Category Archives: Crime, Corrections and Law Enforcement

The Crying Game

by James A. Bacon

After President Jim Ryan ordered a breakup of their liberation zone for Gaza a week ago in what one might call a “mostly peaceful” police action, encampment veterans are posturing as victims of “brutal” fascist state “violence” and “trauma.”

“I got brutalized by the police at a UNESCO World Heritage site,” reads one meme making the rounds.

“Welcome to the University of Virginia, where we encourage free speech and expression unless you’re protesting genocide, where we brutalize our students and mace our community members,” says an UVA Encampment for Gaza post on Instagram.

“I just want to acknowledge the trauma that I believe some of them [the protesters] felt in all this,” said a health-care provider participating in a two-hour “Honest Town Hall” organized by faculty members in response to Ryan’s earlier “town hall” presentation.

A student speaking at the counter-town hall spoke of “layers of violence” at UVA stretching back to the displacement of the native peoples and days of slavery. “The University is unique in the kind of violence that it has … endorsed and propagated.”

“Every time I go to Grounds,” the student continued, “I actually am physically ill when I’m near the Range. I feel like I’m surrounded by the ghosts of slaves … and also the recollection of seeing police brutalize my friends.”

Time out, snowflakes! Are you ready for some hard truth? You don’t have the faintest idea of what it’s like to be brutalized or to experience trauma. You belong to the most coddled, privileged, self-indulgent generation in the history of mankind. Most of you wouldn’t know hardship or adversity, much less brutality or trauma, if it smacked you over the head… with a foam pool noodle. Continue reading

Team Ryan Defends Shutdown of Tent Encampment

President Jim Ryan during virtual Town Hall

by James A. Bacon

The University of Virginia called in the Virginia State Police to disperse “UVA Encampment for Gaza” protesters because they feared the demonstration was spiraling out of control, said President Jim Ryan, University Police Chief Tim Longo, and other University leaders in a virtual town hall early this afternoon.

Some protesters had tried to smuggle in wooden structures that could be used as barricades to fortify the encampment, as seen at pro-Palestinian demonstrations at other universities. Although that effort was thwarted, law enforcement authorities learned that four individuals associated with previous Charlottesville events “that resulted in violence” had entered the so-called liberation zone. Meanwhile, organizers were using social media to appeal to more outsiders to join them, and the numbers were growing.

Ryan said he acted before more outsiders joined, the encampment became more entrenched, and the potential for violence increased. “If we didn’t act, would we be faced with 50 tents and 20 outsiders?” he said. “Where would we be then?”

Ryan, Longo, and Provost Ian Baucom stated repeatedly that protesters spurned repeated efforts to engage in dialogue. The limited communications that did occur were relayed through faculty members. University officials were at pains to contrast the anarchist protest with other pro-Palestinian demonstrations organized by student groups, in compliance with university guidelines. Continue reading

With the Tents Down, the Blowback Begins

by James A. Bacon

Following the decision to take down the tents in the UVA Solidarity Encampment for Gaza “liberated zone” at the University of Virginia on Saturday, UVA President Jim Ryan is facing strong blowback from leftist elements in the UVA and Charlottesville communities.

Pro-Palestinian protesters had rebuked the administration’s orders to take down the tents and refrain from the use of loudspeakers in violation of University rules. After repeated warnings, the decision was made to send in Virginia State Troopers in riot gear Saturday to break up a tent encampment of anarchists and militants near the University Chapel, resulting in the arrest of 25.

The Jefferson Council contends that the takedown was fully justified. The issue was not the protesters’ right to free speech — they had been shouting and chanting their pro-Palestinian views for almost a week — but their refusal to abide by the rules regarding time, place and manner of protests that everyone else is expected to obey. Continue reading

At UVA, One Pro-Palestinian Protest Disperses, a Second Persists

by James A. Bacon

One of two pro-Palestinian demonstrations at the University of Virginia wound down around 5 p.m. yesterday without incident. Although the rally was marked by all-too-familiar anti-Israel chants and sloganeering, protesters dispersed at the scheduled time. A parallel demonstration, a tent-free “encampment,” continues this morning.

University officials set clear expectations from the beginning that university rules would be enforced. When a pro-Palestinian group erected tents Tuesday near the University Chapel in imitation of encampments at other campuses, university authorities quickly told them to take down the structures, for which they had not obtained permits. In other interactions, Police Chief Tim Longo personally engaged with protesters to inform them about university policy regarding trespassing and amplified sound.

“The protest activity near the University Chapel has continued peacefully and in compliance with University policy since it began Tuesday afternoon,” said University spokesperson Brian Coy. “Organizers have complied with requests to remove tents and other prohibited materials.” Continue reading

Greedy Cities and Speeding Ticket Chicanery

by Kerry Dougherty 

Hire more traffic cops. At the very least hire Virginia companies to fleece Virginia drivers.

That’s the advice I have for Chesapeake and Suffolk, where instead of sending cops with radar guns out to catch speeders, they’ve hired out-of-state vendors with cameras.

Worse, according to attorney and former Del. Tim Anderson, who’s filed suit to stop the practice, the cities allow the vendors – did I mention they were out-of-state? – to impersonate cities when collecting fines.

Anderson says the cameras are cropping up all over the commonwealth. He’s handling two local cases pro bono and is seeking reimbursement for all drivers who were ticketed illegally by the vendors pretending to be city officials. If these cases are successful – and it seems clear the cities are violating the state law – he plans to sue in other jurisdictions to halt the process. Continue reading

Jason Miyares–Judicial Activist?

Jason Miyares

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

Jason Miyares has struck out again.

Miyares, Virginia’s Attorney General, keeps asking the Virginia Supreme Court  to interpret a statute, based not on how it is actually written, but based on what the General Assembly “intended.” The court’s response is that its function is to ask “not what the legislature intended to enact, but what is the meaning of that which it did enact. We must determine the legislative intent by what the statute says and not by what we think it should have said.”

At issue is the expansion of earned sentence credits for offenders in state prisons enacted by the 2020 General Assembly. This legislation and its implementation has had a convoluted history, which I described in an earlier post. In summary, the maximum number of sentence credits an offender can earn was increased from 4.5 days per 30 days served to 15 days per 30 days served. The legislation listed a large number of exceptions to the expansion. Among the offenses exempted from the expansion were Class 1 felonies (capital murder) and “any violation” of Sec. 18.1-32 (first degree murder).

The aspect of the legislation that Miyares keeps running up against is the omission of inchoate offenses in the list of exceptions. In legal terms, an inchoate crime is “a type of crime that is committed by taking a punishable step towards the commission of another crime. The three basic inchoate offenses are attempt, solicitation, and conspiracy.” Continue reading

Yes, MSNBC Morons, Virginia IS a Border State.

by Kerry Dougherty 

Remember back on the night of Super Tuesday when MSNBC’s far-left host Rachel Maddow and former Biden mouthpiece Jen Psaki convulsed in laughter as they reported that the number one issue for Republican voters was the border?

“Well Virginia does have a border with West Virginia,” Maddow cackled, sending the panel of unserious pundits into more gales of laughter as they mocked both conservative Virginians and West Virginians.

It was a leftist twofer! The only thing missing was a crack about “deplorables.”

I guess it never occurred to these mindless cable creatures that 1,951 Virginians died of fentanyl overdoses in 2022, up 30% from the year before. In fact, according to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, more Virginians die every year from drug overdoses than motor vehicle accidents and gun-related deaths combined.

Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of unnatural death in Virginia.

And how do most illegal drugs get into our country? From China, via Mexico and the drug cartels running our border.

But go ahead and yuck it up ladies. We’re such a bunch of rubes down here. Continue reading

Prison Population Down, Crime Up in 2022. Coincidence?

The population of Virginia’s state and federal prisons posted a 10.5% decline between 2021 and 2022 — the largest drop of any state, according to new Department of Justice data. Oregon saw the second largest decline at 5.2%. Many states saw increases in their prison populations, as reported by WRIC news.

The total prison population for Virginia in 2022 was 27,162. The numbers do not include inmates of local jails.

The fall-off in prison population was especially marked among females — 18%. The DOJ report did not break down state-by-state prison populations by race.

With the exception of drug offenses, which declined, the crime rate per 100,000 population increased in almost all categories in 2022, according to the Virginia State Police “2022 Crime in Virginia” report.

— JAB

Correction: SMR Bills Cover Both Utilities

Friday’s report that the General Assembly voted to allow early cost recovery on small modular reactors only for Appalachian Power Company was in error.  The Senate version of the bill approved March 7 was language applicable solely to Dominion Energy Virginia. A substitute that removed Dominion from the bill was rejected.

The error was entirely due to inattention on my part. Frankly, it is a message I need to stop trying to write about live legislation if I am not on the ground at the Capitol or glued to the broadcasts. Two other reports on digital outlets which I had questioned (in the comments) got it right while I got it wrong. For that most of all, I apologize. Continue reading

Which Side Are You On?

by Joe Fitzgerald 

Dartmouth’s basketball team voted this week to unionize. It’s a shame Harrisonburg’s police officers can’t.

The basketball players will join the SEIU, Service Employees International Union, a kind of super union for people who don’t qualify for other unions. SEIU strongly supports health care and a higher minimum wage, making it a strong supporter of Democratic candidates.

The five Democrats on Harrisonburg’s City Council say police can’t even talk to them about collective bargaining. It would be too expensive. This from a council that approved the pig-in-a-poke, bait-and-switch Bluestone Town Center and is spending money to make the city more homeless-friendly. Priorities, I suppose. Continue reading

Democrats Proposal to Cut Sentences Would Undermine Public Safety, AG Says

Jason Miyares

by Hans Bader

On February 27, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares sent a letter to Virginia state legislators about a Democratic proposal to allow some violent offenders to receive sentence reductions previously available only to non-violent offenders.

Miyares asked legislators to prevent the proposal, passed by the House of Delegates on February 22, from going into effect, by adopting Gov. Glenn Youngkin‘s proposed budget item 390(R)(2).

“Cutting sentences for violent crime, especially in cases identified as a high risk for recidivism, is having a detrimental impact on public safety throughout Virginia,” Miyares wrote in the letter. “Aggressive sentence reductions for violent criminals and those with high risk for recidivism disregards past and future victims. Allowing such a practice is not justice, and it’s not safe.” Continue reading

Virginia Budget Amendment Could Lead to Lawsuits Seeking Many Inmates’ Release

from Liberty Unyielding

On February 22, Virginia’s progressive House of Delegates removed language from the state’s proposed budget that limited early releases of inmates who committed both violent and non-violent offenses. It removed that language in a 53-to-44 vote, then passed the House’s version of the state budget by a 75-to-24 vote.

If the final state budget also lacks this language, it will be argued that the affected inmates are entitled to be released earlier, including at least 500 of them this year, and thousands more in the years to come. In 2023, the Virginia Mercury reported that 8,000 offenders in Virginia prisons are there for a combination of violent and non-violent offenses, and thus would be affected by this sort of provision.

This provision would allow the affected inmates to benefit from a 2020 law passed by Democrats that released many non-violent inmates earlier by dramatically expanding time off inmates’ sentences for avoiding major prison infractions and participating in prison programs. This time off is known as “earned sentence credits.” Affected inmates who previously received 4.5 days off their sentence for every 30 days they largely complied with prison rules instead got 15 days off . Effectively, this shrank their period of incarceration by nearly a quarter from what they otherwise would have served. Prisons have been emptied as a result: Virginia recently announced plans to close four state prisons in 2024.

Continue reading

What Is It with Democrats and Criminals?

by Kerry Dougherty

Elections have consequences.

And when Virginia voted last November to give Democrats a slim majority in the General Assembly they also voted to give almost 8,000 violent criminals a shot at getting back on the streets.

This ill-conceived measure – SB427 – is the evil brainchild of Sen. Creigh Deeds, who believes that juries and judges should be second-guessed once an inmate has served at least 25 years of his – it’s almost always a male – sentence.

News flash: any inmate who’s served that many years in prison is a bad dude. A murderer, a rapist or some other sort of vile reptile. These are not petty criminals or marijuana users.

(Deeds’ initial bill wanted to spring felons after 15 years behind bars, but he amended it.) Continue reading

Partisan Poison: Va Dems Quash a Bill to Protect School Kids

Del. A.C. Cordoza

by Kerry Dougherty 

How exactly is Virginia’s General Assembly celebrating Black History Month?

By killing a bill to protect children in public school lavatories, introduced by Del. A.C. Cordoza of Hampton.

Cordoza is an African-American. And a Republican. He was famously denied membership in the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus when he was elected in 2022.

Sadly, to the caucus, he’s not the right kind of Black man. Because his views are on the right.

Cordoza claims his bill that would require school personnel to check bathrooms every 30 minutes would not require added personnel nor would it cost taxpayers a dime.

It was tabled, he told the Virginia Mercury, because he’s a Republican.

While the proposed legislation was not expected to impact state spending, Cordoza said his bill was still forwarded from the House Education Committee to the House Appropriations Committee for review. It died in that committee without a hearing.

“It’s sent there to die,” said Cordoza, “to die quietly because they don’t want the world to know that they’re killing a bill to protect little girls in the bathroom, but they want to make sure that a Black Republican is not the one who does it.” said Del. A.C. Cordoza, R-Hampton.

It’s actually a practical suggestion, given that there have been a number of assaults in several school bathrooms, and perhaps some that have not been reported. Having an adult stick his or her head in the lavatory every 30 minutes would certainly discourage bullies and sex offenders. Continue reading

Progressive Legislators Declare “Profound Solidarity” with Criminals

from the Liberty Unyielding blog

Killings and violence have risen in the U.S. over the last decade, as some government officials have come to sympathize more with criminals than their victims. The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus recently said it is “in profound solidarity” with Virginia’s prison population, and that its members “work to dismantle the unjust criminal system.” They said the criminal-justice system has the “role of dehumanizing, abusing and punishing Black America.”

Thirty-two of Virginia’s 140 state legislators belong to the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, including the speaker of Virginia’s House of Delegates, Don Scott; the president pro tempore of the state Senate, Louise Lucas; the head of the House Appropriations Committee; and the head of the Senate Rules Committee.

On February 14, the VLBC issued a statement that began:

The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus (VLBC) remains in profound solidarity with the 122,500 Virginians who are actively trapped in our state’s criminal justice system, nearly half of whom are Black. When slavery was abolished by the 13th Amendment, it was qualified with “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” With that, mass incarceration was born and the criminal justice system absorbed the role of dehumanizing, abusing and punishing Black America. Continue reading