Crime/justice

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18 Apr 2015

Virginia Bans Powdered Alcohol

Cocaine isn’t the only white powder on drug authorities’ radar these days. They’re also targeting Palcohol – powdered alcohol that can turn a glass of water into a mojito.

17 Apr 2015

Virginia Closes Legal Gap on Human Trafficking

Twenty-five years after the hit movie “Pretty Woman,” Virginia is getting more serious about an issue that the film treats humorously – sex trafficking.

05 Apr 2015

Relatives of 43 Missing Mexican Students Rally in Richmond

Relatives of the 43 missing students rallied in Richmond this weekend, seeking justice for their loved ones and urging the United States to cut off foreign aid to corrupt politicians and law enforcement officials in Mexico.

01 Apr 2015

Governor Criticized for Allowing More Surveillance

A Democratic senator, a prominent Republican and civil libertarians are blasting Gov. Terry McAuliffe for amending a bill that would protect Virginia citizens from high-tech government surveillance.

17 Feb 2015

Battered Wife Must Pay Abuser Alimony

A Richmond woman’s harrowing story prompted a state legislator to propose a bill that would prohibit courts from awarding alimony to a spouse who has been convicted of domestic violence. The bill failed.

13 Feb 2015

Bill Seeks to Tamp Down Cigarette Trafficking

Sen. Bryce E. Reeves, R-Spotsylvania, urged the General Assembly on Friday to pass a bill that would crack down on cigarette trafficking and, by extension, the funding of terrorist groups.

08 Feb 2015

Drug Can Reverse Heroin Overdoses

As opiate overdose deaths rise in Virginia, the General Assembly is moving to approve legislation intended to curb the epidemic.

30 Jan 2015

Most Virginians Say Bullying Is Serious

Half of Virginians view bullying and harassment as a “very serious problem” at school, and another third think it is “somewhat serious,” according to a statewide poll.

22 Jan 2015

Herring Creates 1st AG Unit for Animal Law

RICHMOND – Attorney General Mark Herring announced Thursday that his office is creating a unit to train and guide local law enforcement and state agencies on how to pursue cases involving animal welfare or abuse.

07 Feb 2014

Revenge-Porn Bill Gains Momentum in House

By Colin Kennedy Capital News Service RICHMOND — Revenge pornography is one step closer to criminalization in Virginia after recent amendments to House Bill 326 helped pave the way for the proposed legislation to clear the House of Representatives. Delegate Robert Bell, R-Charlottesville, is the chief patron of the bill, which would classify the unlawful […]

31 Jan 2014

State Declines Department Of Corrections Study

By Eric Luther Capital News Service RICHMOND – A resolution allowing government agencies to examine employment conditions of penitentiaries statewide was tabled this week by the General Assembly’s Committee on Rules. The resolution, proposed by Delegate Roslyn C. Tyler, D- Jarratt, would have directed the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to study employee health […]

31 Jan 2014

Bills Seek to Protect Responders from Reckless Driving

By Kate Miller Capital News Service RICHMOND — “Andrew’s Law,” legislation that would punish as a felony reckless driving that seriously injures or kills an on-duty responder or highway worker, will be heard in the Senate Finance Committee next week. The legislation, a combination of House Bill 1148 and Senate Bill 293, was introduced after […]

15 May 2013

For Virginia Inmates, Little Hope of Parole

The Virginia Parole Board last year granted parole in less than 4 percent of the cases it considered. Even old men – prisoners in their 70s and 80s who have served decades behind bars – were routinely denied parole.

15 May 2013

Ex-Felon’s Voting Rights, and Hopes, Restored

About 12 years ago, Michael Maupin lost his right to vote in Virginia because of a felony drug conviction. But Maupin has hope for the future because he just received a letter from Gov. Bob McDonnell restoring his civil rights.

15 May 2013

Slim Hopes of Parole in Virginia

For the past two years, the Virginia Parole Board has granted less than 4 percent of the cases it has heard.

14 May 2013

Some Howling over Dangerous Dogs Registry

There are more than 400 dogs in the Virginia Dangerous Dogs Registry, a list of animals that have attacked someone or hurt or killed another dog or cat.

14 May 2013

Should State Publicize List of Animal Abusers?

Virginia already has a registry for “dangerous dogs” – animals that have attacked other pets or people. So how about having a registry for people who abuse animals? That’s what some animal welfare advocates would like.

13 May 2013

Like its Clients, Drug Center Is Recovering

Rubicon Inc., a substance abuse and mental health treatment center that has served the Richmond community for more than 40 years, is trying to regain its financial footing after nearly having to close its doors last fall.

09 May 2013

Human Trafficking: Modern-day Slavery

Human trafficking survivors and support groups are speaking out and working with state legislators to combat the problem of human trafficking in Virginia.

09 May 2013

Recovering from a Stolen Childhood

Elisabeth Corey has repressed memories of the abuse she suffered at the hands of family members while growing up in Northern Virginia. She’s a survivor of family-controlled sex trafficking and endured sexual abuse from male family members.

09 May 2013

Group Offers Haven to Survivors of Trafficking

In 2010, Josh Bailey and his wife, Andrea, founded the Gray Haven Project. The organization helps human trafficking survivors rebuild their lives.

09 May 2013

Human Trafficking: By the Numbers

Here are charts and tables about human trafficking in Virginia and the United States.

19 Apr 2013

Storify: Boston Marathon: The Manhunt

Americans woke up this morning to headlines saying one of the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects was shot by police and that the other one was still on the run.

08 Apr 2013

New Law Cracks Down on Bullying in Schools

Beginning in July 2014, each school board in Virginia must include in its student code of conduct a prohibition against bullying, including cyberbullying. Moreover, school divisions must educate teachers and other employees about bullying and “the need to create a bully-free environment.

06 Apr 2013

Pawnshops to Require More ID from Sellers

To curb the sale of stolen property, pawnshops soon will keep a photo of people who sell the stores items. And pawnbrokers will be prohibited from receiving or re-selling goods if the original serial number has been altered or changed in some way.

26 Mar 2013

Gov. McDonnell Amends Moratorium on Drones

Gov. Bob McDonnell on Monday proposed amending legislation to put a moratorium on the use of drone technology in Virginia until 2015. McDonnell’s suggested amendments to House Bill 2012 and Senate Bill 1331 would allow for drone research at college and universities and would let law enforcement officials use drones for certain tasks, such as search and rescue.

26 Mar 2013

Governor OKs, Amends School Safety Bills

Gov. Bob McDonnell has approved at least six bills and proposed revisions to at least three others aimed at improving school security and creating a safe campus environment.

23 Mar 2013

Governor Signs Law Targeting Synthetic Drugs

Gov. Bob McDonnell has signed into law legislation to expand the list of prohibited chemicals used in making synthetic marijuana and other designer drugs. McDonnell announced Wednesday that he had signed House Bill 1941, which included an emergency clause making it effective immediately.

23 Feb 2013

Gun Control Advocates Rally at Capitol

Calls for stricter gun laws after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December did not persuade the Virginia General Assembly to pass such legislation during its 2013 session.

22 Feb 2013

Innocence Would Be Easier to Prove

Wrongly convicted felons could have an easier pathway to proving their innocence thanks to passage of a bill amending Virginia’s “21-day rule.”

06 Feb 2013

Lecture Points to Flaws in Justice System

Because of false information, Marvin Anderson spent 15 years in prison for a rape and other crimes that he did not commit. He recounted his ordeal Tuesday at a Black History Month lecture at VCU.

02 Feb 2013

Adopt School Safety Ideas, Governor Tells Assembly

Gov. Bob McDonnell is urging state legislators to approve recommendations from his School and Campus Safety Task Force that would increase sentences for illegally buying guns, require mandatory lockdown drills at schools and establish more comprehensive suicide prevention programs.

29 Jan 2013

Virginia Inmate Granted Hearing for Sex Change

A Virginia prison inmate seeking a sex-change operation won a legal victory Monday when a federal appeals panel ordered a lower court to hear the case.

26 Jan 2013

Sidebar: In Gun Debate, Legislators Target Mental Health

Virginia’s General Assembly is also focused on preventing campus shootings like the one at Virginia Tech, but gun control is only one segment of the issue.

26 Jan 2013

Vice President Biden Discusses Guns at VCU

Vice President Joe Biden held a round-table discussion about gun violence Friday at Virginia Commonwealth University, saying “we cannot remain silent” on the issue.

25 Jan 2013

Biden Invites VCU into National Discussion

While Virginia Commonwealth University isn’t the center of the gun debate triggered by December’s school shootings in Connecticut, Vice President Joe Biden got VCU’s help Friday in continuing the national dialogue on the matter.

16 Jan 2013

Committee Will Consider Restoring Felons’ Rights

A Senate subcommittee tied 3-3 Tuesday on proposed constitutional amendments to restore the voting rights of nonviolent felons who’ve completed their sentences.

15 Jan 2013

House Confirms Openly Gay Judge

The Virginia House of Delegates voted 66-28 today to confirm the permanent appointment of Tracy Thorne-Begland as a judge of Richmond’s Manchester General District Court. He is the first openly gay judge to serve in Virginia.

11 Jan 2013

Dance Applauds McDonnell on Felons’ Rights

Delegate Rosalyn Dance of Petersburg gave Gov. Bob McDonnell a standing ovation when he announced his support for restoring the voting rights of nonviolent felons during his State of the Commonwealth address this week.

08 Jan 2013

Democrats Rap Cuccinelli Over Federal Law

Virginia Democrats slammed state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli on Tuesday for refusing to support reauthorization of the federal Violence Against Women Act.

15 May 2012

Virginia Makes Amends for Wrongful Imprisonment

Thomas Haynesworth spent 27 years in prison for crimes he didn’t commit. He was exonerated last December, and the General Assembly voted to award him more than a $1 million in relief. Is that sufficient compensation for an innocent man locked up for nearly three decades?

15 May 2012

States’ Compensation Laws Are All Over the Map

Twenty-seven states and Washington D.C., have laws to compensate people who have been wrongfully convicted and incarcerated.

14 May 2012

ABC Busts Retailers for Selling to Minors

Like other states, Virginia has strict age limits to buy cigarettes and alcohol. But young people often have little trouble purchasing those products: About one of every eight stores inspected by the state sells tobacco and booze to underage buyers.

14 May 2012

Teen Goes Undercover to Nab Illicit Sellers

Jessica Wood understands better than most how easy it is for minors to purchase alcohol and tobacco in Virginia. When she was 15, she had an unusual part-time job – helping undercover agents bust retailers who sell such products to minors.

14 May 2012

New Law Targets Cigarette Smuggling

You soon will face state fines and criminal charges if you buy large quantities of cigarettes in Virginia intending to resell them in a state with a higher tobacco tax. Beginning July 1, a new state law targets people “who possesses, with intent to distribute, more than 5,000 (25 cartons) tax-paid cigarettes.”

13 May 2012

New Law Prohibits Pointing Lasers at Aircraft

A state law that takes effect July 1 makes it a crime to point a laser at an aircraft. Laser strikes are dangerous because they can temporarily blind the pilot and cause a crash. There were 98 laser strikes in Virginia last year.

08 May 2012

Virginia Ignores Marijuana Reform Proposals

Virginia treats marijuana possession more harshly than many other states, handing down years-long prison sentences to people arrested with small amounts of the substance. Neighboring states have decriminalized marijuana or approved it for medicinal uses, but Virginia legislators this year hardly gave serious consideration to such ideas.

25 Apr 2012

Week Highlights Rights, Services for Crime Victims

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli kicked off National Crime Victims’ Rights Week with a press conference featuring a former football player who had been sexually abused as a teenager and a man who spent decades in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

13 Apr 2012

‘Castle Doctrine’ Proponent Decries Martin Case

Proponents of a “castle doctrine” law for Virginia say it would not condone killings like the death of Trayvon Martin, the teenager gunned down by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida.

05 Apr 2012

Wrongfully Imprisoned Man to Get More Than $1 Million

A Richmond man who spent nearly three decades wrongfully incarcerated in prison will receive more than $1 million in restitution under a bill signed into law Thursday by Gov. Bob McDonnell.