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News in Brief

Lawmakers reject assault weapon ban

(AP) Gov. Ralph Northam’s push to ban the sale of assault weapons failed after some of his fellow Democrats balked at the proposal. Senators voted Feb. 17 to shelve the bill for the year and ask the state crime commission ...

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Judge: City can remove 176-year-old slave auction block

FREDERICKSBURG (AP) A judge has ruled that officials in Fredericksburg have the authority to approve the removal of a 176-year-old slave auction block from a street corner. Circuit Court Judge Sarah Deneke’s Feb. 14 ruling upheld the Fredericksburg City Council’s vote ...

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Some disappointed by criminal justice reform push

(AP) After Democrats took control of Virginia’s state legislature, criminal justice reform advocates saw their best chance in decades for widespread change in a system they say routinely doles out disparate treatment to minorities. But as the legislative session reached ...

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Senate OKs bill halting license suspension over court debt

(AP) When Brianna Morgan’s driver’s license was suspended due to court debt in 2014, her life became more challenging. Morgan was pregnant at the time and had two children, which made it difficult to get around without a car. “It ...

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Officials to study judicial pensions (access required)

Legislators hope by collaborating with the courts and the state retirement system they can adjust judicial pension formulas to attract more “seasoned” lawyers to the bench. Senators from both parties spoke as one last month to lament financial disincentives that ...

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Senator bucks bar groups, backs Rogers for circuit bench (access required)

Despite local bar endorsements and a 2016 pledge to the contrary, Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke, says he’s backing Chief Juvenile and Domestic Relations Judge Frank Rogers for a circuit court vacancy. His announcement Feb. 11 did not mention the Roanoke ...

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Judge dismisses lieutenant governor’s libel suit against CBS

ALEXANDRIA (AP) A judge has tossed out a libel lawsuit filed by Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax against a television network he accused of slanted reporting on sexual assault allegations against him. U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga in Alexandria dismissed ...

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Lawmakers approve Confederate statue removal bills

(AP) Local Virginia governments would have the power to remove Confederate monuments in their public spaces under legislation approved Feb. 11 by state lawmakers. In the two legislative sessions that followed a violent 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Republican lawmakers defeated ...

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Man seeking compensation for wrongful imprisonment

(AP) A Virginia man who was wrongfully convicted in a 1979 rape and burglary case is still trying to get compensation from the state for his wrongful imprisonment. Calvin Wayne Cunningham told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the conviction sent his life into ...

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Despite support, judge faces resistance to re-election (access required)

The backing of three practicing lawyers and a handful of Republican state senators may not be enough to sway the House of Delegates to approve another term for Montgomery County Circuit Judge Marcus H. Long Jr. Dogged by weak judicial ...

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