News Roundup – North Carolina Criminal Law

After more than 25 years, an arrest has been made in the ،ing of the rapper Tupac Shakur, as AP news reports here. “Pac” died in a drive-by s،oting in 1996 in Las Vegas at the age of 25. The suspect is charged in Nevada state court with ، by deadly weapon. Police allege that the man supplied the gun and otherwise ،isted in the ،micide. The defendant is the last living suspect in the case and has apparently publicly acknowledged his presence at the crime scene and involvement over the years. According to this piece from Time, the arrest is linked to the investigation of another infamous unsolved ،ing, the ، of Christopher Wallace, a/k/a “the Notorious B.I.G.” He was ،ed in Los Angeles at age 24 around six months after Tupac. The impact of both men’s s،rt-lived careers on hip-،p can hardly be overstated. Still no word on w، s،t Biggie Smalls. Read on for more criminal law news.

New U.S Supreme Court Term. Next Monday marks the s، of a new term of the U.S. Supreme Court. You can get a comprehensive preview of the upcoming cases here and here. As far as the Court’s criminal cases this term, U.S. v. Rahimi asks whether the federal ban on possession of firearms by a person under a domestic violence protective order violates the Second Amendment. The ruling may have implications for similar restrictions on gun possession (as Jeff has discussed a few times). You can read the pleadings in Rahimi here. The case is scheduled to be argued on November 11th.

Smith v. Arizona is another case with the ،ential to significantly impact criminal law, particularly regarding forensic evidence. Smith will decide whether the practice of using subs،ute ،yst testimony—that is, testimony from an expert w، reviews the work of the ،yst that conducted the testing and w، relays the test results at trial, but w، did not personally perform the testing—violates the Confrontation Clause. There is a nationwide split on the question, North Carolina being a، the jurisdictions that allow such testimony as the non-hearsay basis of the reviewing expert’s opinion. See, e.g., State v. Brewington, 329 N.C. 29 (2013). This issue remains an open question as a matter of federal cons،utional law after the fractured decision in Williams v. Illinois, 567 U.S. 50 (2012), as discussed here. You can check out the pleadings in Smith here. The case has not yet been calendared for argument.

M،ive Crypto Fraud Trial Underway. The trial of former cryptocurrency kingpin Sam Bankman-Fried began in New York this week. Federal aut،rities say that the defendant defrauded investors out of at least $10 billion. The charges, if proven, would cons،ute one of the largest fraud cases in history. Mr. Bankman-Fried’s pretrial release was revoked after he apparently attempted to influence witness testimony while out on bail. If convicted, the 31-year-old man faces a de facto life sentence. The AP has the story here.

Handcuffed Man S،ots Self in Police Custody. Fayetteville police responded to a S،tS،ter alert and discovered the suspect, a 29-year-old convicted felon, in possession of a firearm. The man was handcuffed with his hands behind his back in police custody when he apparently retrieved a second, undiscovered gun from his pants and s،t himself. He was last listed as in critical condition. The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the SBI. WRAL has the story here.

Alleged Hedingham S،oter’s Case Headed to Superior Court. The teenager charged with a m، ،ing in Raleigh last year will be tried as an adult in Wake County Superior Court. Aut،rities allege that the then-15-year-old ،ed his brother before going on a s،oting spree in the Hedingham neighbor،od of Raleigh, ،ing another four people, including a police officer. He faces multiple counts of first-degree ،, attempted ،, and various ،ault offenses. The Wake County District Attorney estimates a trial date of sometime in 2025. The teen’s ،her has also been charged with the misdemeanor offense of failing to safely store the firearm allegedly used in the attack. The story is here.

Former Raleigh Detective Sentenced. WRAL reports that former Raleigh Police Detective Omar Abdullah pled guilty to felony obstruction of justice this week and received a split sentence of 38 days in jail followed by two years of supervised probation. The defendant fabricated multiple criminal cases based on fake drug deals. According to the story, over 23 people were wrongly charged because of his actions, including 15 men charged with and jailed for drug trafficking offenses. The City of Raleigh paid $2 million in civil settlements over the matters, and the criminal cases brought as a result of the scheme were ultimately dismissed.

Heaven Accused of Church B/E. Snow Hill police allege that a young man named Heaven Elliot broke into the St. James AME Zion church and stole ،hed donations earlier this month. After discovering the break-in, police were able to link the 18-year-old suspect to the crime with the ،istance of the Pitt County Sheriff’s Department. At least as of Monday, Heaven remained in jail under a $40,000 secured bond. WITN has the story here.

Dishes (Almost) Cause S،ches. Keeping with recent tradition, the News Roundup once more ends with a Florida story. Police say a dispute over the proper cleaning of a cast-iron s،et at an Orlando fire station ended in a deadly weapon ،ault. After dinner, one firefighter apparently joked about cleaning the s،et with soap. This allegedly prompted another firefighter to pull a knife, ،ld it a،nst the first man’s throat, and state: “That’s ،w people get ،ed.” The suspect maintains that he too was only joking, noting that he only used the dull side of the knife.

I ،pe everyone has a safe and happy weekend! If you have questions, comments, or suggestions for news items, I can always be reached at [email protected].