CRIMINAL JUSTICE + POLICING

COMMENTARY

Three factors that created perfect conditions for a 2020 homicide spike

BY: - September 28, 2021

By Justin Nix, University of Nebraska Omaha Homicides in the U.S. spiked by almost 30 percent in 2020. That was the main takeaway from figures released on Sept. 27, by the FBI that showed almost uniform increases across America in the murder rate. The fact that big cities, small cities, suburbs and rural areas – in both […]

COMMENTARY

In Virginia, who judges the judges?

BY: - September 27, 2021

She was jittery when she took the witness stand, by all accounts. Katie Orndorff, 33, was testifying in her boyfriend’s felony domestic violence trial in a Leesburg courtroom. Then, through a fast, strange and terrifying turn of events, the witness/victim became the accused and, before she knew it, was being dragged off to jail after […]

Protesters call for investigation into judge who jailed witness in domestic violence case

BY: - September 23, 2021

Protesters outside the Loudoun County courthouse Thursday denounced a local judge who sent the alleged victim in a domestic violence case to jail on a contempt charge. “This judge shouldn’t be on the bench,” said Lisa Sales, a women’s rights activist and domestic violence survivor who organized the gathering of about 30 people. Sales called […]

Virginia judge jails alleged domestic violence victim for smoking pot on day of court testimony

BY: - September 17, 2021

A judge in Loudoun County interrupted the testimony of the alleged victim in a felony domestic violence trial last week to question her drug use, sentencing her to 10 days in jail for contempt of court after she said she had smoked marijuana earlier in the day. She was then “physically removed from the witness […]

In court, drug middlemen fight to limit access to pharmacies for insured patients

BY: - September 8, 2021

In the first test of a 2020 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, drug middlemen last week argued that federal law gives them a crucial right to limit what pharmacies patients with health insurance can use — or at least make it more expensive if patients get their medicine at a shop that isn’t preferred by the […]

COMMENTARY

A Virginia the Martinsville Seven could not have imagined

BY: - September 7, 2021

It took Virginia 70 years to clear the names of seven young Black men who were put to death for a Jim Crow-era rape conviction in which their skin color put a fair trial and a measured sentence out of their reach. It was done by a governor born eight years after Francis DeSales Grayson, […]

Feds expand Pell Grant program for prisoners working on college degrees

BY: - August 30, 2021

WASHINGTON—Prison inmates around the U.S. are getting the chance to do something that was almost unheard of a generation ago: pursue a college degree while behind bars and with financial support from the federal government. Inmates in 42 states, including Virginia, and Washington, D.C., can now get federal grants to work with colleges and universities […]

Virginia Department of Corrections chief paints dire picture of prison staffing

BY: - August 25, 2021

The head of Virginia’s prison system, Harold Clarke, told lawmakers Wednesday his department is short 1,500 correctional officers, leaving essential posts unmanned and forcing remaining workers to work double shifts and come in on days off. “We’re doing our best to manage a dire situation,” Clarke said. His comments came during the inaugural meeting of […]

Federal legislation would require states to fund addiction recovery programs

BY: - August 11, 2021

As drug overdose deaths surge in Virginia and across the country,  U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Henrico, has introduced a bipartisan bill that would create permanent federal funding for addiction recovery programs.  The legislation would require states to spend at least 10 percent of the money they receive from the federal Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment […]

Virginia Democrats reshape Court of Appeals with eight new appointments

BY: - August 10, 2021

Virginia Democrats quadrupled the number of Black judges and doubled the number of women on the state’s Court of Appeals with the election of eight new judges Tuesday. Members of the party said the selections would make the court the most diverse in the state’s history. “I think it’s important that when individuals look at […]

‘It’s not enough:’ Anti-gun violence money in Va. relief package falls far short of requests

BY: - August 9, 2021

The pandemic relief spending plan crafted by Democratic leaders includes $5 million for community-based gun violence prevention initiatives, an amount that falls far short of the $37 million advocacy groups had suggested. The original proposal was only $2.5 million. Legislators decided to double that in budget negotiations late last week, an apparent nod to the […]

Virginia Democrats meet in private to choose finalists for eight Court of Appeals appointments

BY: - August 4, 2021

Democrats in the Virginia House and Senate met privately Wednesday to choose finalists for eight open positions on the Virginia Court of Appeals, prompting GOP lawmakers to accuse the party of breaking tradition by holding secret group interviews. “I can’t think of a single instance in which we’ve had a judicial candidate come and appear […]