Law digest – 3/6/14


Criminal Procedure, Voir dire: Trial court need not ask during voir dire whether any prospective juror has been a crime victim, but on request, must ask whether any juror has “strong feelings about” the crime charged; and, where all the prosecution’s witnesses are in law enforcement, or the basis for conviction is reasonably likely to be testimony of members of law enforcement agencies, on request, trial court must ask whether any prospective juror has ever been a member of a law enforcement agency. Pearson v. State, No. 49, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0221-23, 26 pages.


Constitutional Law, Freedom of speech: North Carolina statute inviting citizens to “make a statement” and “promote themselves and/or their causes” with specialty license plates but limited invitation to only those citizens who agreed with North Carolina’s “Choose Life” stance violated First Amendment prohibition against any law abridging freedom of speech because statute restricted speech based on content of speech, allowing speech by some but not others. American Civil Liberties Union v. Tata, No. 13-1030. RecordFax No. 14-0211-60, 28 pages.

Criminal Procedure, Speedy trial: In defendant’s trial for charges related to credit and debit card fraud, district court did not err in denying defendant’s request to dismiss Government’s case against him pursuant to Speedy Trial Act because some of the time was excluded by ends of justice continuances, such that the case was brought within the 30-day speedy trial limit. United States v. Keita, No. 12-4957. RecordFax No. 14-0206-60, 16 pages.

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