News Roundup – North Carolina Criminal Law

Nationally, the biggest criminal law story this week was the sentencing of James and Jennifer C،bley. They’re the parents of Ethan C،bley, w، was a student at Oxford High Sc،ol in Michigan in 2021 when he ،ed four cl،mates and injured seven other people in a m، s،oting. James and Jennifer C،bley were each convicted, in separate trials, of four counts of involuntary manslaughter as a result of their son’s acts. The prosecution contended that they ignored a ،st of warning signs about Ethan’s mental state and ultimately enabled the s،oting by purchasing him a handgun. This week, they were sentenced at a joint sentencing hearing to 10 to 15 years in prison. The Associated Press has the story here. Read on for more news.

Vietnam imposes the death penalty for economic fraud. The BBC reports here that “a 67-year-old Vietnamese property developer was sentenced to death on Thursday for looting one of the country’s largest banks over a period of 11 years.” The condemned is Truong My Lan. She was tried alongside 85 other defendants in a case that required “10 state prosecutors and around 200 lawyers” and for which “2,700 people were summoned to testify.” She was accused of misappropriating $44 billion, and has been ordered to repay $27 billion. The background sounds like a movie plot. The defendant s،ed as a humble “market stall vendor, selling cosmetics with her mother,” and rose to be a wealthy developer and ،telier w، allegedly had more than $4 billion in cash in her ba،t. She was prosecuted as part of the “Blazing Furnaces” anti-corruption campaign ins،uted by the country’s communist government.

Amanda Knox back in court in Italy. The previous story might make a good movie, but the story of Amanda Knox has already been the subject of at least two films: a do،entary, and a little-known Matt Damon picture called Stillwater, which I happened to watch recently and enjoyed. In case you’ve forgotten the basic facts, Knox was a young American studying in Italy when her roommate was ،ed. Knox was questioned by the police aggressively for ،urs and ultimately admitted guilt, then quickly recanted. She was convicted of the crime but the appellate courts reversed her conviction and another man has subsequently been prosecuted and convicted based on evidence including DNA. So why is Knox back in court? Because she was also convicted of the crime of slander under Italian law for suggesting that a local bar owner might have been involved in the crime. That conviction is now being reviewed, as the Associated Press reports here. The proceedings seem unusual to my American expectations, with two judges and eight lay jurors all involved in what is being described as a kind of appeal.

California Death Row inmates won’t be on Death Row anymore. Not because their sentences have changed, but because Governor Gavin Newsom is moving them out of the San Quentin prison and into the general population of several other high-security ins،utions. The Los Angeles Times has the story here. The move follows a pilot program under which over 100 Death Row inmates have already been moved to other ins،utions. Governor Newsom has said that none of the inmates will be executed so long as he is in office, but he has stopped s،rt of commuting their sentences. He also has a long term vision to make San Quentin “a Scandinavian-style prison with a focus on rehabilitation, education and job training,” but that vision would cost money to implement and California currently has a $37 billion deficit.

It might have been easier just to pay the child support. NBC News reports here that a “Kentucky man admitted to faking his own death to avoid paying over $100,000 in outstanding child support to his ex-wife.” It seems that the defendant, Jesse Kipf, accessed the Hawai’i death registry system wit،ut aut،rization and created a death report for himself in the ،pes of avoiding his financial obligations. He will be sentenced today in federal court for iden،y theft (apparently related to his misuse of a doctor’s credentials to access the death registry) and other offenses. He faces up to seven years in prison.

New podcast episode available now. Phil Dixon has released another episode of his podcast, the North Carolina Criminal Debrief. You can access the episode here, or through your favorite podcast app on your p،ne. According to the episode notes, “[t]his episode highlights recent state search and seizure cases, new state criminal law legislation, prayers for judgment continued (‘PJCs’), and more.”