Josh Gupta-Kagan publishes new report

Josh Gupta-Kagan, Assistant Professor of Law, published a new report “Effective Solutions to South Carolina’s Juvenile Justice Crisis: Safety, Rehabilitation, and Fiscal Responsibility,” alongside P&A senior attorney Nancy McCormick and attorneys Robert Meriwether and Jase Glenn of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP. The report addresses how to build a better juvenile justice system that would reduce criminal activity through rehabilitating child offenders in smaller facilities, keeping children and juvenile justice staff safe, and more efficiently spending tax dollars.

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Sheriff’s Department misconduct-claim payouts have soared, topping $50 million last year

THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, 9 APRIL 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

In one case, Los Angeles County paid more than $6 million to a woman who had been raped by a sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop.

In another, it took more than $7 million to resolve multiple lawsuits after deputies in West Hollywood mistakenly shot two hostages, killing one and seriously wounding the other.

Those payouts from 2016 helped drive a dramatic increase in the cost of resolving legal claims against the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department during the last five years, according to records reviewed by The Times.

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If no one is behind the wheel in an autonomous car crash, who pays?

THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, 6 APRIL 2017, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:

In the race to develop autonomous cars, tech companies and car manufacturers might face another hurdle – car insurance.

While many believe driverless cars could reduce the number of accidents on the road, crashes involving self-driving cars still happen, raising questions about liability. Yet, the old convention of auto insurance companies charging the driver at fault to pay for damages will soon no longer work, and car manufacturers are likely to become the culpable party. The shift of burden, experts say, could disincentivize advances of the technology and delay the arrival of an automated future. 

“Everyone wants to have fewer accidents,” James Lynch, chief actuary at the nonprofit organization Insurance Information Institute in New York, tells The Christian Science Monitor. “Public policy would say we want people to buy autonomous vehicles, but simple economics would point to the other direction.”

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Mick Mulvaney’s evolution from ‘Shutdown Caucus’ to Trump’s budget salesman

THE WASHINGTON POST, 1 APRIL 2017, FEAT. PROF. LIBBA PATTERSON:

When the government last shut down, in 2013, Mick Mulvaney considered himself part of “the Shutdown Caucus” — a group of conservative House Republicans who held such a hard line that they were willing to let the lights go out.

Now, four years later, Mulvaney is on a collision course with his former comrades, responsible for convincing intransigent House Republicans to make a different kind of choice and pass a new spending bill by April 28 to avert another shutdown.

The former South Carolina congressman — who was elected in the tea party wave of 2010 and took pride in rejecting his own party’s budget proposals, one after another — now serves as President Trump’s budget director, making him the administration’s chief salesman over the next month on spending matters.

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Police Videos Aren’t Going Away. How Can We Learn From Them?

NPR, 25 MARCH 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

For three days last summer, many of us watched as TV and computer screens showed violence between police and civilians. Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were shot and killed by police. Then a gunman killed five police officers in Dallas.

That week made clear just how much these videos of police violence have become part of our lives.

The videos are not new, of course — the Rodney King beating by Los Angeles police was filmed in 1991. But from dashcams to body cameras to bystanders’ cellphones, more and more interactions between civilians and police are being captured on camera.

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Self-Driving Cars Raise Questions About Who Carries Insurance

NPR, 3 APRIL 2017, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:

An accident last month in Tempe, Ariz., involving a self-driving Uber car highlighted some novel new issues regarding fault and liability that experts say will come up more often as autonomous vehicles hit the road.

And that will have an increasing impact on an insurance industry that so far has no road map for how to deal with the new technologies.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, whose company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns the insurance giant Geico, told CNBC in a February interview: “If the day comes when a significant portion of the cars on the road are autonomous, it will hurt Geico’s business very significantly.”

That would seem to make sense. If humans aren’t driving the cars, who needs a car insurance policy?

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President’s proposed budget cuts to education could impact SC schools adversely

SOUTH CAROLINA RADIO NETWORK, 21 MARCH 2017, FEAT. PROF. DEREK BLACK:

President Donald Trump’s budget plan would be felt deeply via program cuts and eliminations proposed for education in South Carolina.

University of South Carolina education law professor Derek Black told South Carolina Radio Network that the President’s budget does cut money for some education-related programs that would benefit students in poorer districts. “21st Century Learning Center Programs support after-school, before-school and summer school programs and would see funding cuts,” Black said. “ Well, we have a lot of low income students here. These programs are crucial to giving those kids a safe place to go before and after school.”

Black said the cuts to general education funding would adversely impact South Carolina because the state is still funding public education below pre-recession levels. “So we’re still in the whole when it comes to school funding and this new budget just makes matters worse.”

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Hiring off-duty police officers a common practice

THE ROANOKE TIMES, 19 MARCH 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

One security service that many police departments offer, but that often goes unnoticed, is off-duty work.

Officers direct traffic near construction sites. They greet people coming in and out of bars. They walk the Berglund Center’s concourse during concerts.

They offer additional security at stores, serving as a deterrent to would-be thieves. Last month, when someone photographed a uniformed Roanoke officer outside Wal-Mart on Dale Avenue Southeast apparently sleeping in his patrol car and posted it on Facebook, people chimed in with a range of responses. Some expressed sympathy that officers work long hours, others questioned whether he was on duty — and, if not, what were the policies on uniforms and vehicles?

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Same-sex legal groundbreaker: Judge says Rock Hill couple married in S.C. for decades

THE HERALD, 19 MARCH 2017, FEAT. PROF. MARCIA ZUG:

Debra Parks wanted to be treated the same as anybody else by the courts. At 62, she’s disabled, and split from her partner of almost four decades. She filed a lawsuit because she wanted her relationship, which ended last year, to be considered a common law marriage under South Carolina law.

Parks is gay. But until 2015, same-sex marriage was illegal.

“I was in a same-sex relationship for all those years,” Parks said. “We owned a house together. We were a family, even when society didn’t accept it.”