Virginia Right! News from Virginia, the US and the World 2018-04-22T00:58:27Z http://www.varight.com/feed/atom/ WordPress Elwood "Sandy" Sanders http://www.varight.com <![CDATA[Trump Should Pardon Jack Johnson – and Everybody Else Convicted Under the Mann Act Who Were Not Pimps or Traveled With an Underage Partner]]> http://www.varight.com/?p=28329 2018-04-22T00:58:27Z 2018-04-22T00:58:26Z Let’s go back in Dr. Emmet Brown’s DeLorean to say 1985 and let’s suppose that there was a doppleganger Sandy Sanders – the unholy twin of a certain future blogger (I got nowhere trying to convince the other Sandy not to do it or that Donald J. Trump was the President of the US in 2018!) and this unholy fellow actually talked an attractive and sexy girl to go out with him (This is obviously not me!) and travel to DC or Nags Head for a weekend tryst from Richmond!

GUESS WHAT?  The doppelganger Sandy Sanders just committed a federal felony! (The Mann Act was amended in 1986 essentially to exclude non-commercial travel like this.)

He violated the Mann Act – an act designed to prevent human trafficking enacted in 1910 and within a few years interpreted by the Supreme Court in this case (Caminetti v. US) to include consensual non-commercial trysts across state lines.

It is contended that the act of Congress is intended to reach only “commercialized vice,” or the traffic in women for gain, and that the conduct for which the several petitioners were indicted and convicted, however reprehensible in morals, is not within the purview of the statute when properly construed in the light of its history and the purposes intended to be accomplished by its enactment. In none of the cases was it charged or proved that the transportation was for gain or for the purpose of furnishing women for prostitution for hire, and it is insisted that, such being the case, the acts charged and proved, upon which conviction was had, do not come within the statute.

I thought this case was outrageous when I learned about it in law school and it gets no better now.

So when I read that President Trump ought to pardon the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson (I blogged on this before but it must have been at Conflicted Libertarian, my old blog) I say YES!  Here is the story from the Hill:

“Sylvester Stallone called me with the story of heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson. His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial,” Trump tweeted.

“Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!” he continued.

But I would not stop there:  I would find out every case where people were prosecuted for non-commercial, consensual sex with adults (18 or over) where the couple crossed state lines to accomplish its goal and pardon them too:

Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion, was among the first to be charged under the act. In 1913, he was accused of ostensibly transporting a prostitute from Pittsburgh to Chicago. Johnson was convicted and given the maximum sentence: one year and one day. Critics, however, believe that Johnson’s case was racially motivated — the “prostitute” was his white girlfriend.

In 1944, Charlie Chaplin was prosecuted under the Mann Act in a case stemming from a paternity suit involving the actress Joan Barry. Some believe the case was motivated by Chaplin’s left-of-center political views. He was ultimately acquitted, but his image in the U.S. never fully recovered.

Some of my more radical libertarian friends might say go further – as prostitution is a victimless crime or so they say – but I am not ready to go there.  And if the woman or man is a minor, that should not receive a pardon.

But President Trump should grant pardons for all those adults convicted under the Mann Act subject to the conditions stated above.  Invite inquiries and have Special White House Counsel appointed to handle all the applications.  Several lawyers around the country can do it; some might do it pro bono (free).  Maybe start with Farley Drew Caminetti and Maury I. Diggs – if they meet the Sanders criteria (I am not sure the women taken by Diggs and Caminetti were 18 or over).


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders ]]>
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Elwood "Sandy" Sanders http://www.varight.com <![CDATA[Another Snarky Tweet Quoting the Washington Post From Delegate Chris Peace]]> http://www.varight.com/?p=28326 2018-04-11T23:43:54Z 2018-04-11T23:43:54Z It was bad enough several weeks ago to see Del. Chris Peace cite the Washington Post on Medicaid expansion that seemed to say Virginia did not spend enough on Medicaid and that this failure was shameful.

But Del. Peace did it again:

Watch this, America. A state may be about to do something sensible, bipartisan and even humanitarian to take care of its people.

Here is the tweet:

Hey it worked!  Even my tarantula 20th century stone tablet style of blogging did it the first time!

Seriously, I can tell you I am tired of these Kasich-style tweets that cite the Post (I am not sure I’d cite the Post that the Bible is true!  Rest assured that is not likely…) and here is an example from CNN:

“That is a very, very bad idea, because we cannot turn our back on the most vulnerable,” Kasich said
“We can give them the coverage, reform the program, save some money, and make sure that we live in a country where people are going to say, ‘at least somebody’s looking out for me,'” he said. “It’s not a giveaway program — it’s one that addresses the basic needs of people in our country.”
Not a giveaway program?  But here is National Review’s take on the Ohio program:

Kasich initially projected that 447,000 Ohioans would sign up for the Medicaid expansion by 2020. The $13 billion this would cost, he said, would be “Ohio money” he was “bringing back” to the state, warning that other states would get Ohio’s share of Medicaid-expansion money if Ohio refused it. The Congressional Research Service and Congressional Budget Office have both debunked this claim; Obamacare provided an open-ended promise of new spending for states that expanded Medicaid, not a predefined pool of expansion funding. Kasich also promised to end the expansion if costs got out of hand.

Ohio’s Medicaid-expansion enrollment was 720,000 in fiscal year 2017, at an average cost of $437 million per month. Since January 2014, the expansion has cost state and federal taxpayers a total of $14.9 billion. Because Kasich so dramatically underestimated enrollment, state costs have already doubled his projections. Federal spending on Ohio’s Medicaid program (including traditional and expansion enrollees) increased by 48 percent from 2013 to this year, while state spending increased by 14 percent.

Usual government welfare program – more people, more costs and less goodies from DC.  (Of course we borrow from China to pay for it!)  The Ohio legislature actually repealed their Medicaid expansion and of course Kasich vetoed it!

Ohio’s Republican-controlled legislature voted on Wednesday to freeze enrollment in the state’s Medicaid healthcare insurance for the poor, setting the stage for a showdown with Republican Governor John Kasich, who favors expanding the program.

The proposed Medicaid freeze, which would deny coverage to hundreds of thousands of Ohio residents who lack job-related health insurance and cannot afford to purchase their own, was adopted as part of a $65 billion two-year budget plan.

The measure, approved by mostly party-line votes in both chambers of the state Legislature, would prohibit enrollment of new Medicaid recipients, or re-enrollment of lapsed beneficiaries, after July 2018.

Finally, before we leave the Governor Kasich issue, let’s note who endorsed the Ohio governor for President in 2016:  Delegate Chris Peace (emphasis added):

Joining Davis on the leadership team is his wife, former Senator Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis, and statewide co-chairs Sen. Emmett Hanger, Del. Glenn Davis, Del. Chris Peace, and Del. Ron Villanueva.

Here’s something else Delegate Peace supported:  GO Virginia Grants.

What is a GO Virginia Grant?  It is goodies given out (your and mine money of course) through regional entities that use tax payer money (state and matching local money too) for new business incubators etc.  Here is the third round of grants:

2018 Round 3 Regional Per Capita Grant Awards

GO VA Region and Localities within region involved in project award Project Name GO VA     Per Capita Award
Project Description
Region 1: Cities of Bristol and Norton and the counties of Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Galax, Giles, Grayson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise and Wythe. United Way of Southwest Virginia: Ignite Internships $250,000 The project will expand the Ignite Program throughout the region and will collaboratively align school curriculums with local employer needs. United Way of Southwest Virginia will build a web‐based platform to deliver activities that will encourage post‐secondary education and streamlined workforce credentialing, provide work‐based learning opportunities and match new graduates with local employers.
Region 2: Alleghany County and the city of Covington Enhancing the Region through New Technology for Unmanned Systems $76,000 The project will implement a new drone technology training program at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College to capitalize on the Alleghany Highlands Drone Zone Initiative surrounding the development of unmanned systems facilities in the region. This new program will establish a career pathway beginning with project‐based learning opportunities for high school students and extending to four-year degree attainment through partnerships with other higher-education institutions.
Region 2: Counties of Bedford and Campbell, and the city of Lynchburg. Center for Energy Research and Education (CERE) Industry Labs $300,000 The project will create a Center for Energy Research and Education (CERE) Industry Labs at Liberty University that is connected to local and regional economic development efforts. These labs will offer regional companies and institutions of higher education the facilities necessary to promote research and development as well as to foster the attraction and retention of the scientific and engineering workforce.
Region 2: Cities of Lynchburg, Roanoke and Salem, counties of Roanoke and Montgomery and the towns of Blacksburg. Washington, Wise, and Wythe. Regional Acceleration and Mentorship Program (RAMP) Expansion $244,300 The project enhances and expands the reach of the Regional Acceleration and Mentorship Program (RAMP), a partnership between RBTC, the city of Roanoke and the Virginia Western Community College, which offers technology‐based startups access to classroom education, mentoring and assistance in identifying capital.
Region 9: Counties of Culpeper and Fauquier. GWC Piedmont Technical Education Center $245,000 The proposed project will redevelop the former George Washington Carver High School into the state-of-the-art GWC Piedmont Technical Education Center to train machinists and welders. New Pathways Tech Inc. will operate the facility in partnership with Germanna Community College and the American Institute of Welding to train machinists and welders for the region’s advanced manufacturing industry.
  Total $1,115,300.00  

                                                         

Remember the Tip of the Iceberg corollary to Sandy’s First Law when you read this from the Governor’s email:

Local governments have committed nearly $800,000 toward the five projects.

Sounds like the bike race all over again.  I also do not like the regional aspect to it.  Too much like the Agenda 21 laden regional planning districts.  Guess who voted for this monstrosity?  (In fairness, almost everybody else did too!)  Of course, Delegate Chris Peace!

Here is the list with emphasis added.  (This is HB 834 [2016 Session] not SB 449 that Peace did not cast a vote on for some reason):

HB 834 Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board and Fund; established, report.

floor: 04/20/16  House: VOTE: PASSAGE (90-Y 10-N)


YEAS–Adams, Aird, Albo, Anderson, Austin, Bagby, Bell, John J., Bloxom, Boysko, Bulova, Byron, Campbell, Carr, Collins, Cox, Davis, Dudenhefer, Edmunds, Fariss, Farrell, Filler-Corn, Fowler, Garrett, Gilbert, Greason, Head, Helsel, Heretick, Herring, Hester, Hodges, Hope, Hugo, Ingram, James, Jones, Keam, Kilgore, Knight, Kory, Krizek, Landes, LaRock, Leftwich, LeMunyon, Levine, Lindsey, Lingamfelter, Lopez, Loupassi, Marshall, D.W., Mason, Massie, McClellan, McQuinn, Miller, Minchew, Miyares, Morefield, Murphy, O’Bannon, O’Quinn, Orrock, Peace, Pillion, Plum, Pogge, Poindexter, Price, Ransone, Rasoul, Robinson, Rush, Sickles, Simon, Spruill, Stolle, Sullivan, Taylor, Torian, Toscano, Tyler, Villanueva, Ward, Watts, Wilt, Wright, Yancey, Yost, Mr. Speaker–90.

NAYS–Bell, Richard P., Bell, Robert B., Cline, Cole, Freitas, Habeeb, Marshall, R.G., Morris, Ware, Webert–10.

Only ten brave souls said NO.  I would have been 11.  This is picking winners and losers.  Let the market handle it.

It’s time:  We need a Dave Brat.  Where is the Dave Brat in the 97th?

 

 


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders ]]>
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Elwood "Sandy" Sanders http://www.varight.com <![CDATA[Irony Alert: Scotland Wants to Shield Legally Catalan Expat Wanted By Spain For Seeking Independence BUT EU Arrest Warrant is Mode of Extradition!]]> http://www.varight.com/?p=28321 2018-04-05T12:10:05Z 2018-04-05T12:10:05Z The National, Scotland’s leading pro-independence newspaper, which I recommend for your reading pleasure (although they are anti-Tory and UKIP) has this report on Spain’s attempt to extradite academic Clara Ponsati to stand trial for crimes involving the attempt of the Catalan government to seek peaceful independence:

THE sneering response last week of the UK’s Unionist parties to the plight of the Catalan academic Clara Ponsati was instructive. The 61-year-old, a professor of economics at St Andrews University, is wanted by the Spanish regime for organising a violent rebellion and misappropriating public funds when she agreed to help her native Catalonia establish an independent government.

The European Arrest Warrant issued by Madrid has been met by fierce resistance in Ponsati’s adopted country of Scotland. A crowd-funding campaign to help with her legal fees reached almost £230,000 in a matter of days, and the Spanish Government faces months of resistance in Scottish courts before it can drag her back to its capital to face its own version of criminal justice.

Remember the Scotland legal system is still part of the UK legal system and that legal system is still bound to EU law – including the European Arrest Warrant.

Legal sources connected to the case, both in Scotland and in Spain, have indicated that Madrid has been caught off guard by the wave of support here for Professor Ponsati. It seems that the Spanish Government simply assumed that the European Arrest Warrant would be waved through unopposed in an English court and with the full approval of the Westminster Government.

But Prof. Ponsati is represented by a leading human rights lawyer, who is assembling his legal team who will probably try Spain in the courts for human rights violations in denying Catalonia a legal path to self-determination (which should be the US position!):

Ponsati is being represented by Aamer Anwar, one of the UK’s top human rights lawyers, who is in the process of assembling a crack legal team in Scotland, London, Barcelona and Madrid. Last week he told me: “I suspect Spain was unaware of the difference in legal systems and political approach that would be adopted in Scotland and believed they could rely upon the unconditional support of the Westminster Government.

Mr. Anwar, I’d give up running against Chris Peace in the primary for delegate (which I am not doing at this time) to be on your legal team!  Just reach out to Tom White at this blog!  It is right for every people group to have self-determination.

But the irony is that Scotland, as a member of the European Union, might have to turn Clara Ponsati to Spain for a show trial.  But a truly independent Scotland, not an EU member, would make its own legal and political decisions.

 

 


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders ]]>
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Elwood "Sandy" Sanders http://www.varight.com <![CDATA[Another Hero This Week: Assistant Public Defender Armon Pollack!]]> http://www.varight.com/?p=28320 2018-04-04T23:24:08Z 2018-04-04T23:24:08Z I am sure this suspect is glad that Norfolk has a Public Defender office!

He’d already pleaded guilty to a felony. Then his lawyer discovered it wasn’t a crime.

Here’s the story from the Virginian-Pilot and a few highlights (with my analysis):

Cordell Davis can thank two things for saving him from a felony conviction that could have ultimately sent him to prison for years: his new lawyer’s sharp eye and a box cutter.

Davis, 52, had already pleaded guilty to the charge – being a felon in possession of a weapon – when assistant public defender Armon “A.J.” Pollack took over his case ahead of a sentencing hearing scheduled for last week.

it is not clear who the first lawyer was and let’s leave it in the past; the weapon law is arcane and this could happen to any lawyer.  I tried to win a case in Prince William County once (and maybe I did – or got a better deal) on the issue of a “dirk” as a weapon.  But this was not a ceremonial dagger, but rather a…box cutter.

That’s when Pollack came in.

His key discovery: a 2007 state Supreme Court opinion seemingly tailor-made for the Davis case.

***

That same razor blade would have counted as a weapon if it had been free floating in Davis’ pocket, jury-rigged into a shiv, or in another setup where the blade was exposed. But when a blade is able to retract into a device like a box cutter or utility knife, it’s legal for anyone to carry – including a felon.  (emphasis added by blogger)

Keep in mind, I am sure Assistant Public Defender Pollack was able to not just research the law but maybe ask a colleague or two in the PD office in Norfolk, since all they do is practice criminal law and procedure (and the Commonwealth’s Attorneys and their assistants do too unless they are in a small county or city where the CA is part-time) so that institutional advantage the public defender office will have.

Or maybe Pollack got training on issues like this through the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission and was ready to examine this “conviction” in a different light.

So what happened, Sanders?  Did a guilty defendant get off again?

No.  The suspect beat the felony rap because it WAS NOT A CRIME!  And only served four months on two misdemeanors!

In the Davis case, Pollack relayed his finding to the prosecutor in the case, who agreed with his analysis. In his Norfolk courtroom Friday, so did Circuit Judge David Lannetti.

The lawyers refashioned the plea agreement: This time, Davis pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and marijuana possession, both misdemeanors.

Thanks to a dedicated public defender, justice was truly done in a Norfolk courtroom.  We need public defenders in every courtroom in the Commonwealth.  Thanks also to a reporter with a very famous name, Jonathan Edwards, at the Pilot.

 

 


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders ]]>
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Tom White http://varight.com <![CDATA[Delegate Chris Peace Unfriends Anyone Critical of him on Facebook – NO MEDICAID EXPANSION!!!]]> http://www.varight.com/?p=28318 2018-04-03T13:22:22Z 2018-04-03T13:22:22Z

So Delegate Chris Peace is pushing for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion in the Virginia General Assembly. As Obamacare is in it’s death spiral along with all the money that comes with it to entice states into expanding this welfare entitlement, Peace has decided it is time Virginia grab some of that money. But never fear, Peace touts a “kill switch” that will kick people off of the entitlement if the money goes away.

We all know that is never going to happen. Ronald Reagan said “… a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!” And the Chris Peace Welfare Expansion Team has a plan to force Virginian’s, many of whom are struggling to pay for their own health insurance, to pay for insurance for others through Medicaid expansion.

So what happens when you criticize him on his Facebook page for this Obamacare expansion? He deletes you. And it was immediate. Couldn’t have opinions that run counter to his RINO narrative floating around out there. Crybaby Chris just eliminates all negative opinions from his page. I have heard others say they were removed from his page after daring to disagree with him, heaven forbid he actually have to defend his position to anyone he represents. But I will admit it is hard to defend the indefensible.

So being well aware of his track record, I did a screen capture of the post before he deleted it.

So the 97th District is represented by a person that refuses to engage with his voters (I live in the 97th district) on an issue that will – without a doubt – cause a massive tax hike to cover the Peace Medicaid expansion when the Federal money runs out.

But never fear, the Peace Plan will activate a “kill switch” that will delete Medicaid recipients as fast as Peace deletes dissenters on Facebook. Just like phasing out the Car Tax and using Lottery proceeds for School Funding.

Like everything else, the kill switch is a farce too.

It is time for Peace to be retired. Politicians are like babies. They need to be changed often or they begin to smell bad. Peace needs to go. Most people know he has never been a Conservative, just a Liberal trying to get reelected in a Conservative district. But now his true colors are showing.

It is time for the TEA Party to plaster the landscape with signs informing the public what Peace is actually doing while pretending to be a Conservative. Lord knows you won’t read about it on his Facebook page.

We will have an opportunity to vote this Liberal out of office next year. The 97th District deserves better!

 


Article written by: Tom White ]]>
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Elwood "Sandy" Sanders http://www.varight.com <![CDATA[DID Delegate Peace Come Out for the Mandatory Individual Mandate? Sure Seems That Way…]]> http://www.varight.com/?p=28312 2018-04-03T11:50:25Z 2018-04-03T11:37:01Z

Delegate Chris Peace today (4/2/18) twitted or whatever this message:

Yes, our delegate is now, according to Governing magazine, a leader in the fight for Medicaid expansion in Virginia.  Here are some highlights from the Governing article:

“The Trump administration has shown a real willingness to work with us and allow us to come up with our own solutions. This could turn into a movement for states,” says Utah state Rep. Robert Spendlove, who sponsored a Medicaid expansion bill.

***

Like Utah, Virginia’s GOP-controlled Legislature had stalled the governor’s hopes of expanding Medicaid for years. But with the option to add more conservative elements, Republicans are now actively supporting it.

Chris Peace, a Republican delegate in the Virginia House who supports expansion but didn’t under the rules of the Obama administration, says these new developments give lawmakers more freedom to practice “compassionate conservatism.”

As for our delegate, here we have perhaps heading toward the heart of the matter:  The old Bushian slogan:  Compassionate Conservatism. Can’t make this stuff up!

We know what Compassionate Conservatism got us – endless wars, Medicare part D, too much loss of liberty, globalism, condescending speeches….  I gave up on President Bush when I discovered Ronulus Magnus II (Ron Paul) and kept my speech fast (except for Obama’s first inaugural and the bin Laden capture) pretty much up through the Obama years!  Our present Chief Executive gives great speeches!

But it gets worse:

Although Republicans have been a roadblock to the ACA, Virginia’s Peace notes that the idea that everyone should have some form of health coverage was actually a conservative idea decades ago.

“We don’t want to rewrite history here. These programs were written by the Heritage Foundation, with Mitt Romney pioneering it in Massachusetts. So in a sense,” he says, “we’re going back to our roots.”

So Delegate Peace FAVORS the individual mandate?  Please say this was another late night interview and you were tired.  Please?

I doubt it.  Maybe we need a Dave Brat in the 97th for 2019.


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders ]]>
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Elwood "Sandy" Sanders http://www.varight.com <![CDATA[Go To THIS FB Page and Answer Del. Peace’s Comment on Medicaid Expansion!]]> http://www.varight.com/?p=28314 2018-04-03T02:16:21Z 2018-04-03T02:16:21Z Here is a link to a FB page that Del. Chris Peace calling for comments on Medicaid Expansion.

Now, BE NICE!  But let the delegate know how you feel.  Strongly prefer stick to constituents of the 97th district (eastern Hanover, all of New Kent and most of King William counties) to answer this posting.

Here’s my answer:

I am opposed to Medicaid expansion because I believe it will be like many other government programs (including KinGAP, too!) exceed projections and cannot be taken back once set up. Please renounce the House plan and support the Senate one. Let the Dems own this issue.

Let’s tell it!

 

 

 


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders ]]>
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Elwood "Sandy" Sanders http://www.varight.com <![CDATA[Happy Easter! JESUS is Risen! And you will be risen too! But some might not like that…]]> http://www.varight.com/?p=28311 2018-03-31T20:55:57Z 2018-03-31T20:55:57Z
Happy Easter! Jesus is RISEN!
And each of us will rise from the dead too:
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
John 5:28-29 (KJV)
Not everybody will like the results! But the GOOD NEWS is all can receive Jesus as Lord and Savior today – right now! Here is a place to go to find out more!

Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders ]]>
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Elwood "Sandy" Sanders http://www.varight.com <![CDATA[My NEW Hero: Drew Willey! This NYTimes Article Illustrates Need for Statewide Public Defender System!]]> http://www.varight.com/?p=28310 2018-03-31T15:07:05Z 2018-03-31T15:07:05Z Galveston attorney Drew Willey is my new hero:

A criminal defense lawyer in Galveston, Tex., says he was pulled off cases defending poor clients because he spent too much time on them and requested funds to have their charges investigated.

Needless to say, his clients were not the ones complaining. Instead, it was the judge, Jack Ewing, who appoints lawyers for those in his courtroom who cannot afford them.

“You overwork cases,” Judge Ewing told the lawyer, Drew Willey, according to excerpts from a recorded conversation cited in the lawsuit.

I rarely cite the NYTimes.  It is only one or two steps higher than the Washington Post or CNN or MSNBC.  But once in a while there is a solid article there.  And here’s the one for me:

His Clients Weren’t Complaining. But the Judge Said This Lawyer Worked Too Hard.

This group, the Civil Rights Corps has an intriguing case.  One of the allegations is that the judge resented so much Willey’s defense efforts that he refused to appoint him to indigent clients:

But according to the lawsuit, Judge Ewing told Mr. Willey that he spent too much time defending individual clients.

“You are the only attorney” to routinely ask for a paid investigator, the judge said. He also complained that cases resulting in guilty pleas generally should not take more than three hours of work, but Mr. Willey sometimes took longer.

Now I would say first, these are allegations only.  NOT PROVEN.  Not yet!  But check out these disturbing facts from the article:

“Judges have incentives to appoint counsel who file fewer pretrial motions, ask fewer questions during voir dire, raise fewer objections, and present fewer witnesses,” the [2011 RAND] study said.

And, experts say, that gives lawyers reason to push for a fast resolution, skipping thorough investigations or motions that might slow the docket or displease the judge. Some defense lawyers also fear that if they object too strenuously, their clients will be penalized.

I can also say when I started in Prince William County the judges that I appeared in front of were uniform in their zeal to ensure the lawyers were properly representing their clients.  And as you might expect, I had zeal to go to court and try out new arguments and generally try cases.  (I was the first lawyer in about seven generations in my family!)  Now these judges ruled against me very often and there was even an appeal or two (I think I won several reversals in state courts and one or two civil reversals in federal court).  That appellate record is why I went to Richmond and became ultimately the Commonwealth’s first Appellate Defender.

But this is not about me; it is about Drew Willey and the system of justice we have.  Our judicial system reminds of the famous quote attributed to Churchill:  Democracy is the worst system in the world until you consider the alternatives.  But we can make the system here in the US better and more effective.

In Virginia, the court-appointed lawyers (and the public defenders, too to some extent) if they want extra money for investigators and experts they must ask the court for these funds.  And give the Commonwealth notice.  They can object.  But more importantly, the Commonwealth now knows the legal strategies of the defense.

Now, a retained attorney does not have to ask the judge for expert money nor advise the state of his or her strategy.

This is another reason why we need the statewide public defender system:

A 2011 RAND Corporation study [Blogger’s note: cited above in previous quote and I added the cite to the study] of more than 3,000 Philadelphia murder cases found that clients fared better when they were represented by a lawyer from an independent public defender organization than if they had one appointed by a judge: Their conviction rate was 19 percent lower; the chances that they would serve a life sentence were reduced by 62 percent; and their expected sentence length was 24 percent shorter.

“Judges have incentives to appoint counsel who file fewer pretrial motions, ask fewer questions during voir dire, raise fewer objections, and present fewer witnesses,” the study said.

Now we need one more thing:  A fund for both count-appointed and public defenders to access funds necessary (by the way the United States Supreme Court held that the Sixth Amendment DOES provide expert assistance for psychiatric cases if there is a proper need for it and our supreme court has extended this principle to other kinds of experts) and a procedure to protect the public fisc and ensure the Commonwealth’s office does not know the defense strategy – maybe a small office attached to the Attorney General in Richmond.  Maybe that fund to be $500,000.oo the first year.  (In contrast, the fee waiver fund for special cases is about 7.5 million dollars!)

Our legislature has a few – maybe more than a few – that care about this issue.  But not enough.  We have not studied even the feasibility of a statewide APPELLATE defender, let alone the entire system.  But we cannot stop and I will not stop agitating on this issue until every city and county in this Commonwealth has a public defender office.


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders ]]>
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Elwood "Sandy" Sanders http://www.varight.com <![CDATA[Not Exactly Yet the Fiscal Friday – But Maybe Next Friday WILL BE Fiscal Friday!]]> http://www.varight.com/?p=28304 2018-03-30T01:45:06Z 2018-03-30T01:45:06Z

I was driving home and I saw it!  Near the law office of Delegate Chris Peace.

Here is the scene – maybe 15 or so – mostly AFPers but I did see Major Mansfield, too.  I spoke with one of them and tried to encourage them a bit.  Need more people here and media too!

So I came up with: Fiscal Friday (it’s a take on Moral Monday, so called when the left protested every Monday in North Carolina) – next Friday, April 6.  I am not sure yet if we’ll have a Fiscal Friday but we should and I would ask friends of liberty and smaller government to keep their powder dry for next Friday afternoon say 5 pm or so.  We need like a hundred or so.

Couple more pix:

To a Fiscal Friday coming near you!


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders ]]>
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