The Suppressed Report on the UVa Murders

UVa Shooting Suspect Mug Shot

by James C. Sherlock

President James Ryan of the University of Virginia has decided to suppress the results of a written request that he and the Rector made to the Attorney General

…to conduct an independent review of the University’s response to the shooting, as well as the efforts the University undertook in the period before the tragedy to assess the potential threat Mr. Jones posed to our community.

The Attorney General’s administrative investigation is complete. President Ryan published a statement:

Making the report public at this time, or even releasing a summary of their findings and recommendations, could have an impact on the criminal trial of the accused, either by disrupting the case being prepared by the Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney, or by interfering with the defendant’s right to a fair trial before an impartial jury. [Emphasis added.]

The press reports indicate that announcement drew criticism.

I will add to it.

“Defendant’s right to a fair trial”? Really?

How about the University’s wish to suppress what must be a blockbuster of a report about University misfeasance prior to the murders?

What they did after the murders is irrelevant to the case against the defendant unless they conducted an illegal search or suppressed evidence. Did they do that?

Any way you look at it, the Attorney General’s report could only help the defendant and his lawyers. The judge will ensure they get it.

So, the hesitance is allegedly about the jury pool. Hard to see how it could further harm the defendant. The publicity in the case so far has made him public enemy number one in Charlottesville and Albemarle County.

Dr. Ryan, and attorney, failed to explain why, if publishing the Attorney General’s report “disrupts the case being prepared by the Commonwealth’s Attorney” or makes the jury pool somewhat less ready to convict, that is a bad thing. Right now the defendant is lucky the death penalty was abolished.

Let’s face facts. If the report exonerated the University, the public would already have it.

If “even a summary” of the facts in that report can disrupt the prosecution’s case, then that team needs to prepare a new one.

The Attorney General chartered the advisory investigation at the request of the University for its use, so we assume it is not his to release.

But why haven’t we heard from the Rector, who is the President’s employer and asked for the investigation? Where is the DEI Division when a black student needs them?

This report contains lessons of vital importance to the safety of the state college and university system and to Virginia taxpayers and parents. God help us if another institution makes the same mistakes that were made at Virginia while that report is suppressed.

The Rector should release it.