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News in Brief

Charges dropped against 82-year-old accused in fraud scheme

(AP) A Powhatan County judge dismissed felony charges against an 82-year-old preacher accused of defrauding a woman of more than $50,000 in a fake sweepstakes scheme. The four counts of obtaining money under false pretenses against Frederick Shmidt were dropped ...

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DOC confirms first COVID-19 cases among state inmates

FALLS CHURCH (AP) The Virginia Department of Corrections announced March 31 that three offenders had tested positive for COVID-19, marking the first confirmed cases among inmates in a state correctional facility. The inmates are incarcerated at the Virginia Correctional Center for ...

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U.S. justices to consider qualified immunity doctrine

ARLINGTON (AP) The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal by police officers who believe they deserve immunity from a lawsuit filed by college student who says he was beaten up in a case of mistaken identity. The ...

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Lawyer disbarred for mishandling client money (access required)

A South Boston lawyer who failed to cooperate with bar investigators and skipped his disciplinary hearings in February has been disbarred for mismanaging fiduciary accounts. Michael A. Cole “repeatedly took money that did not belong to him,” according to findings ...

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Eastern District to allow remote criminal hearings

Pursuant to Congressional authorization, the federal courts of the Eastern District of Virginia may use video or telephone conferencing for certain criminal proceedings. A March 30 order cites legislation passed by Congress on March 27 authorizing the use of remote ...

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Liberty University: We’re complying with virus-related ban

(AP) Virginia’s governor on March 30 ordered all higher education institutions to halt any in-person instruction amid the coronavirus pandemic, a move likely directed at Liberty University, which initially declined to stop all on-campus teaching. The evangelical college in Lynchburg led by ...

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Supreme Court extends emergency procedures

The Supreme Court of Virginia has extended its declaration of a judicial emergency another three weeks, through April 26. The court’s March 27 order postponed most civil, traffic and criminal matters and tolls and extends deadlines, as did the court’s ...

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Danville attorney wins on ‘Jeopardy!’ (access required)

A Danville attorney was the winner in the March 27 episode of “Jeopardy!” Khalilah Walters, a lawyer at Daniel, Medley & Kirby and the mother of two, missed the final question but still emerged with $2,399 – enough to best ...

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More virus updates for lawyers

The Western District U.S. Bankruptcy Court has suspended its prohibition on pro se litigants filing pleadings or other papers electronically. In a March 25 order posted on the court’s website, the court cited the need to reduce personal contact. Similarly, ...

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Judge rejects appeal from man convicted in al-Qaida plot

ALEXANDRIA (AP) A judge again rejected a request from a Northern Virginia man who sought to overturn his life sentence for joining al-Qaida and plotting to assassinate then-President George W. Bush. Ahmed Omar Abu Ali was convicted in 2005. He ...

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