CRIMINAL JUSTICE + POLICING

Fight erupts over plan to stop outsourcing prison health care in Virginia

BY: - November 18, 2021

When the head of Virginia’s prison system announced to staff members this summer that he planned to end the practice of outsourcing medical care to a private contractor, his memo to employees suggested the decision was final. Armor Health, the Florida-based company that suddenly faced the prospect of losing its $90-million contract to staff prisons […]

COMMENTARY

When gun violence and domestic violence intertwine: Overhaul a culture of disdain and disrespect

BY: - November 17, 2021

Weep for Nicole Lovewine, 45; her longtime partner, Detra Brown, 42; and Sara Costine, 44. All three were gunned down, and two other women wounded, in a spasm of rage that Norfolk law-enforcement authorities say was linked to domestic violence. I could’ve said “three women” to start this column. But that trite anonymity tends to […]

COMMENTARY

The Virginia Supreme Court won’t let us down

BY: - November 15, 2021

By Thomas Wolf, Esq. This is for my fellow Democrats who fear having Virginia’s redistricting map determined by the Virginia Supreme Court, all of whose members were elected by a Republican-controlled house of the General Assembly. Don’t worry. Having practiced before that court, interacted with its members in person, and read their opinions for more […]

Virginia Supreme Court rejects map drawers

BY: - November 12, 2021

The Virginia State Supreme Court has rejected three “special master” candidates nominated by Republicans to help redraw Virginia’s legislative lines. The nominees, the justices said in an order this morning, will serve as officers of the court in a “quasi-judicial capacity” and therefore “must be neutral and must not act as advocates or representatives of […]

House Dems want probe of federal judges’ hire of law clerk alleged to have sent racist text

BY: - November 12, 2021

WASHINGTON — Democratic leaders of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee are urging the chief justice of the Supreme Court to investigate decisions by federal judges in Georgia and Alabama to hire a law clerk who allegedly has “a history of nakedly racist and hateful conduct.” The letter says the Democrats have “grave concern” about the […]

Some in newly empowered Va. GOP open to speeding retail sales of marijuana

BY: - November 11, 2021

Newly empowered Republicans in Virginia say plans to allow retail sales of recreational marijuana won’t necessarily be doomed under their control of the House of Delegates and Executive Mansion. And some say they’re open to speeding up the timeline for allowing retail sales, which is currently delayed until 2024. “You almost kind of have to,” […]

Misdemeanor offenders are flooding Virginia’s state mental hospitals for competency restoration

BY: - November 9, 2021

More and more people in Virginia are being deemed mentally unfit to stand trial, crowding already-struggling state mental hospitals with patients who, in many cases, have only been charged with minor crimes like trespassing or disorderly conduct. But the lengthy process of restoring them to competency often means patients spend more time waiting to be evaluated […]

COMMENTARY

Find a better way to balance police budgets

BY: - November 4, 2021

When you get behind the wheel next time, please do an informal mental check. What I’m asking will help explain the enormous power – and misguided priorities – of too many police officers out on patrol.  They’re just following orders from local officials, however, for the most part. While driving, did you stop completely at […]

Supreme Court justices skeptical about New York gun control law

BY: - November 4, 2021

WASHINGTON — Conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court expressed skepticism Wednesday after listening to two hours of oral arguments on a New York law that imposes strict limits on carrying a gun outside the home—a case that will test how far states can go when crafting their own laws. In New York State Rifle & […]

COMMENTARY

Supreme Court weighs if the right to keep a gun at home applies to carrying weapons in public

BY: - November 3, 2021

By Morgan Marietta, University of Massachusetts Lowell The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments Nov. 3, 2021, on a clear question: Does the constitutional right to possess a gun extend outside the home? The answer may alter gun regulations in many states. The crux of the issue before the court is captured by a […]

COMMENTARY

Virginia’s toxic campaign season: life in the Divided States of America

BY: - November 1, 2021

In school board meetings, city council sessions and public hearings across the country – including here in Virginia – you see due process dissolve into red-faced rants, threats and arrests. On the grounds of the university Thomas Jefferson founded and in Charlottesville, we saw it explode in blood and death four years ago – a […]

Virginia’s prison population fell by thousands during the pandemic. Will it stay down?

BY: - October 28, 2021

Virginia’s prison population dropped by more than 5,000 people during the pandemic, and officials tasked with projecting future trends are wondering if it’s going to stay that way. In a report released this month, Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran’s office said said it’s too soon to know what impact legislation passed […]