CRIMINAL JUSTICE + POLICING

Why a Republican legislator wants to make it easier for ex-offenders to vote

BY: - January 17, 2022

Mike Cherry says it’s his religious faith, and the Republican Party’s distant history of expanding voting rights to African Americans and women, that led him to sponsor legislation many wouldn’t expect to see from the modern-day GOP. A Richmond-area pastor just sworn into office, Cherry’s first legislative package includes a top priority for voting-rights groups: […]

Youngkin’s new parole board includes sheriff who confronted McAuliffe on campaign trail

BY: - January 17, 2022

On the campaign trail, Gov. Glenn Youngkin promised to fire his Democratic predecessor’s Parole Board on the first day he took office. And a few hours after he was sworn in on Saturday, that’s exactly what he did. The reconfigured board — a decidedly more conservative group than the body that approved a series of […]

Virginia lawmakers propose decriminalizing psychedelic mushrooms

BY: - January 14, 2022

Three Virginia lawmakers have introduced legislation that would end felony penalties for possession of psychedelic mushrooms, citing the drug’s growing acceptance in medicinal contexts. “It is increasingly a recognized treatment for refractory depression and PTSD,” said Del. Dawn Adams, D-Richmond, a nurse practitioner whose legislation would also decriminalize peyote, a cactus that contains the psychedelic […]

Federal prosecutors file seditious conspiracy charges against Oath Keepers in Jan. 6 attack

BY: - January 13, 2022

WASHINGTON — Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the far-right militia group the Oath Keepers, was charged with seditious conspiracy in organizing an attack on the U.S. Capitol and disrupting the Electoral College certification of the president, the Justice Department announced Thursday. Edward Vallejo, 63, of Phoenix is charged along with Rhodes in connection with events leading up to […]

Virginia legislators reintroduce bill to penalize ‘cyber flashing’

BY: - January 13, 2022

A bipartisan group of women legislators are again pushing for a state law against unwanted nude images sent by text and over computer screens. In a Thursday news conference, Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler, D-Virginia Beach, announced she was bringing back a bill that would penalize sexually explicit pictures sent to anyone without their request or consent. […]

AG: Virginia Beach police forged DNA evidence presented in court

BY: - January 12, 2022

Police in Virginia Beach forged forensic science reports used in criminal interrogations at least five times, according to Attorney General Mark Herring, who announced Wednesday that the department had agreed to end the practice following an investigation by his Office of Civil Rights. In a news release, Herring’s office said the forgeries were discovered in […]

Virginia lawmakers still at odds over resentencing for people in prison on marijuana charges

BY: - January 12, 2022

Nearly a year after Virginia lawmakers voted to legalize possession of marijuana, they remain divided on what — if anything — to do about people currently imprisoned on marijuana charges. The committee of House and Senate lawmakers tasked with making recommendations for the legislative session that begins Wednesday concluded its work this week with a […]

Supreme Court appears wary of Biden vaccine-or-test employer mandate

BY: - January 8, 2022

The U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority appeared unconvinced Friday of the Biden administration’s authority to impose a vaccine-or-test mandate on private businesses, casting doubt on a key piece of the White House COVID-19 response. The justices seemed potentially more comfortable with another Biden administration rule to fight the virus that requires certain health care workers […]

COMMENTARY

The outgoing AG threw down a gauntlet on discriminatory policing. Will his successor pick it up?

BY: - January 5, 2022

Mark Herring, the soon-to-be former Virginia attorney general, has thrown down the gauntlet against the policing practices in the small town of Windsor.  The question is whether Jason Miyares, Herring’s successor, will take it up – ensuring fair treatment of Blacks, Latinos and other people of color during traffic stops by law enforcement agencies. We’ll […]

Federal judge blocks Biden vaccine mandate for Head Start workers in 24 states

BY: - January 4, 2022

A Louisiana federal judge has put a hold on President Joe Biden’s mandate that Head Start workers be vaccinated against COVID-19. U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty, who previously ruled against a vaccine mandate for health care workers, issued a preliminary injunction on New Year’s Day restricting the executive branch from enforcing in 24 states a mandate for […]

Federal law still treats marijuana as an illegal drug, creating headaches for states

BY: - December 24, 2021

Most states in the U.S. are in violation of a major federal drug statute. The 1971 Controlled Substances Act lists marijuana in the most dangerous category defined in the law, on par with cocaine and heroin because of its supposed potential for abuse and lack of medical applications. But 36 states plus the District of […]

Judge rules in favor of Rappahannock Electric Co-op in transparency fight

BY: - December 23, 2021

SPOTSYLVANIA — A judge denied a petition seeking greater transparency in the operations of Rappahannock Electric Cooperative’s board of directors Tuesday but said trial statements indicated the organization is “not as cooperative as it should be.”  The ruling, issued by Judge Joseph J. Ellis in Spotsylvania Circuit Court, was the culmination of a more than […]