CRIMINAL JUSTICE + POLICING

In early 1987, I was assigned the city cops and courts beat at The Richmond News Leader. My tenure on that beat coincided with the rapid increase in the city’s murder rate, which at one point was the second highest in the country.It was a horrible time in...
Powhatan County Sheriff Brad Nunnally says his investigators got curious after seeing CBD — or cannabidiol —  products for sale in county convenience stores. So they bought some and got them tested by the state lab. The results?The Virginia State Lab determined one of the products, sold as "hemp flower,"...
Our news partners at NBC 12 report that a jury has recommended a life sentence for James Fields for the first-degree murder of Heather Heyer plus more than 400 years for other counts stemming from the Aug. 12, 2017 attack at the 'Unite the Right' rally.Last week, a jury...
Members of the Virginia State Crime Commission endorsed a package of anti-sex-trafficking legislation Monday that would open victim-restitution funds to former prostitutes, create “John schools” for people caught buying sex and make it illegal to charge for “masturbatory services,” as one local sheriff recently described them.The commission, made up...
After his nurse practitioner and co-conspirator pleaded guilty in September, a former physician in Woodbridge pleaded guilty Wednesday to operating a pill mill that illegally distributed more than 600,000 oxycodone pills.Shriharsh Laxman Pole, 65, voluntarily surrendered his medical license twice — in 2009 and 2013 — then turned around...
Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Herring says he never got much in the way of training about how much money it takes to make sure someone charged with a crime stays out of trouble and shows up for court, the purpose of cash bail.“So, 20 or however many years ago...
Chesterfield County Sheriff Karl Leonard sees firsthand the devastation that the ongoing opioid epidemic wreaks in his county, as more and more people enter his jail with an addiction and a hepatitis C infection.He's been openly supportive of starting a needle-exchange program, otherwise known as comprehensive harm reduction, for...
For the past few weeks, Edward Peters has been trying to spread the word about the new needle exchange that Health Brigade in Richmond just launched.An outreach specialist with the Richmond-based free clinic, Peters said that most people he talks to on the street seem open to the idea...
While plenty of communications have surfaced about the violent intentions of the participants in the Aug. 12, 2017, white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, the event's organizers have steadfastly maintained that their aims were peaceful and that they instructed participants to obey laws.Court filings this week in a civil suit...
In Virginia, you can be convicted of murder, but if they forget to get your fingerprints afterward, the charge won’t show up on a criminal background check.It isn’t just a theoretical issue, according to researchers with the Virginia State Crime Commission, who found 751,154 offenses were not applied to...