The Bulletin

Solitary confinement challenged; A ‘desperate smear’ in Spanberger-Brat race; Va. AG takes on opioid pill pushers

By: - September 5, 2018 8:01 am

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

Mentally ill man held in solitary for 12 years

The ACLU of Virginia and the Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center are suing the Virginia Department of Corrections, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

The suit says convicted murderer Nicolas Reyes’ “mental health has deteriorated greatly over the course of his solitary confinement” at Red Onion State Prison in Wise County

“He now suffers from depression and disordered thinking. At times he has been unable even to identify the prison where he is held. He experiences routine, vivid hallucinations, in which he communicates with his dead parents,” the suit alleges.

The ACLU and other groups have been pushing to end the practice of solitary confinement in Virginia. State officials meanwhile insist they don’t use it.

Signs attacking Spanberger a ‘desperate smear tactic’ 

Fake political signs started popping up around Richmond suggesting Democrat Abigail Spanberger is running to impeach Trump, abolish ICE and open the country’s borders, the Washington Post reports.

Spanberger, running against U.S. Rep Dave Brat, a Republican, has taken a much more centrist tone in her campaign so far and her staff immediately set about tearing down the signs. A spokesman told the Post they were a “desperate smear tactic.”

Brat’s campaign said it had nothing to do with the signs.

Meanwhile, the state GOP drew pushback from its own ranks for its attacks on Spanberger’s brief stint as a substitute teacher at an Islamic school.

The Post reports that former state Del. David I. Ramadan, born in Lebanon to a Muslim family, tweeted: “there is no limit to @Va_GOP stupidity and anti-Muslim sentiments.”

More news:

  • U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor may be forced to testify in a court hearing today on the signature scandal that has enveloped his reelection campaign. – The Virginian-Pilot
  • An unsealed lawsuit filed by Attorney General Mark Herring against the maker of OxyContin claims the company sold 150 million of the pills in the state and employed 86 sales reps to push the drugs. – The Roanoke Times
  • A man charged with punching Jason Kessler, the organizer of the Aug. 12 protests in Charlottesville, was found guilty on appeal and ordered to pay a $1 fine. – The Daily Progress
  • Republicans in the House of Delegates formally appealed a lower court’s redistricting ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. – Associated Press
  • Leaders in Bristol say they welcome a local mall’s longshot attempt to get state permission to operate a casino and resort. – Bristol Herald Courier
  • The state board deciding who will get Virginia’s first medical marijuana licenses began reviewing the 51 applications yesterday in a process that will be kept secret. – Richmond Times-Dispatch
  • Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax took a job at the law firm Morrison & Foerster, “continuing Virginia’s long tradition of moonlighting lieutenant governors.” – The Washington Post
  • The Roanoke City Council is planning to once again ask the General Assembly for permission to ban guns from its council meetings. – The Roanoke Times
  • The city of Richmond hired a “customer service czar.” – Richmond Times-Dispatch
  • Liberty University was dismissed from a long-running lawsuit that alleged it helped plan the kidnapping of a child whose parents were once in a same-sex union. – The News & Advance
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Ned Oliver
Ned Oliver

Ned, a Lexington native, has been a fulltime journalist since 2008, beginning at The News-Gazette in Lexington, and including stints at the Berkshire Eagle, in Berkshire County, Mass., and the Times-Dispatch and Style Weekly in Richmond. He is a graduate of Bard College at Simon’s Rock, in Great Barrington, Mass. He was named Virginia's outstanding journalist for 2020 by the Virginia Press Association.