A businessman who currently has a multi-million dollar contract with the state had a lucky day in court last week when a Pittsylvania judge ruled the search that led to him being busted for marijuana was illegal, freeing him from the charges that could have ultimately landed him in jail for years. [Read more…]
The fear of crime is something that motivates people to lock their doors at night and to avoid eye contact on public transportation. But, according to Hampton Roads’ News Channel 3, much of that fear is misdirected. They cite a new study from the Pew Research Center that says gun violence is at its lowest in decades, and still falling. [Read more…]
Usually when there are accusations of excessive force, it’s the victim’s word against the officers’, and we know who usually wins. But when others are around to sound the alarm, such accusations get far more attention. One man’s struggle with Richmond and RRHA police is providing a perfect example. [Read more…]
One of the 812 bills that this year’s General Assembly sent to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was House Bill 1907. This proposed legislation would toughen the sanctions on those cited for texting while driving. A key provision changes the violation from a secondary offense to a primary one. Since texting while driving is currently a secondary offense, law enforcement cannot pull a motorist over for texting alone. Bill 1907 would upgrade the offense to “primary” status. [Read more…]
When something goes terribly wrong in an operating room and a life is needlessly lost, the legal system often faces the tough task of attaching monetary value to such a death. The sum that is calculated is often in the millions of dollars. [Read more…]
Marijuana laws are a hot topic right now. Voters want to hear about them. They want to know what their elected officials have to say about legalization. And while that’s true now more than ever, some politicians are still keeping quiet on the issue. [Read more…]
As police agencies across the country are using Homeland Security money to purchase drones for the use against civilians, one Virginia city has bucked the trend and put a two-year moratorium on the use of unmanned aircraft. Charlottesville is the first city in the nation to swear off the usually-military aircraft and they are hoping others will follow suit. [Read more…]
Go directly to jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Do such words sound familiar? Those famous phrases are emblazoned on the long-established board game of Monopoly.
Reckless At 10 mph Over The Limit
Recently, the speed limit was raised to 70 mph on certain Virginia highways, but the reckless driving standard remained set at 80 mph, just 10 mph higher. As defined, reckless driving is a class one misdemeanor that carries a maximum fine of $2500, six points, a six-month license suspension, and a year in jail.
Delegate Joseph D. Morrissey (D-Henrico) detected this oversight and promptly introduced legislation to keep such severe sanctions from applying until one is cited for going 20 mph over the speed limit. His effort was quickly killed by a subcommittee on January 9th, the very first day that the new General Assembly was in session.
Was money a factor? Well, that broadly-defined reckless driving law has become ‘big business’ in the Commonwealth. Reckless driving citations account for fully $29.5 million of the $238 million in annual traffic fine revenue generated in the state.
New taxes are anathema, particularly in Republican-controlled jurisdictions. The cowardly, indirect ‘tax’ called the ‘traffic fine’ is emerging as an increasingly significant way to meet those government obligations in lieu of either raising taxes or controlling spending.
Right Turn On Red
Based upon an already existing law in the neighboring state of Tennessee (Tenn. Code Sec.55-8-198(i)), Mr. Morrissey (D-Henrico) then tried to introduce legislation that prohibited camera citations unless there is a failure to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian, cyclist, or motorist during a right-hand turn. Delegate Morrissey appeared have supporting data on his side. Both the US DOT and the City of Los Angeles have studied the issue of rolling right turns, and they found little evidence of increased accidents.
Such information did not deter the House Committee on Science and Technology from quickly shutting down Mr. Morrissey’s radical attempt at common sense. The committee voted 18-4 against House Bill 1879.
Perhaps strategies this injurious to the Commonwealth should be kept to board games. ‘Monopoly’ is all about money. Perhaps the traffic laws in the state of Virginia are as well.
The Virginia House of Delegates’ message to municipalities is clear – keep those cameras rolling during right turns. Keep those automated tickets flowing, and keep the cash flowing as well.
What do you do when you believe someone is trying to break into your house? Call the police. And that’s exactly what 83-year old Delma Towler did when she suspected a burglary at her Altavista home late one night a few weeks ago. What happened when the officer responded was a tragic and disturbing incident that is still not fully explained. [Read more…]