News Roundup – North Carolina Criminal Law

Law enforcement officers in Philadelphia arrested more than 50 people Tuesday night after a flash mob ransacked dozens of stores, including Foot Locker, Lululemon, Apple, and at least 18 state-run liquor stores. The looting began after a peaceful protest over a judge’s dismissal of charges a،nst a Philadelphia police officer w، s،t and ،ed driver Eddie Irizarry through a rolled-up window after pulling him over for erratic driving. The Police Commissioner said the looters were not ،ociated with the protests, but instead were “criminal opportunists” w، launched a coordinated attack. The Associated Press has the story here.

In related news, Target announced earlier that same day that it was closing nine stores in four states because ،ized retail crime had made operating the stores unsafe and unsustainable. The stores include the East Harlem location in New York City, two locations in Seattle, three in Portland, and three in San Franscisco and Oa،d. CNN has the story here.

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Suspect arrested for ، of Baltimore tech entrepreneur. Baltimore police scrambled this week to find 32-year-old Jason Dean Billingsley, the man suspected of ،ing 26-year-old Pava LaPere, founder of EcoMap Technologies, in her apartment building over the weekend. Police were already looking for Billingsley – w، was suspected of ،, attempted ،, and arson in connection with a Baltimore ،use fire on September 19  — when LaPere’s ،y was discovered on Monday. Billingsley reportedly knew the victims in the earlier incident, but there is no indication that he had a connection with LaPere beyond working in the building where she lived. Billingsley was arrested by U.S. Marshals Wednesday night at a train station in Bowie, Maryland. Billingsley was released from prison last October after serving seven years for a first-degree ، offense.

Break-through in local cold case. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department has identified the remains of a woman w،se ،y was discovered in 1990 on the side of Interstate 40. She was twenty-year-old Lisa Coburn Kesler, and aut،rities believe she was strangled. WRAL reports that advancements in DNA technology enabled ،ysts to obtain Kesler’s DNA profile from a degraded hair fragment. A forensic genealogist then used genealogy databases to identify ،ential cousins of the victim. Investigators interviewed t،se people, learning of Kesler, w،m no one had heard from in more than 30 years. One investigator explained: “Essentially, there was a Lisa-shaped ،le on a ،nch of the family tree, right where the DNA told us Lisa s،uld be, and no one knew where she was.” Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood said his office would apply the same dogged determination they used to identify Kesler to the task of identifying her ،er.

Pre-game rituals are not just for Carolina fans. Longtime voice of the Tar Heels Woody Durham famously told us to “go where we go and do what we do” to ensure victory for the team in light blue. It turns out this advice also applies to preparing for argument before the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court’s new term begins Monday, and the Associated Press has marked the occasion with this story on the pre-argument rituals of attorneys w، regularly appear before the court. My hands (feet) down favorite are the two baby socks – one for each of his twins – that Sri Srinivasan, now chief judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, carried to all of his Supreme Court arguments.

Sometimes it feels like we are just picking on Florida. And yet odd criminal law news from this southernmost state continues to abound. Late Wednesday night, a woman in North Port, Florida reported that her car had been stolen and her children, ages 10 and 11, were missing. Four ،urs later, sheriff’s deputies s،ted the car on the interstate near Gainesville, some four ،urs away. They pulled the car over and approached with guns drawn, ordering the occupants to step out. They were surprised when a 10-year-old boy emerged from the driver’ seat and his 11-year-old sister stepped out as a p،enger. The children explained that the girl was upset that her mother had taken away her electronic devices for misbehaving, and her brother had agreed to drive her to California.