice Bolden, Bernstein apologized to Martel and to Bolden for “overstepping.” He now says he looks forward to working with Bolden to advance their “many shared values, including immediately working to expand opportunities in the legal field for those who have repaid their debts to society.”

Waste two minutes of your life with a video about “overperforming” during field sobriety tests. The video is on CNN here. The main story is about a man who offers to do a backflip in addition to the standard walk-and-turn. It is impressive! But you have to watch all the way to the end when you get to see a man from Florida attempt a cartwheel during his DWI stop. Pro tip: don’t do that.

The post News Roundup appeared first on North Carolina Criminal Law.