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States brief ~ NC appeals court rules promotional game not illegal lottery

[JURIST] Leading Tuesday's states brief, a North Carolina court of appeals has ruled [text] that promotional game pieces packaged with telephone long-distance cards are not part of an illegal lottery. State officials claimed that Treasured Arts, Inc.'s long-distance telephone cards were an illegal form of gambling because the cards offered scratch-off game pieces with prizes up to $50,000, but the court found "the price for and the value received from the prepaid phone cards is sufficiently commensurate to support the determination that the sale of the product is not a mere subterfuge to engage in an illegal lottery game scheme, whereby consideration is paid merely to engage in a game of chance." Since the case began, state lawmakers have approved a state lottery [JURIST report]. AP has more.

In other state legal news ...

  • The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court [official website] will hear arguments [case docket] Wednesday challenging the accuracy of fingerprint analysis and asking for a prohibition on fingerprint evidence in criminal trials until its reliability can be proven through scientific testing. Lawyers for Terry Patterson, who is facing his second trial in the killing of a Boston police officer, are arguing that the method used to produce a fingerprint match is unreliable. The prosecutor disagrees stating, "several reviewing courts have taken the opportunity to endorse fingerprint identification evidence as one of the most reliable and effective investigation tools in legal history." Fingerprint identification [Wikipedia bnckgrounder] evidence has been used in US courts since 1911. AP has more.

  • Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm [official website] has said she will sign legislation [text] which will allow prosecutors to introduce testimony that a defendant had committed another sex crime against a minor, including offenses for which the defendant was not charged or convicted, in cases where the defendant is accused of a sex crime against a youth under 18. Bill Sponsor Sen. Alan Cropsey said, "history is a big prediction of the future" when it comes to sex offenders, but F. Martin Tieber, past president of the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan [profession website], said the rule change would add "more people to our prison system who probably didn't commit the particular crime they've been charged with even though they may have done bad things in the past." California and the federal court system have similar rules. AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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