While Virginia studies cash bail alternatives, local prosecutors and judges increasingly take reform into their own hands

BY: - November 26, 2018

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 when I was a junior […]

Despite sheriff’s support, Chesterfield County’s opioid committee tables needle exchange

BY: - November 5, 2018

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 the past year because they can […]

Virginia’s second needle exchange, which opened this month in Richmond, is off to a slow start

BY: - November 1, 2018

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 of using clean equipment for […]

On Aug. 12 last year white supremacist groups entered Emancipation Park holding Nazi, Confederate, and Gadsden "Don't Tread on Me" flags. (Anthony Crider/Creative Commons)

Charlottesville organizers messaged about ‘raising an army’ and ‘the cracking of skulls’

BY: - October 17, 2018

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 filed against organizers suggest otherwise. […]

Why hundreds of rape and murder convictions don’t show up in Virginia background checks

BY: - October 12, 2018

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 criminal histories because of errors. […]

Second immigrant facing deportation claiming sanctuary in Va. church

BY: - October 8, 2018

A 44-year-old Guatemalan woman who says she is facing imminent deportation by ICE has taken refuge in a Virginia church, Wesley Memorial UMC in Charlottesville. The woman, María Chavalan Sut, is the second immigrant to publicly claim sanctuary in a Virginia house of worship, taking advantage of an ICE policy of not conducting raids or enforcement activity […]

White supremacist groups massed in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017. (Jackie Kruszewski/Contributed photo)

Why the FBI targeted four men out of the sea of white supremacists who descended on Charlottesville

BY: - October 2, 2018

Federal authorities say the four men arrested Tuesday in connection with white supremacist violence in Charlottesville last year were targeted for investigation because they “committed particularly violent acts,” had a history of attacks at other rallies and are members to a racist and anti-Semitic organization. U.S. Attorney Thomas Cullen told reporters during a press conference: […]

Gov. Ralph Northam

Gov. Northam creates new commission to address opioid and other drug addiction

BY: - October 1, 2018

Gov. Ralph Northam’s new bipartisan advisory commission to tackle opioid addiction across the state, which met for the first time last week, includes more than two dozen local government officials, law enforcement, lawyers, medical experts and regular people who have seen family members battle opioid addiction. The Governor’s Advisory Commission on Opioids and Addiction was formed […]

A sign advertises CBD lemonade at Ellwood Thompson's, an organic grocer in Richmond. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Virginia is creating strict new CBD oil regulations. Why are health food stores and gas stations already selling it?

BY: - September 27, 2018

This week state regulators named five businesses that will be allowed to sell medical marijuana oils, including cannabidiol (CBD) products, a non-intoxicating compound that a growing number of people are taking for ailments like anxiety, sleep problems, epilepsy and general inflammation, among others. The oils will be strictly regulated: Patients must register with the state […]

State suspends new policy banning women wearing tampons from visiting prisons

BY: - September 25, 2018

Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration pulled the plug on a new policy banning women visiting state prisons from wearing tampons. The move comes a day after the policy faced widespread news coverage and scrutiny. “Having been recently informed of a recent Virginia Department of Corrections (DOC) visitation policy, I have ordered its immediate suspension until further […]

Greene County commonwealth’s attorney asked state officials to cut his pay in half. They said no.

BY: - September 25, 2018

Greene County Commonwealth’s Attorney Matt Hardin ran on a campaign promise to cut his office’s budget. But when he contacted the state about cutting his pay for prosecuting crimes in the locality of 18,000, the state said no. “I think that makes sense in places like Charlottesville or Fairfax, but country lawyers aren’t making that […]

Virginia marijuana arrests hit highest levels in a decade

BY: - September 25, 2018

A friend was giving him a ride to work at a fast food restaurant in Hanover County when a sheriff’s deputy pulled them over to investigate whether the car’s window tint violated state law. The officer asked to search them. Sure, he said, totally forgetting the burnt end of a joint in his pants pocket […]