Justice System

Beards Behind Bars

Mar 10, 2014

A Virginia lawyer is on his way to the U.S. Supreme Court to defend the right of a man to grow a beard.  Seven states will be watching that case closely.  

Gregory Holt is serving a life sentence  for burglary and domestic battery in Arkansas – one of seven states that bar prisoners from growing a beard.  His lawyer says that’s a problem, because Holt is a Muslim.

Douglas Laycock, a professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Virginia.  He says Holt got all the way to the Supreme Court without the help of a lawyer:

More than 6,000 people in Virginia’s local and regional jails are mentally ill according to a new report from Virginia’s Inspector General, but they’re not getting adequate care. 

Sheriffs, who oversee those jails, are begging the legislature for help.

There are about 70 jails in Virginia housing 6,346 people with mental illness, and John Jones, director of the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association, says that can lead to dangerous situations.

The Marijuana Debate

Jan 12, 2014

A recent Gallup poll shows 58% of Americans favor legalizing marijuana.  Colorado and Washington  have done so, and Californians are expected to vote on the question this year.  So might the Commonwealth follow their lead? 

Virginia was once a major producer of tobacco, but today less than five percent of the world’s crop is grown in the U.S.   The state’s climate is favorable for growing marijuana, there’s plenty of water, and many rural areas might welcome an economic boost, but the political climate is something else.

One goal of outgoing Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is ensuring that there are advocates for domestic violence and human trafficking victims after he leaves office.  

One of Cuccinelli’s final acts as A-G is allocating millions of dollars for human trafficking victims.
Cuccinelli says while Virginia has made progress in finding, arresting, and increasing penalties for human traffickers, one of the system’s biggest holes is providing the victims with a sanctuary—a place to get back on their feet.

File Photo

Attorneys for former UVA lacrosse player George Huguely argued for a new trial before the Virginia Court of Appeals.

They are not discussing plans to possibly take his case to a higher court if a three-judge panel in Richmond fails to grant their client's request … following his conviction for the murder of former girlfriend Yeardley Love. 

Huguely attorney Paul Clement says his team is not overly confident, but the fact that the judges were asking probing questions is promising.