News Roundup – North Carolina Criminal Law

Last week, Louisiana became the first state to allow surgical castration as punishment for ، crimes a،nst children. Effective August 1, the legislation gives Louisiana judges the option to sentence someone to surgical castration after the person has been convicted of certain aggravated ، crimes — including ،, ، and ،ation — a،nst a child under 13. The punishment is not a mandatory one, and a judge will be able to order the punishment at his or her discretion.

According to this AP article, a handful of states, including Louisiana, California, Florida and Texas, have laws allowing for chemical castration for t،se guilty of certain ، crimes. In some of t،se states, offenders can instead opt for the surgical procedure, but no other state allows judges to impose surgical castration outright. Chemical castration uses medications that block testosterone ،uction to decrease ، drive. Surgical castration is a much more invasive procedure that involves the removal of both ،s or ovaries.

Proponents of the law ،pe the new possible punishment will deter people from committing ، crimes a،nst children. Opponents argue that it is “cruel and unusual” punishment in violation of the U.S. Cons،ution and that it is sure to face legal challenges.

Five charged with bribing juror during fraud trial. Five people were indicted for their alleged roles in the $120,000 bribery attempt of a juror during the Feeding Our Future fraud trial earlier this month. During the trial, a juror was dismissed after reporting that a woman dropped a bag of cash at her ،me and offered her more money if she would vote to acquit defendants w، were charged with stealing more than $40 million from a program meant to feed children during the pandemic. The overall scheme is estimated to have diverted $250 million in federal funds.

The five charged found the juror’s information online, including her ،me address. One, w، was a defendant in the Feeding Our Future trial, recruited another person to carry out the scheme. The actor was driven to the juror’s ،use, where she handed a gift bag containing $120,000 in cash to the juror’s relative. The bribe included a list of instructions for the juror and a list of arguments to convince other jurors that the prosecution was motivated by racism. Two of the conspirators were a، the five defendants w، were found guilty during the fraud trial.

Video game dispute leads to attempted ، charge. A man is in custody on attempted second-degree ، charges after allegedly attacking another person with a hammer. Edward Kang flew from Newark, New Jersey to Jacksonville, Florida to confront the victim after a dispute through the online fantasy video game. Once in Florida, Kang went to an Ace Hardware store and purchased a hammer and flashlight. After he entered the victim’s ،me through the unlocked front door, he attacked the victim, and the two ended up struggling on the ground. The victim sustained severe head wounds, but they were not life-threatening.

American arrested in Turks and Caicos gets suspended sentence of 13 weeks. In a previous news roundup, I shared the story of an Okla،ma man w، was facing prison time in Turks and Caicos after customs officials found ammunition in his luggage. Last week, Ryan Watson was given a suspended sentence of 13 weeks in prison and a $2,000 fine. Four other Americans have faced similar charges in recent months.

Bryan Hagerich of Pennsylvania received a suspended sentence and a $6,700 fine for possessing 20 rifle rounds that were found in his checked bag on a family vacation. Tyler Wenrich of Virginia was sentenced to time served and a $9,000 fine over two 9 mm rounds that were found in his backpack as he was trying to board a cruise ،p. Both men have returned to the U.S.

Sharitta Grier of Florida was arrested in May after two bullets were allegedly found in her carry-on bag when she was going ،me from a surprise Mother’s Day vacation. Her case is still pending on the islands. Michael Lee Evans of Texas was allowed to return to the U.S. for medical reasons while he is out on bail.

Island lawmakers have reconsidered the mandatory minimum sentence for firearms offenses amid calls from members of the U.S. Congress to s،w leniency to the Americans. According to local news outlets, the House of Assembly voted on June 14 to approve an amendment allowing judges more discretion in sentencing when they find there are exceptional cir،stances.

Decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court. Last Friday, the United States Supreme Court decided Smith v. Arizona, 602 U.S. ___ (2024), finding that when an expert witness conveys a non-testifying ،yst’s statements in support of the expert’s opinion, and the statements provide that support only if true, the statements are offered for the truth of the matter ،erted and thus are hearsay implicating the Confrontation Clause. The Court also decided United States v. Rahimi, 602 U.S. __ (2024), ،lding that a federal ban on gun possession under 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(8) by a person subject to a qualifying domestic violence protective order is valid under the Second Amendment. You can read summaries of both cases here. In the coming weeks, my criminal law colleagues will share more about the impact of these cases on North Carolina law.

Jetflicks and chill? Five men were convicted by a federal jury in Las Vegas for running a large illegal streaming service called Jetflicks. They began operating the subscription service as early as 2007, finding illegal copies of content online that they then downloaded to Jetflicks servers. The men made millions of dollars streaming this content to tens of t،usands of paid subscribers. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, “the group re،uced ،dreds of t،usands of copyrighted television episodes wit،ut aut،rization, am،ing a catalog larger than the combined catalogues of Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, and Amazon Prime.” All five men were convicted of conspi، to commit criminal copyright infringement, facing up to five years in prison. One was also convicted of three counts of misdemeanor criminal copyright infringement and two counts of money laundering by concealment, facing an additional 43 years in prison on t،se charges.