If D.A. Jackie Lacey won’t charge the LAPD officer who shot Brendon Glenn, some ask: When would she prosecute?

LA TIMES, 18 MARCH 2018, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

Seth Stoughton, a professor at University of South Carolina School of Law and a former police officer, reviewed Lacey’s memo and said he believed the evidence was strong enough to bring to a jury.

“If the prosecutor is unwilling to even present the case to a jury because the officer has a facially plausible story, then all an officer has to do is say, ‘He was reaching for my gun,’ or, ‘I thought he was reaching for my gun,’ ” Stoughton said.

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Arizona emerged a self-driving hotbed before Uber’s deadly crash

THE STAR ONLINE, 21 MARCH 2018, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:
 
Just a few weeks before the deadly Uber accident, Arizona expanded its permissive stance toward autonomous vehicles. On March 1, the state issued an update to Governor Ducey 2015 executive order meant to reflect “advancements in technology and testing” of autonomous vehicles. In effect, the move permitted commercial robotaxi services, taking a step further than just allowing public-road testing, according to Bryant Walker Smith, an assistant professor of law at the University of South Carolina. 

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Cutting ‘Old Heads’ at IBM

PRO PUBLICA, 22 MARCH 2018, FEAT. PROF. JOE SEINER:

IBM’s latest actions aren’t anything like what most ex-employees with whom ProPublica talked expected from their years of service, or what today’s young workers think awaits them — or are prepared to deal with — later in their careers.

“In a fast-moving economy, employers are always going to be tempted to replace older workers with younger ones, more expensive workers with cheaper ones, those who’ve performed steadily with ones who seem to be up on the latest thing,” said Joseph Seiner, an employment law professor at the University of South Carolina and former appellate attorney for the EEOC.

“But it’s not good for society,” he added. “We have rules to try to maintain some fairness in our lives, our age-discrimination laws among them. You can’t just disregard them.”

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SFPD Chief Scott fires rookie officer who shot alleged carjacker in Bayview

MISSION LOCAL, 12 MARCH 2018, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott on Friday fired the rookie cop who, four days into his police career, shot dead an alleged carjacker. In return, the police union fired back a fusillade of its own, accusing Scott of cowardice and political expediency.

Other officers — who would not speak on the record for fear of retribution from the police union — told Mission Local they backed the chief. One emphasized that cops must be held accountable for failing to follow procedures, including warning someone before shooting, and firing through a closed window.

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Robot drivers may be safer than humans, but tech companies are way behind in proving it

LA TIMES, 21 MARCH 2018, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:

As long as robot cars roam public streets and highways, they will occasionally kill people. That’s an ugly truth that no one in the driverless vehicle industry can deny.

Will those robot cars kill people at significantly lower rates than drunk, stoned, tired or distracted human drivers do now? Automakers, technology companies, politicians and regulators are betting they will, as driverless vehicles are rolling out faster than almost anyone expected as recently as a year ago.

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A small gamble

SC LAWYERS WEEKLY, 15 MARCH 2018, FEAT. PROF. JOE SEINER:

March Madness is here. The time where college basketball fanatics, casual fans, and the wholly disinterested gather in office break rooms to drop off their tournament prognostications and a couple of dollars for the pot.

But before you fill out that bracket, ask yourself: Am I willing to go to jail for this? Am I really about that life?

Maybe it’s not quite that serious, but as Lawyers Weekly has been reminded, it’s still illegal gambling.

“It’s clear that these violate South Carolina law,” said University of South Carolina School of Law professor Joe Seiner. “Any type of office pool that you would benefit monetarily from [is illegal].”

The only state more restrictive in its gambling laws, according to Seiner, is Utah.

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Zero tolerance discipline policies won’t fix school shootings

THE CONVERSATION, 15 MARCH 2018, WRITTEN BY: PROF. DEREK BLACK:

As outrage over the Parkland school shooting persists, lawmakers are looking for actual policy solutions. Unfortunately, they sometimes misunderstand or misuse the facts that should drive policy.

The Trump administration and its supporters are latching onto school discipline reform as the solution. But by reform, they do not mean improving school climate, ensuring fairness or getting students the mental and social services they need. They mean doing away with the school discipline reform the Obama administration helped spur. They mean doubling down on zero tolerance. Last week, Florida’s Republican Sen. Marco Rubio went so far as to write that “federal guidance may have contributed to systemic failures to report Nikolas Cruz’s dangerous behaviors to local law enforcement.” Cruz is accused of carrying out the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

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California loosens rules for driverless cars, clearing the way for robot taxis

LA TIMES, 28 FEB. 2018, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:

Until now, driverless cars were allowed on California roads only with a human behind the wheel. The new rules — which were sought by automakers, Silicon Valley technology companies and many safety advocates — loosen restrictions on testing and, crucially, set standards to allow the sale or lease of robot cars and their operation by ride-hailing fleets.

“Those deployments will start small but grow fast,” said Bryant Walker Smith, a specialist in autonomous vehicle regulation at the University of South Carolina School of Law. Already, Waymo plans to deploy a robot-car ride-hailing service in the Phoenix area later this year.

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Right to Education, Sound of Trustworthiness, Better Conversation

BYU RADIO, 21 FEB. 2018, FEAT. PROF. DEREK BLACK:

Derek Black is a Professor of Law at the University of South Carolina School of Law. His areas of expertise include education law and policy, constitutional law, civil rights, evidence, and torts. The focus of his current scholarship is the intersection of constitutional law and public education, particularly as it pertains to educational equality and fairness for disadvantaged students. Although a public school education is something every student in America is entitled to, it is not a constitutional right. Would this make a difference in America’s educational standards?  Derek Black explains.

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Are robot cops the future of efficient, bias-free policing?

WASHINGTON EXAMINER, 6 FEB, 2018, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:

Ford, of course, may not be the only company interested in making a robotic cop car.

“I’m skeptical that this idea satisfies the patentability requirements of novelty and nonobviousness,” said Bryant Walker Smith, a professor of law and engineering at the University of South Carolina and an affiliate scholar at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School.

Regardless, Smith said, the idea’s likely to be one part of a larger shift.

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