Kids will suffer because court refused to do its duty

THE STATE, 26 NOVEMBER 2017, FEAT. PROF. DEREK BLACK:

In 1999, the S.C. Supreme Court issued a monumental decision in Abbeville v. South Carolina. It held that “the South Carolina Constitution’s education clause requires the General Assembly to provide the opportunity for each child to receive a minimally adequate education.” The trial that followed made national headlines. After reviewing the trial record in 2014, the Supreme Court found that the state had “failed in (its) constitutional duty to ensure that students … receive the requisite educational opportunity” and ordered it to remedy its failures.

By a vote of 3-2 this month, the court terminated this landmark case without even bothering to offer a reasoned explanation.

The majority’s driving motivation appears to be the belief that the court should never have been involved in the first place because it lacks authority to require the state to improve our public schools. This very same argument was rejected by the court in 2014. The only difference now: The justices on the court have changed. The majority also pointed to numerous “good faith efforts” by the state to comply with the 2014 order.

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‘Can’t undo death’: Rock Hill man, convicted of killing parents in 1997, still appeals

THE HERALD, 24 NOVEMBER 2017, FEAT. PROF. KENNETH GAINES AND PROF. COLIN MILLER:

Twenty years ago, Terry and Earl Robertson were beaten and stabbed to death in their Rock Hill home. Their son, James Robertson was charged and convicted of the killings.

Robertson, known as “Jimmy,” has been on South Carolina’s death row for 18 years, since his 1999 conviction for double murder, armed robbery and credit card fraud.

Saturday, Nov. 25 is the 20th anniversary of the murders and subsequent arrest. The deaths, and the ensuing trial, captured the nation’s attention and continues to do so. This weekend, there will be a TV special focusing on the Rock Hill case.

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Videos Reveal A Close, Gory View Of Police Dog Bites

NPR, 20 NOVEMBER 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

Donald W. Cook is a Los Angeles attorney with decades of experience bringing lawsuits over police dog bites — and mostly losing. He blames what he calls “The Rin Tin Tin Effect” — juries think of police dogs as noble, and have trouble visualizing how violent they can be during an arrest.

“[Police] use terms like ‘apprehend’ and ‘restrain,’ to try to portray it as a very antiseptic event,” Cook says. “But you look at the video and the dog is chewing away on his leg and mutilating him.”

Cook says the proliferation of smart phones and body cameras is capturing a reality that used to be lost on juries. “If it’s a good video,” he says, “it makes a case much easier to prevail on.”

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How to Make Cars Cooperate

THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE, 9 NOVEMBER 2017, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:

IN HIS 31-YEAR career delivering frozen patties, ketchup packets, ice cream and such to McDonald’s, Baskin-Robbins and other restaurants across the country, Dave Mercer logged more than three million miles, many of them in rigs he termed “bad news”: boxy, twin-stick-shift trucks that belched smoke and had no heating, air conditioning or radio. But they were sleek compared with the 18-wheelers his father drove before he was born. His father used to say that going uphill he could walk faster than his load; sometimes he would stand out on the running board to cool off and steer one-handed through his open door. “You’re not going to stop technology,” Mercer told me, when I asked him why he had decided to finish his professional life by test-driving trucks full time for a four-year-old Silicon Valley start-up. We were standing on the side of I-280 in Mountain View, Calif.; Mercer, wearing a Hawaiian shirt and dark glasses, had just finished demonstrating a system that a company called Peloton Technology plans to introduce in commercial fleets next year. “I wanted to come over and be a part of this before I retired,” he said. “I can tell some of the younger drivers. … ” In lieu of finishing his thought, he punched his co-pilot, a quiet computer engineer, in the shoulder. Hundreds of hours riding shotgun with Mercer — panoramic views of the horizon, cars flowing streamlike down below — had inspired him and several of the company’s other engineers to get a commercial driver’s license. “I want to be part of that, too,” Mercer said.

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This SC man won a Supreme Court case. He wants to know why he can’t talk about it

THE STATE, 2 NOVEMBER 2017, FEAT. PROF. JOSH EAGLE:

The University of South Carolina law school is holding a three-day event to mark the 25th anniversary of a S.C. man’s legal victory in the U.S. Supreme Court. But the victor in that case, Davis Lucas, isn’t invited, and he’s upset.

The symposium, continuing through Saturday, focuses on the 25th anniversary of the Lucas v. S.C. Coastal Council case, a dispute over a beachfront housing lot. The Supreme Court’s decision in the case limited the government’s ability to regulate use of privately owned land. A quarter of a century later, attorneys, law professors and state regulators will be discussing the ruling’s impact on coastal development.

Lucas, who sued for the right to build on two lots on the Isle of Palms, is upset neither he nor his attorneys were invited to participate. He said he only found out the forum was being held because a friend’s son attends USC’s law school.

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Apple Co-Founder Blasts Elon Musk For Overhyping Tesla’s Self-Driving Feature

THE DAILY CALLER, 25 OCTOBER 2017, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak believes there is “way too much hype” surrounding Tesla’s ability to deliver mass-produced self-driving electric vehicles.

Tesla’s self-driving capabilities are overblown and lead people to put too much trust in the car’s “autopilot” feature, Wozniak told reporters earlier this month. Many people inside Silicon Valley believe Wozniak was the brains behind Steve Jobs’ Apple computer.

“Tesla has in people’s mind that they have cars that will just drive themselves totally, and it is so far from the truth, so they have deceived us,” he said. Other analysts and academics have made similar complaints about Tesla’s auto feature.

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KCSD bullying case might impact SRO discussion

CHRONICLE-INDEPENDENT (CAMDEN, SC), 31 OCTOBER 2017, FEAT. PROF. JOSH GUPTA-KAGAN:

A civil complaint filed against the Kershaw County School District (KCSD) by the parent of an allegedly bullied student might have an impact on the Kershaw County Board of School Trustees’ discussions about school resource officers (SROs) with Kershaw County Council. The parties in the case are required to enter an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process by March 16, 2018. Meanwhile, other aspects of the case can move forward.

(In order to protect the identity of the student involved in the case, the C-I is not naming the student, his parent or the school where the alleged bullying took place.)

In the complaint, filed Aug. 18, the parent states that their child attended a particular school during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years, during which they became the target of bullying and harassment from fellow students. The bullying allegedly took place in person and over social media. As a result, the parent claims their child “ended friendships, quit” a sports team, and “generally retreated from normal school-age activities.”

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Rock Hill man will argue self-defense, represent himself in murder trial

THE HEARLD, 28 OCT. 2017, FEAT. PROF. KENNETH GAINES:

stakes couldn’t be much higher for Keenan Miller.

The 22-year-old Rock Hill native is charged with murder, attempted murder and weapons charges in a March 2016 shootout between rival groups. It all happened in the middle of Rock Hill’s Keels Avenue. Court documents show the trial is set for Monday.

Miller will have no lawyer, court documents show. He fired his two previous lawyers, court records show, and told the court in filings and in an August hearing he plans to go to trial without an attorney and argue self-defense.

New Minneapolis police data dashboard confirms that yes, black people get stopped more

MINNPOST (Minneapolis, MN), 13 OCTOBER 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

Do Minneapolis police unfairly target people of color, or don’t they?

Your answer to that question these days may say something about your politics, but getting to the actual truth behind it is complicated.

But thanks to newly available data on stops, citations and other actions taken by Minneapolis police, broken down by race, it’s possible to at least put some numbers behind the public debate about race and policing. And those numbers are not available thanks to a data request by a media organization or a lawsuit — they’re part of a new dashboard that is being published by the Minneapolis Police Department itself, in an effort to improve transparency and accountability to the public.

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California Wants to Make Your Robocar Dreams Come True

WIRED, 11 OCTOBER 2017, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:

Congress may finally be hacking away at national legislation that would firmly delineate who is responsible for regulating what about autonomous cars, but California has a big role to play here. “California is special,” says Bryant Walker Smith, a legal scholar with the University of South Carolina School of Law who studies self-driving vehicles. “It’s really big, it’s where a lot of this action is happening, it has the track record to be thinking through these issues, and it’s pretty committed to them.” The state has been regulating self-driving tech since 2012, and to date, has barred anyone from running a human-free car on public roads.

This updated proposal, open for public comment until October 25 and set to be finalized before the end of the year, seems to confirm a change: This driverless vehicle thing is really happening. “It’s yet another step,” Smith says. “And these days, there are so many steps, so fast, that I’d say we’re running.”

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