Articles from March 2009



You know folks, there’s a reason that John Brownlee isn’t a federal judge right now.

A couple years ago, in 2007, John Brownlee was being considered for a judgeship in the Eastern District of Virginia. However, his bestest buddy John Warner (Warner has a “close relationship”[1] with Brownlee’s father) choose not to recommend his name to President Bush for the position. Anyone want to know why?:

U.S. Attorney John Brownlee’s bid to become a federal judge, considered by some to be on a rapid ascent, has run into turbulence.

Brownlee received lukewarm endorsements this week from two bar associations — and no backing at all from another three — as questions surfaced during the judicial screening process about his prosecutorial discretion and other “credible adverse information.”

In a 6-5 vote, the Virginia State Bar’s judicial nomination committee found Brownlee to be qualified. It was the only close vote as the committee deemed six candidates qualified and another five highly qualified for federal judgeships in Richmond and Alexandria.

“The committee notes that substantial concerns arose from significant and credible adverse information” obtained about Brownlee, a report from the state bar read. But because the bar was unable to fully investigate those concerns before the deadline for recommendations, “the committee is unable to opine as to Mr. Brownlee’s integrity, temperament and impartiality,” the report stated.

The report does not explain what the “adverse information” is, and state bar executive director Thomas Edmonds declined to elaborate.

“The documents speak for themselves and they are carefully worded,” Edmonds said. “Obviously, the vote and the comments reflect some concern.”

Another concern raised by the bar dealt with the extent of Brownlee’s courtroom experience, and discrepancies between what he said about that qualification in a written application to the bar and in a later interview with the nomination committee.

Brownlee, who has overseen federal prosecutions in the Roanoke-based Western District of Virginia since 2001, declined to comment Thursday.

Several cases during his tenure have created considerable controversy, including the fraud prosecution of former National D-Day Memorial Foundation president Richard Burrow, which ended in two hung juries.

Also, the case of pain specialist Dr. Cecil Knox, accused of health fraud and illegal distribution of prescription painkillers, devolved from a sweeping indictment on hundreds of charges to just a few convictions.

The state bar’s comments were not the only bump in the road this week for Brownlee, whose strong political connections have been cited by a University of Richmond law professor and other legal observers who believe he might have an inside track to a judgeship.

The Virginia Women Attorneys Association, another bar group asked to rank judicial candidates, also raised concerns. In a report sent Tuesday to U.S. Sens. John Warner and Jim Webb, the VWAA noted that Brownlee was the only one of 13 candidates to receive unsolicited letters in opposition to his becoming a judge and none in support of his bid.

[…]

Also this week, the Virginia Bar Association, the Virginia Defense Attorneys Association and the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association released names of candidates they found to be qualified. Brownlee’s name was not on either list.[1]

“Lukewarm” endorsements from two bar associations and refusals from three others to endorse him. He didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of being confirm, so he decided to wait, and when he saw an opportunity to run for an elected office — in this case Attorney General — he took it.

And this wasn’t one bar association, it wasn’t two; it was three that refused to endorse him. And another two gave him “lukewarm” endorsements, for crying out loud! And this guy wants to be our next Attorney General!

  1. Laurence Hammack. “Federal Fast Track Slows for Brownlee.” The Roanoke Times. 2 Mar 2007. A1: LexisNexis. [] []

Does anyone else think that someone should tell John Brownlee it isn’t the Attorney General’s job to prosecute criminal cases?

I swear, every other word that comes out of John Brownlee’s mouth is about how he used to be a prosecutor, as if that has any bearing on the Attorney General’s Office.

Maybe he should check out the Attorney General’s Office’s website. As one page notes, “[t]he Office of the Attorney General is the Commonwealth’s law firm. Its clients are the Virginia state government and the state agencies, boards and commissions that compose that government.”

On the list of “duties and powers” for the office (Id.), the only reference to prosecuting cases appears in the eight bullet stating, “[c]onduct or assist criminal investigations and prosecutions in certain limited cases” [emphasis mine].

Remember, also, that current Republican candidate for Governor and former Attorney General, Bob McDonnell, was responsible for the information on that website until a couple weeks ago.

Is Brownlee not familiar with Virginia law or something? After all, the guy has been doing federal, not state, cases for the past decade or more. Maybe he should consult Va. Code § 2.2-511 [emphasis mine throughout]:

A. Unless specifically requested by the Governor to do so, the Attorney General shall have no authority to institute or conduct criminal prosecutions in the circuit courts of the Commonwealth except in cases involving (i) violations of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act (§ 4.1-100 et seq.), (ii) violation of laws relating to elections and the electoral process as provided in § 24.2-104, (iii) violation of laws relating to motor vehicles and their operation, (iv) the handling of funds by a state bureau, institution, commission or department, (v) the theft of state property, (vi) violation of the criminal laws involving child pornography and sexually explicit visual material involving children, (vii) the practice of law without being duly authorized or licensed or the illegal practice of law, (viii) with the concurrence of the local attorney for the Commonwealth [the locale’s elected Commonwealth’s Attorney], violations of the Virginia Computer Crimes Act (§ 18.2-152.1 et seq.), (ix) with the concurrence of the local attorney for the Commonwealth, violations of the Air Pollution Control Law (§ 10.1-1300 et seq.), the Virginia Waste Management Act (§ 10.1-1400 et seq.), and the State Water Control Law (§ 62.1-44.2 et seq.), (x) with the concurrence of the local attorney for the Commonwealth, violations of Chapters 2 (§ 18.2-18 et seq.), 3 (§ 18.2-22 et seq.), and 10 (§ 18.2-434 et seq.) of Title 18.2, if such crimes relate to violations of law listed in clause (ix) of this subsection, (xi) with the concurrence of the local attorney for the Commonwealth, criminal violations by Medicaid providers or their employees in the course of doing business, or violations of Chapter 13 (§ 18.2-512 et seq.) of Title 18.2, in which cases the Attorney General may leave the prosecution to the local attorney for the Commonwealth, or he may institute proceedings by information, presentment or indictment, as appropriate, and conduct the same, (xii) with the concurrence of the local attorney for the Commonwealth, violations of Article 9 (§ 18.2-246.1 et seq.) of Chapter 6 of Title 18.2, (xiii) with the concurrence of the local attorney for the Commonwealth, assisting in the prosecution of violations of §§ 18.2-186.3 and 18.2-186.4, and (xiv) with the concurrence of the local attorney for the Commonwealth, assisting in the prosecution of violations of § 18.2-46.2, 18.2-46.3, or 18.2-46.5 when such violations are committed on the grounds of a state correctional facility.

In all other criminal cases in the circuit courts, except where the law provides otherwise, the authority of the Attorney General to appear or participate in the proceedings shall not attach unless and until a petition for appeal has been granted by the Court of Appeals or a writ of error has been granted by the Supreme Court. In all criminal cases before the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court in which the Commonwealth is a party or is directly interested, the Attorney General shall appear and represent the Commonwealth. In any criminal case in which a petition for appeal has been granted by the Court of Appeals, the Attorney General shall continue to represent the Commonwealth in any further appeal of a case from the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court.

I’m sure there’s a locale somewhere looking for a qualified Commonwealth’s Attorney, if John Brownlee wants to prosecute criminal cases, maybe he should go there.

Hey, apparently County Administrator Percy Ashcraft thinks $1,250,000 is chump change as well.

You get the government you deserve folks. From today’s edition of The Free Lance–Star:

Caroline County Administrator Percy Ashcraft told fair officials that he welcomes all to the fair, but he really wants Caroline County residents to benefit from it.

“We are the host county and we want to feel like the host county,” Ashcraft said at the meeting. “With the [National Scout] Jamboree, we were the host county and we didn’t feel like it.”

And going way back to the October 15, 2001 edition of The Free Lance–Star:

Caroline County made more than $1.25 million in food and hotel-room sales during last summer’s National Scout Jamboree, a new report shows.

The total regional economic impact of the jamboree was expected to be in the tens of millions of dollars, officials from Fort A.P. Hill, which hosts the event, said earlier this summer.

[…]

Caroline’s gross food sales this July were nearly $1.16 million more than for the same month last year, when no jamboree was held, according to the report.

County hotels earned about $128,000 more than last year.

The report also said that gasoline sales were far above typical for July, and that many local contractors and suppliers of building materials were used to prepare A.P. Hill for the jamboree. Exact figures for these two sectors were not available for the report, [Director of Economic Development Gary] Wilson said.

A “What. The. Frak.” newsday in Spotsylvania County.

The first story from The Free Lance–Star:

A 19-year-old Spotsylvania County man pleaded guilty yesterday to sexually assaulting a four-year-old girl and will spend a year in jail.

Jonathan Anderson admitted to touching the girl inappropriately on several occasions.

[…]

In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutor Crystal Montague dropped three other related charges: forcible sodomy, animate object sexual penetration and inanimate object sexual penetration.

[…]

Anderson didn’t deny having inappropriate contact with the victim and told the girl’s family “I’m sorry” after he was caught, according to the agreement.

Someone touches a girl “inappropriately on several occasions” and he only gets sentenced to a year in jail? More than likely the guy will only have to serve 50% of the time and will be out on the streets in six months.

Story numero dos, also from The Free Lance–Star:

The parents who allowed their children to live in a home with feces-covered walls pleaded guilty yesterday to a misdemeanor charge.

Eugene Mongold, 28, and Amanda Nichole Mongold, 24, had been charged with three counts each of felony child neglect.

But Spotsylvania County prosecutor Edith Minn agreed to drop two of the charges and reduce one to contributing to the delinquency of a minor in exchange for their guilty pleas.

[…]

She said they have already completed parenting classes and have cleaned up their home from the clutter and dirt their three children were living in.

Anyone else thinks it’s absolutely amazing that parents have to be taught that having feces covered walls=bad? Also mentioned in the story was that the children were found naked and emaciated. Do parents also have to be taught that also=bad?

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with this area? Actually, what the hell is wrong with that Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office?

I really think B101.5 needs to reassess what they consider appropriate.

NOTE: This post contains the uncensored use of words that appear, in context, as lyrics in various songs as part of a discussion of what is considered appropriate by a local radio station. If such content may offend you, then don’t read it. ‘Kay, thanks, bye.

On Tuesday night, I’m minding my own business, driving home from the communist haven of VCU, listening to the radio. I flip to that awful station B101.5 and happen to catch the beginning of Katy Perry’s “Hot N Cold”. I’m pretty surprised when I hear the word “bitch” in the song (full line: “Yeah you, PMS like a bitch”). Apparently, I’ve never heard the beginning of that particular song before, or at least the version that B101.5 plays. To confirm that I actually heard what I heard, I keep flipping to that awful station when I’m in the car yesterday coming home from VCU as well. And once again I hear the word “bitch” in the song.

Now, I’m not surprised at hearing the word “bitch” in media, after all, you probably can’t watch three hours of prime-time network television without hearing that particular word.

What I’m surprised at is that B101.5 didn’t have a problem with the word. After all, this is the station that dubs over the word “drugs” in a song by Nickelback (full line: “The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap”). Or the station the finds the words “God damn” unacceptable in “Makes Me Wonder” from Maroon 5 (“God damn, my spinning head”). Or the station that dubs over a reference to the use of methamphetamines in “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind (“Doing crystal meth/Will lift you up until you break”).

Now, is the use of the word “bitch” okay because it’s being used by a female “artist”? Has the station ever played Buckcherry’s song “Crazy Bitch”? Not likely. I guess that line of argument brings up the old discussion of why it’s okay for blacks to use a certain word but not for whites.

Is there a female bias when it comes to determining what songs are acceptable? B101.5 didn’t have a problem playing “U + Ur Hand” by Pink, after all. Three guesses what that song is about.

And for the record, I’m not accusing B101.5 of censorship. They’re a private company — not the government — and can determine for themselves what they consider appropriate for their business model.

I guess there seems to be a conflict when they find the use of the word “bitch” and a song about masturbation okay, but the use of the words “God damn” and lyrics about drug use are taboo to them.

Wife of a Board of Supervisors member calls for the tarring and feathering of a citizen if he goes to a public meeting.

Ah, good old oharascarlett (I would link to thread but it has since been deleted due to her antics):

Sorry Minx but the eye rolling is very real, Yesitsme did this all to himself with his contiuning behavior and public officials are very real human beings with feelings also.

He took asking questions way beyond what was fair and reasonable and hurt many, many people.

Hate is a strong word, no I can’t say I hate Yes in fact was on board with him in the beginning thinking perhaps he had been treated unfairly but over the months learned completely otherwise.

As is usually the case with someone like Yes, the local schoolyard bully there are distinct advantages to offering a counterpoint to his arguments on a public blog and I promise you Scarlett never writes anything she does not want read by people. In other words Yes is and continues to be very useful. You can’t hate a guy like that, hes better than a direct mailer.

I am now far more interested in seeing Yes in front of the Bowling Green town council. What say you Asst Chief? Can we get a bit of tar and feathers going in the back room, the next first Thursday of the month.

As a side question, isn’t referring to yourself in third-person a sign of schizophrenia? Not to mention that the only reason the person oharascarlett is attacking (YesItsMe) joined the forum was because of the trash she was posting; she was never “on board with him in the beginning”.

Another post:

C’mon now Yes a little gentle feather bath might do you some good, white feathers of course or at a least a white streak right down the middle.

You know, there are way too many whiners in this country and we need to stop letting more in.

The Free Lance–Star has some bleeding heart story about two families from Iraq who received refugee status and moved to Stafford County. Both families are now in the process of moving back to Syria, Jordan, or Iraq since they apparently think America is too mean and hard to live in. Here’s a quote from the story:

A construction contractor in Iraq, Jawad hoped to find similar work here.

Most Iraqi refugees struggle with the same issue: They were doctors, engineers and businessmen in Iraq, and don’t want to work in fast-food restaurants and warehouses.

But even those jobs are hard to find these days.

Jawad said he applied for a job at a nearby store. He didn’t get the job, but it wouldn’t have prevented an eviction from his $1,500-a-month townhouse.

Wow, you applied for a job and you didn’t get it. Did you try — I don’t know — applying somewhere else? How many jobs do Americans, with a college education, have to apply for before they get hired?

And whose fault is it that you decided to move into a townhouse, in Stafford, that cost $1,500-a-month? Doesn’t Stafford County have one of the highest cost-of-living in Virginia? Did you try finding a place, in say, Westmoreland or Caroline Counties?

How many Englishmen, Irishmen, Italians, etc., who had previously been successful in their home countries, decided to come to the United States long ago? How many of them were immediately successful once they arrived here? Probably not a lot.

Those people came here for a number of reasons: Better opportunities for them and their children, better safety, etc. In this case, these geniuses seem to think that they’re families will be better off in Syria, Jordan, or Iraq, even after one of the families’ 16-year-old had his teeth and legs broken by a hostage taker in Iraq. The father of the other family was being tortured by terrorists and awaiting execution until he was rescued by American soldiers in Iraq also. These folks seem to think they’ll be better off there.

And better yet, how many of the English, Irish, and Italian immigrants contacted the local newspaper looking for a story to be written about how they the decided to quit and head home? Let’s see, probably not an one. And if they did, the newspaper in question wouldn’t have the gall to publish the story.

You know what? Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

UPDATE: One of the families profiled in that story had three daughters. Here’s something that’s just happened in Jordan recently according to The Jawa Report:

(Amman, Jordan) A 19-year-old Jordanian woman was killed by her father and her brothers on Saturday in a premeditated honor killing. She had stained the family honor by leaving the home wearing makeup.

Pretty sick, eh?

Some county to move your family to, eh?

Are the Virginia State Police (VSP) extremely gullible or what?

There’s a text message that has been going around that says there will be several people shoot at a Wal-Mart as part of a gang initiation. From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Virginia State Police are advising people to pay no attention to a text message that claims there will be a gang initiation at Wal-Mart stores sometime this week that may involve a shooting or other criminal activity.

Police say the message is a hoax.

This claim that the message is a hoax, which it probably is, seems to conflict with a general advisory that was sent to all Virginia State Police units in the Culpeper Division (which includes Spotsylvania, Stafford, Culpeper, Fauquier counties, as well as the city of Fredericksburg) the other night via their radio system. According to the dispatcher, a teen reported a text message that had been forwarded to her which contained the information to a sheriff’s office in Texas. VSP apparently thought it was legitimate enough to broadcast to all those units in the Culpeper Division (and possibly broadcasted across the whole state as well) the other night.

A simple Google search would have revealed a Snopes.com page which shows that this hoax/urban myth has been going around since 2005 in various forms.

You know, even drug dealing convicted felons have a right to self-defense.

A former resident of New Kent was arrested in Alabama for federal and state drug charges originating in Florida. He’s also faces charges in New Kent County for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, unlawful disposal of a dead body, and possession or distribution of marijuana. Here’s what the Richmond Times-Dispatch had to say:

Carter fled New Kent on Oct. 14 after a group of Williamsburg-area teenagers drove to his Lanexa home to rob him of guns and drugs, authorities say. New Kent officials believe Carter shot to death 18-year-old Christopher Greene after Greene, armed with a rifle, broke open Carter’s rear door. Greene’s body was found about 20 yards from the home, covered with a tarp.

Carter was charged with illegally disposing a body; authorities have never stated publicly whether they consider the shooting a justifiable homicide. Greene’s family has declined to comment.

Let’s imagine this scenario: You, or a family member that lives in your house, has a persistent pain problem and has a valid and legal prescription for a large amount of Vicodin (hydrocodone). A couple of hoodlums in your neighborhood find out about this. They decide to break into your home in an attempt to steal the drugs. You happen to be in your home when they decide to execute this genius plan. You see one of them break-in armed with a rifle and you grab your favorite hand-cannon and shoot one of their miscreant asses. You would not — or rather, should not — face any charges for this death, as long as you report it to the police obviously.

Is this guy, based on the news reports, guilty of drug possession and dealing? Yes. Is he guilty of illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon? Yes. Is he guilty of an illegal disposal of a body? Yes.

Murder? No.

And another part of this whole fiasco is that the Chief Deputy for the New Kent Sheriff’s Office was on the news the other day talking about how the family would finally have “closure” for the “victim’s” death. Uh…excuse me, one POS (the drug dealer) shot and killed another one (the armed burglar). Am I supposed to be upset? This wasn’t some youthful mistake: The “victim” was 18-years-old after all.

And the most annoying part? The other two perpetrators of the crime, along with another two co-conspirators, were only charged — depending on the person — with conspiracy to commit robbery, robbery, or attempted robbery. Where’s the charge for burglary with a deadly weapon, which is a class 2 felony, for crying out loud? These miscreants weren’t breaking-in to ask the guy to come over for bible study night, that’s for sure.

Chris Rock was right!

10 or 15 years ago, Chris Rock had this joke that the government, instead of focusing on gun control, should tax the hell of ammunition. Not only would this cut down on gun crime in general, but instead of a criminal praying and spraying rounds at someone that pissed them off, they would adopt a one shot, one kill mindset (if someone can find video of that joke, post it as a comment, thanks never mind, posted below). Now, from The Jawa Report:

Obama Requires Miltary to Shred Spent Casings Before Sale

Interesting, if they can’t outlaw guns they can always try and make ammunition unaffordable. The real kicker is this is shipments to even police departments to be canceled.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdJGcrUk2eE


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