Susanna Gibson, Democratic nominee for the 57th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.
Republished with permission from the Liberty Unyielding blog.
“Susanna Gibson, a House candidate in Virginia, had sex with her husband in live videos posted online and asked viewers to pay them money in return,” notes USA Today. A recent video shows the Democratic candidate for Virginia’s House of Delegates doing sex acts. She allegedly also had sex with other people, not just her husband. Continue reading
by Hans Bader
The communist activist Angela Davis advocated abolishing prisons in the U.S., while supporting the incarceration of political prisoners in totalitarian communist regimes overseas. The ACLU of Virginia has touted Angela Davis’s stances in the past, such as in an April 4, 2022 tweet quoting Davis.
Now, the ACLU of Virginia has returned to promoting these extreme positions, in addition to new ones. In an August 7 post, the ACLU approvingly featured an image with the message “Abolish Prisons,” “Abolish White Supremacy,” and “No One Is Illegal On Stolen Land,” accompanied by a tweet agreeing with this sign, and saying “That’s right, NO ONE.”
We do not all live on stolen land, contrary to the claim made by some left-wingers. A great deal of land was voluntarily sold to settlers by Native Americans. Law professor Stuart Banner’s book How the Indians Lost Their Land explains this. Some land changed hands through “consensual transactions,” and other land through “violent conquest.”
Banner is a mainstream, well-respected academic at UCLA Law School who may have been surprised by what he discovered about the large scope of voluntary transfers of land from Native Americans to whites. But the large number of land sales by Native Americans makes sense because North America was a much emptier place after European diseases wiped out most of the Native American population, leaving many Native Americans with plenty of land even if they ceded some of it to white settlers.
The ACLU’s apparent call to “abolish prisons” is also misguided, because peer-reviewed academic studies show prisons prevent many violent crimes and property crimes. One such study is “The Incapacitation Effect of Incarceration: Evidence from Several Italian Collective Pardons,” which found that reducing incarceration increased the crime rate. This article was published in the American Economic Review, which is a peer-reviewed journal. Continue reading
by Hans Bader
Many colleges and progressives are claiming that Juneteenth — June 19, 1865 — was “the day slavery ended” in the U.S. But slavery actually remained legal in Kentucky and Delaware until December 6, 1865, the day the Thirteenth Amendment’s ban on slavery went into effect.
Yale University has a web site titled, “Juneteenth: Remembering the day slavery ended in the U.S.” Similarly, Bill Nye, the self-proclaimed “science guy,” claimed that “the last” slaves “were not freed (officially) until June 19, 1865.”
These claims are not true. As the London Daily Mail notes, the last slaves were not legally freed until six months later, when “the 13th Amendment fully prohibited the owning of slaves, spurring states such as Kentucky and Delaware – where it had still been legal – to cease the practice.” Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation only declared slaves free if they were held in areas that had been controlled by Confederate rebels, not in slave states that remained loyal to the union, such as Delaware and Kentucky.
by Hans Bader
The Virginia Senate has voted 24 to 15 to approve SB 842, the so-called “second look” bill. If it becomes law, inmates who have been in prison for 15 years or more could ask to be released, or ask for a reduction in their sentences. Originally, the bill applied to inmates of all types, but it was amended in the Senate Finance Committee to exclude first-degree murderers. Inmates released under second look legislation tend to be murderers (such as second-degree and first-degree murderers), although Oregon’s second look law excludes a few “aggravated” murders.
In 2022, the Democratic-controlled Virginia Senate passed an earlier version of the second look bill by a 25 to 15 vote, but it then died in a subcommittee of the Republican-controlled House of Delegates. That earlier bill was broader than this year’s bill in one way (it did not exclude even first-degree murderers such as serial killers) but narrower in another respect (it required inmates to meet specified “behavioral standards” in prison be released, which is not true of SB 842).
This bill faces an uncertain future in the House of Delegates. On the one hand, the bill is supported by many well-funded progressive interest groups with multi-million-dollar budgets, such as the ACLU, and supporters of the bill have massively out-lobbied opponents of the bill. On the other hand, it is opposed by the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys, which most House Republicans pay attention to. And most Republicans already oppose the bill. Continue reading
by Hans Bader
Do all inmates deserve a chance for release? Even a serial killer, or a serial rapist who has been locked up and released before?
They may soon have that chance in Virginia. In the state Senate, the Judiciary Committee has just approved the Second Look bill, SB 842. It would allow offenders of all kinds to file petitions for release or modification of their sentences after they’ve served 15 years. Judges wouldn’t have to grant the petitions, but they could if they think an inmate has mended his ways.
Under the bill, an inmate could be released despite any “combination of any convictions” such as being convicted of both murders and rapes. The bill was approved in an 8-to-6 vote largely along party lines, over conservative opposition.
Supporters of the bill argue that “everyone deserves a second chance.” But to critics, the bill goes beyond giving offenders a second chance, because it gives even the most persistent re-offenders the opportunity to seek release — people who already had and squandered a “second chance.” As an objector noted, “most inmates doing more than 15 years have already had their second, third, fourth, and fifth chances — the typical released state prison inmate has five prior convictions, according to Rafael Mangual, who studies the criminal-justice system at the Manhattan Institute.” Continue reading
by Hans Bader
In Virginia’s legislature, rent-control legislation has been introduced by five Democratic delegates and a Democratic state senator. Economists oppose rent control because it makes it more difficult for people to find decent housing in the long run. In a 1992 poll, 93% of those surveyed said rent control reduces the quantity and quality of housing available.
But Democrat-run Loudoun County is now asking the Virginia legislature for the power to impose rent control. DC News Now reported in December that “New policies could soon be introduced in Richmond at the request of Loudoun County. One would place a limit on rent increases.”
This is surprising, because even left-leaning economists mostly think rent control is stupid, as expressed by Swedish economics professor Assar Lindbeck. He said, “Rent control appears to be the most efficient technique presently known to destroy a city — except for bombing.”
In 1989, Vietnam’s socialist leaders reluctantly admitted that their policy of rent control had destroyed the housing stock of Vietnam’s capital city, which had been sturdy enough to survive years of American bombing during the Vietnam War. Vietnam’s foreign minister said, “The Americans couldn’t destroy Hanoi, but we have destroyed our city by very low rents. We realized it was stupid and that we must change policy.”
Yet State Senator Jennifer Boysko, who represents Virginia’s Loudoun County, has introduced SB 1278, a rent-control bill. It would allow cities and counties to adopt rent control ordinances, under which rent increases would be limited to inflation or less. Her legislation states that such ordinances “shall prohibit any increase in the rent by such landlord of more than” the “percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index,” and “may allow rent increases … by an amount not to exceed” that inflation rate. The same bill has been introduced in the Virginia House of Delegates by Democratic socialist Nadarius Clark and four other Democrats, as HB 1532. Continue reading
In 2022, legislation allowing inmates to seek a reduction in their sentence after 15 years in prison passed the Virginia state Senate, but died in a 5-to-3 vote in a House subcommittee after a lobbyist for the bill boasted it would empty two entire Virginia prisons. The bill, SB 378, was viewed by House Republicans and many prosecutors as too radical. It was criticized because, unlike other early-release bills, it did not exclude from release even inmates who committed the most violent offenses, such as serial killings and aggravated murders (Class 1 felonies).
In 2023, this bill has been introduced again, as SB 842. It is still known as the “second-look” bill. But this time, even safeguards found in the original legislation, such as that inmates exhibit mostly good behavior in prison before being released, have been removed — inmates no longer need to meet such “behavioral standards” to be released.
The new bill also allows violent criminals to be released without a formal finding that they are no longer a danger to the victim or the victim’s family, or to the community. Such findings are required as a safeguard by “second-look” laws in other jurisdictions, such as the District of Columbia. Washington, DC’s municipal second-look law requires a finding “that the defendant is not a danger to the safety of any person or the community” before a sentence can be reduced. (See D.C. Code § 24-403.03(a)(2)). But no such finding is required under the Virginia second-look legislation just introduced. Unlike Oregon’s second-look legislation, which does not allow killers who committed “aggravated murder” to be released, the Virginia second-look legislation would allow petitions for sentence reductions by inmates of all kinds, including serial killers, child-killers, and cop-killers. Continue reading
by Hans Spader
Students vary widely in intelligence and willingness to work hard. Why would anyone expect “equal outcomes for every student, without exception”? But that’s what educational consultants paid for by Virginia’s largest school district expect. The consultants were hired by Fairfax County Public Schools, which have 180,000 students.
Their goal is to “produce equal outcomes for every student, without exception,” reports The College Fix:
Virginia’s Fairfax County Public Schools reportedly paid almost half a million dollars to a firm whose “Equity Imperative” is that all students’ academic performance result in equal outcomes. Documents obtained by Asra Nomani show the district paid $455,000 to Oakland, California’s Performance Fact to “analyze student data to identify trends and recommendations in support of the development of strategic goals,” among (many) other things. It also “facilitated” school board “work sessions/retreats” which allegedly were “focused on the development of the [district] strategic plan.”
The September 20, 2022 retreat was led by company CEO Mutiu Fagbayi. … A PowerPoint for the retreat titled “Equity-centered Strategic Planning” is, like many diversity/equity/inclusion (DEI) documents, full of flowery, yet vacuous, academic lingo. It includes the typical comparison between equality (“resources and supports are distributed evenly, irrespective of individual needs or assets”) and equity (“incorporates the idea of need; distribution of resources and supports is purposefully unequal”)….Then there’s that “Equity Imperative” which is “equitable access to resources and opportunities that guarantee fair, just, and affirming experiences and produce equal outcomes for every student, without exception” (emphasis added).
Motor Vehicle Thefts in Virginia. Source: Crime in Virginia reports, 2017 through 2021.
by Hans Bader
Carjackings — especially carjackings by teens — have spiked in cities across the country over the past two years. NewsNation describes the “nationwide rise in carjackings”:
A pastor gunned down in a carjacking outside her home in Memphis. A thief runs up a driveway with a weapon drawn in New Orleans. An Atlanta mother of three, tossed out of her car and run over with it — all captured on her own Ring camera…Over the last two years, there has been a noticeable uptick in carjackings nationwide…
Chicago — a city with 40 cops on a carjacking task force —had more than 1,900 last year. That number is the most in the country and the most in the Windy City in decades…
And some of the perpetrators are shockingly young.
The pastor killed in Memphis was shot by a 15-year-old. In D.C, a 14-year-old was arrested for jacking six vehicles and trying to take a seventh.
by Hans Bader
Voting along party lines, a legislative committee in Virginia’s Republican-controlled House of Delegates voted 5-to-3 yesterday to kill a bill that would have allowed a large proportion of the state’s murderers to seek release from prison.
The bill, SB 378, would have allowed Virginia prison inmates to seek release from prison after 10 or 15 years if they hadn’t committed a specified “disciplinary offense” in the preceding five years, or if a soft-on-crime prosecutor or judge waived such “behavioral standards.” Progressives argued that the bill should be approved because everybody deserves a second chance. Conservatives opposed the bill, saying that it would increase the crime rate and reopen old wounds for crime victims. The Democratic-controlled state senate had passed the bill on February 15. Continue reading
by Hans Bader
Supporters of releasing criminals from prison make misleading claims. They say criminals age out of crime, and usually don’t return to crime after being released from prison. But a recent report of the U.S. Sentencing Commission shows how misleading these claims are, chronicling how most violent offenders return to violent crime after being released.
On February 10, the Commission issued a 116-page report titled “Recidivism of Federal Violent Offenders Released in 2010.” Over an eight-year period, violent offenders returned to violent crime at a 63.8% rate. The median time to rearrest was 16 months for these violent offenders. So, most violent offenders released from prison committed more violent crimes. Even among those offenders over age 60, 25.1% of violent offenders were rearrested for violent crimes.
Supporters of cutting sentences for violent offenders claim otherwise, even advocating that serial killers be eligible for release after 10 or 15 years. The ACLU of Virginia claims that “most people ‘age out’ of crime. By the time a person has been incarcerated for 10-15 years … they have matured significantly” and likely are safe to release. Similarly, the Virginia Grassroots Coalition claims that keeping violent offenders in prison for many years doesn’t “make us safer” because “violent crime is strongly correlated with youth.” And Families Against Mandatory Minimums claims that “long sentences” are not “necessary to keep us safe.” Continue reading
by Hans Bader
The District of Columbia has a violent crime rate that is five times Virginia’s. In 2018, the violent crime rate was 995.9 per 100,000 inhabitants in Washington, D.C., compared to only 200 per 100,000 in Virginia.
Yet some politicians want to make Virginia more like the District of Columbia. A bipartisan bill would give Virginia a more extreme version of one of Washington D.C.’s most controversial pro-crime policies: “second look” legislation. A second-look law lets judges cut sentences for criminals, or release them, after they have served 10 or 15 years — no matter how serious the crime they committed. Even if a criminal has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering several people, he can be let out after 10 or 15 years if he files a petition seeking release, and convinces the judge that he has been rehabilitated.
The Virginia bill would let inmates who have committed even the most violent crimes such as murder seek release after ten years in prison if they committed the crime before age 25, or after 15 years in prison if they committed their crime after turning 25. By contrast, Washington, D.C.’s law allows only people who committed their crimes at under age 25 to seek release, after they have served 15 years in prison. Continue reading
by Hans Bader
State Senator Joe Morrissey, D-Richmond, has proposed legislation to make parole available to even the most violent offenders, including those who were given shorter sentences due to the lack of existence of parole at the time they were sentenced. The proposal includes a bill to make parole available to all types of offenders at all ages (SB 112), a bill to make parole available to all offenders who committed crimes as juveniles (SB 110), and a bill to make parole available for people who committed crimes before age 21 (SB 109).
Legislation making parole available to offenders of all ages was proposed but not approved in 2021. It might pass the Democratic-controlled Virginia Senate this year, but is very likely to die in the Republican-controlled House of Delegates. So SB 112 is likely to die.
Senator Morrissey’s other bills, aimed at paroling more youthful offenders, have better prospects for passage, but still have a good chance of being defeated. Continue reading
by Hans Bader
My school system in Arlington County is needlessly closing today. Supposedly, the reason is the “weather,” but the school system admits that actually, “the primary and neighborhood roads in Arlington are clear and our schools are ready.” Why then, are they closing? Because some teachers have kids, and some of those teachers complain they are having difficulty finding decent childcare options for those kids! As the lawyer Clark Neily notes, “they’re going to go ahead and pass that inconvenience on to us — while billing us for the privilege, of course.”
This is the same school system that is considering getting rid of grades on homework and allowing constant lateness and retakes on work. The school system claims that is about promoting “equity,” but eliminating grading also reduces work for the teachers, which may be something their union wants (on the other hand, allowing retakes is probably something teachers don’t want).
As I explain at this link, abolishing grades for homework will result in students studying less and learning less. The Arlington school board can be reached by email (at email@example.com).
Below is the Arlington Public Schools school closure notice: Continue reading
by Hans Bader
Students learn less if they don’t do their homework. And many of them won’t do their homework if they aren’t graded on it. But in the name of “equity,” the Arlington County Public Schools are likely to abolish grades for homework, which will result in students studying and learning less. Arlington is also considering letting students have “unlimited redoes and retakes on” assignments they fail, reports ABC Channel 7.
The Washington Post’s Jay Mathews discusses these proposed changes in his column, “Abolishing grades on homework will hurt the neediest kids”: Continue reading