Category Archives: Crime , corrections and law enforcement

Another Let-Em-Out-of-Prison Campaign by the Press

by Kerry Dougherty

In a news story dripping with undisguised advocacy, the Virginian-Pilot last weekend published a piece practically begging for the early release from prison of a man serving 80 years for a string of armed robberies in 1997.

“His debt is paid, Portsmouth Man Fights For Pardon Of 80-Year-Sentence,” screamed the headline.

Virginia abolished parole in 1995 and only felons sentenced before that date or are old enough to qualify as geriatrics are sprung early. The Virginia Parole Board’s outrageous release of at least eight killers and other violent felons last year turned into a political scandal as the self-described bleeding hearts on that board acted with unbridled arrogance, wantonly breaking rules to get criminals out of prison.

That out-of-control Parole Board consisted of a mixture of members appointed by Terry McAuliffe and Ralph Northam.

Felons sentenced after the abolition of parole have two ways out of prison: escape or petition the governor to grant a pardon.

Northam has turned into a one-man parole board, freeing 604 prisoners so far — more than the past nine Virginia governors together, according to the newspaper. In other words, Northam casually substitutes his judgment for that of Virginia’s judges and juries, which had their reasons for handing down lengthy sentences.

Lucky us. Continue reading

COVID Did Not Cause the Spike in Richmond Murders

by Hans Bader

Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) suggested a spike in murders in Richmond is due to the coronavirus. But it isn’t.

VCU Medical trauma surgeon Michael Aboutanos said VCU is experiencing a 121% increase in gunshot-wound victims from across the Richmond metropolitan area. In response, Senator Warner cited the effects of COVID-19, the “frustration of people not being able to get back into the community, the frustration with schools being shut down. But 120 percent increase, month over month over last year? If that doesn’t scream epidemic, I don’t know what does.”

But the coronavirus epidemic affected the whole world and shut down schools and community institutions in many countries. Yet the United States was almost alone in having a huge increase in homicides. Most of the world saw reductions in homicide rates in 2020. Continue reading

Virginia Likely to Reinstate Parole for Murderers

by Hans Bader

Senator Joe Morrissey, D-Richmond, predicts that Virginia’s senate will vote to bring back parole in 2022 — “across the board,” meaning for even the most serious crimes, such as murder. Restoring parole could increase the number of murders, rapes, and robberies in Virginia. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports:

A movement to reinstate parole in Virginia could hinge on the outcome of election results next month. Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe has indicated willingness to support expanded parole …. While many Democrats support reinstating parole broadly in Virginia, Republicans generally oppose it. The Democrats hold a 55-45 seat edge in the House of Delegates. … The issue will be debated in next year’s General Assembly session.

“I will be introducing a bill that will reintroduce parole across the board,” said Sen. Joe Morrissey, D-Richmond. “I think it will pass [the] Senate Judiciary [Committee] and … the full body.” Democrats control the Senate 21-19. Senators are not up for election until 2023. But Morrissey said he predicts a possible roadblock to parole expansion in the House, where he thinks Republicans will make gains in the Nov. 2 election. … Virginia created parole in 1942 and abolished it in 1995, passing a “truth in sentencing” law among other criminal justice measures in an effort to reduce high crime rates…. Continue reading

Shootings Are Spiking? Let’s Blame COVID!

U.S. Senator Mark Warner. Photo credit: WTVR

by James A. Bacon

It came as a big surprise to U.S. Senator Mark Warner to hear about the spike in violence occurring in the City of Richmond. The Senator, who last lived in the city when he was governor in 2006, met with what WTVR-TV describes as a gathering of government and community leaders.

During the meeting, VCU Medical trauma surgeon Michael Aboutanos said that VCU is experiencing a 121% increase in gunshot-wound victims from across the metro Richmond area. “This is a serious issue,” he said, “One we cannot ignore.”

“I didn’t think I realized the numbers were that astronomical,” Warner said.

The murder rate, which passed the 60 mark this month, has not yet reached levels seen during the crack-cocaine epidemic, when murders in the 1980s routinely exceeded 100, giving Richmond one of the highest homicide rates (as a percentage of population) in the United States. But it is more than double that of the low-water mark of 31 homicides achieved in the post-crack year of 2008. Continue reading

Dying for a Photo Op

Lieutenant H. J. Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates

This post has been excerpted from a longer column published in The Republican Standard. — JAB

by Shaun Kenney

Two things have always bothered me about Charlottesville 2017.

First, that the political Left never mentions that three people died that day. Yes, we all know the name of Heather Heyer.

But you never see the left or the media mention Jay Cullen and Berke Bates.

Why?

They don’t mention Cullen or Bates because they were Virginia State Police officers who died in the line of duty.

That leads me to the second thing that has bothered me ever since. Continue reading

A New Form of Sexual Identity Enters the Lexicon: Gender Fluid

Scott Smith, whose daughter was raped in a Loudoun County school, is shown here being escorted out of a Loudoun County school board meeting. He was subsequently charged with two misdemeanors and sentenced to 10 days in jail, all suspended.

by James A. Bacon

Loudoun Now has confirmed key details of the Daily Wire expose describing the ordeal of plumber Scott Smith and his family after his daughter was sexually assaulted in a high school bathroom by a boy dressed in a skirt.

Yesterday I refrained from going ballistic on this story, which was based on the reporting of a single, conservative news outlet. The account of a girl being assaulted by a transgender student given admittance to the girls’ restroom fit the conservative anti-transgender narrative so perfectly — the incident is exactly what conservatives have predicted — that I wanted to see reporting from another source before passing judgment. Other conservative publications have jumped into the fray, but we now have confirmation from the home-town paper.

One telling detail in the Loudoun County account warrants greater attention. According to Smith, who professes to be largely apolitical and not part of the conservative protest crowd packing school board meetings, the youth who raped his daughter identified as “gender fluid.” Continue reading

No Need to Call in Feds, Says Virginia School Board Association

Protest at a Loudoun County school board meeting. Photo credit: Loudoun Now.

by James A. Bacon

It became national news when the National School Board Association (NASB) asked the Biden administration to investigate threats and violence against school board members around the country. The Justice Department announced it would collaborate with the FBI and local law enforcement to prosecute criminal behavior. The views of the national association did not reflect the views of at least 13 state organizations, including Virginia’s, reports National Review

The Virginia School Boards Association made clear in a letter published last week that it provided no information to the national organization and was never informed that a letter would be sent. The NASB was not the first decision with which the Virginia association disagrees, the Virginia group wrote, and it “probably will not be the last.” Continue reading

Bacon Bits: The Political Class in Action

Is Charlottesville governable? Charlottesville City Manager Chip Boyles has announced his resignation, making him the fifth interim or full-time city manager to leave the city since 2018, reports the Daily Progress. “The public disparagement shown by several community members and Mayor [Nikuyah] Walker has begun to negatively effect [sic] my personal health and well-being,” he wrote to City Council. Walker responded by saying Boyles should have been fired. “You shouldn’t have been able to sleep at night because you are a liar,” she said in a Facebook video. Walker, who gained notoriety for penning a poem likening Charlottesville to rape, has herself said she will not run for re-election. Boyle and Walker butted heads over many issues, including his firing of the city’s female, African-American police chief. One councilman told the Daily Progress that in the opinion of an executive search firm contacted last year, “we were not likely to be able to hire anybody with council as dysfunctional as it is.”

It was an innocent mistake, yer honor. Chesapeake Board Chair Victoria Proffitt, who had been laid off from her adjunct math teaching job at Tidewater Community College, has returned $984 in unemployment benefits she was overpaid by the Virginia Employment Commission. She attributed the error to a VEC oversight, but a special prosecutor had contended she was “either being intentionally dishonest or was just exceedingly careless,” says the Virginian-Pilot. Meanwhile… Continue reading

Did Loudoun School Officials Cover up a Rape?

by Kerry Dougherty

In the winter of 2020 I had several heated arguments about HB257, which was introduced by Newport News Democrat Mike Mullen, approved by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam.

Here’s a news story where Mullen proudly touted his soft-on-crime bills.

One of those abolished the requirement that all criminal activity on school property had to be reported to the police.

Proponents of the measure claimed that principals were calling the cops to break up fistfights and as a result, minor skirmishes were escalating into criminal matters.

On March 12, 2020 Ralph Northam signed the bill into law, over the objections of many, including Virginia Beach’s Victoria Manning, according to WAVY-TV 10.

Virginia Beach School Board member Vicky Manning feels the law doesn’t help the lack of trust in the disciplinary process. Continue reading

Descent into Madness: Loudoun County Edition

by James A. Bacon

Two weeks ago the National School Boards Association (NASB) appealed in a highly publicized letter to President Biden to do something to stop the “threats and acts of violence against public school children, public school board members, and other public school district officials.” Attorney General Merrick Garland said the FBI would respond to the challenge. “Threats against public servants are not only illegal,” he said, “they run counter to our nation’s core values.”

What heinous events prompted the intervention of the FBI into local law enforcement matters? The NASB spelled out numerous “acts of malice, violence and threats” by parents irate about the rise of race demogoguery, transgender politics, masking policies, and pornography in libraries.

One individual in Illinois was arrested for aggravated battery. In Michigan an individual yelled a Nazi salute (undoubtedly in the same sarcastic spirit of the Nazi salute that set off a Twitter Outrage Mob in the Netflix series “The Chair”), and another “prompted the board to call a recess.” In Virginia, elaborated the NASB letter, “an individual was arrested, another man was ticketed for trespassing, and a third person was hurt during a school board meeting discussion.”

According to the news story the NASB linked to, the individual in Virginia who “was arrested” was a certain Scott T. Smith. The video clip below shows what kind of threat he posed to Loudoun County School Board members.

Continue reading

How to Fight the Cancel-Culture Thugs

Blaine Pardoe

by Blaine Pardoe

I am an established, bestselling, award-winning, Virginia author. When my latest book was announced, a conservative political thriller titled, “Blue Dawn,” I brought down the wrath of the leftist cancel culture. A very small but vocal group of ‘fans’ tried to get one of my publishers of 36+ years to cancel its contracts with me and pull my books from publication.

Their leader claimed that I had hidden secret racist messages in the subtext of my novels, as crazy as that sounds. These people confronted me online and went after my publishers issuing demands for my purging from the publishing world. This over a book that they had not even read yet!

I did what you would do, I blocked these people. I thought they would get tired and go away. I was wrong.

One of them, using a fake online persona, contacted a fellow author/friend of mine and threatened my life. Other threats were emailed to me or sent as comments to my blog from this person.

I learned a lot through this process. I worked with law enforcement, hired lawyers, worked with security professionals in the field, and I fought back. These woke-warriors came after me as they had with hundreds, if not thousands of other conservatives. Our crime is one of not capitulating, not folding, not voluntarily censoring our thoughts or work.

I also learned how to fight these individuals, which is what I’d like to share with you. Continue reading

In Fairfax, Illegal-Alien Rights Trump Citizen Rights

by James A. Bacon

Apparently, protecting illegal aliens from U.S. immigration authorities is more important to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors than safeguarding the transparency of police blotters, which have been a mainstay of local media crime reporting and public information about crime in the community.

The Fairfax County Police Department has stopped publishing its weekly arrest blotter. Immigrant rights and civil liberty groups had been pushing for the change, arguing that the weekly compilations, which includes arrestees’ records and other details, could help U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) target immigrants for deportation, reports the Associated Press.

Remarkably, Diane Burkley Alejandro, executive director of ACLU People Power, said she has no evidence that ICE is actually using the blotters to track down immigrants. Rather, she says, the information provides a “road map” that might allow ICE to locate them as it employs new data-mining tools.

Citizens can still obtain the arrest data, but only by filing a Freedom of Information Act request subject to a month-long response time and possible fees. Continue reading

Kick Out the Punks Before They Kill Someone

by Kerry Dougherty

School officials are wringing their hands in Newport News right now, wondering what they could have done to prevent a shooting at Heritage High School that left a 17-year-old boy and girl with bullet wounds.

On Monday morning, outside of the school cafeteria, the boy was shot in the head and leg, the girl was also shot in her leg and several other students were injured in the chaos that followed the incident.

Frightened kids were herded out of the school to Heritage’s tennis courts, where they waited for their parents.

News reports initially said the suspect and the victims knew each other, but the injured boy told detectives he didn’t know the shooter. The Daily Press reports that much of the crime was caught on school surveillance cameras. After a brief fight in the hallway, which was broken up by a teacher, the suspect reached into his backpack, removed an item and minutes later pulled a gun out of his waistband and began shooting. Continue reading

Bacon Bits: The Fraying Social Fabric Edition

Honor is an antiquated slaveholders concept anyway. The University of Virginia’s student Honor Committee has voted to alter the honor code to eliminate the single sanction against lying, cheating and stealing from expulsion to a two-semester suspension. Before the change can be adopted, it must be approved by a vote of the student body. Third-year law student Christopher Benos proposed the plan. “This is a system that maintains the integrity of the Honor system, while offering the multi-sanction system that prioritizes rehabilitation, recommitment and Honor education.” The Cavalier Daily student newspaper describes the debate here. Prediction: If this proposal is enacted, few students actually will be “rehabilitated,” and lying, cheating and stealing will get worse. The “community of trust” is eroding as it is, even without the change. Sign of the times: Rocking chairs outside rooms on the Lawn have to be chained down.

Refund the police. Arlington County, which competes with the City of Charlottesville for being the most “woke” locality in Virginia, is hemorrhaging police officers, and City Manager Mark Schwartz proposes setting aside $3 million in the 2023 budget for retention and recruitment. So far this calendar year, 46 officers have announced their intention to leave the force, either resigning or retiring. “Please don’t leave, we need you,” Schwartz said, according to WTOP News. Describing the situation as “critical,” Schwartz said many police officers are leaving for better-paying positions in the private sector, including Amazon’s new Northern Virginia headquarters.

The best of a bad crowd. The College of William & Mary scored 10th in the latest Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) / RealClearEducation college free speech ranking. Among the 159 colleges surveyed, George Mason University snagged 12th place, and the University of Virginia came in 22nd. Virginia Tech dragged up the rear among Virginia institutions with a 107th-place score. The findings were based upon a survey of 37,000 undergraduate students. Students were queried about their comfort discussing controversial topics, tolerance for liberal and conservative speakers, and tolerance for conservative speakers, and administrative support for free expression. I don’t know enough to comment about W&M or GMU, but if UVa ranked 22nd freest in the survey, U.S. higher-ed has a real problem. Many students, faculty and staff do not feel free to express conservative ideas.

Convicted, But Innocent–Emerson Stevens

Emerson Stevens with his attorneys, Jennifer Givens and Deidre Enright.   Photo credit: Alec Sieber/ UVa School of Law

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

In August, Governor Northam granted a full pardon to Emerson Stevens. Stevens had been convicted of killing a young mother of two in 1985 in a small fishing village on the Northern Neck. The pardon was based on evidence that “reflects Mr. Stevens’ innocence.”

Stevens maintained from the beginning that he was innocent. His first trial ended in a hung jury. The second jury found him guilty and sentenced him to 164 years in prison.

He was paroled in 2017 after being held in jail and prison for more than 30 years for a crime he did not commit. Although free on parole, he continued to fight to clear his name. Continue reading