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News in Brief

Appeals court: Incumbent Protection Act unconstitutional (access required)

Virginia’s so-called Incumbent Protection Act is an unconstitutional burden on political parties’ right of free association, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled. The court affirmed the conclusion of U.S. District Judge Michael F. Urbanski who planned last ...

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Ex-student sues counselor after trying to kill himself

LEXINGTON (AP) A university and its counselor are being sued for $12 million each by a former student who says they didn’t do enough to stop his suicide attempts. A lawsuit filed Jan. 8 by Kionte Burnette accuses Washington & ...

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Judge remains hospitalized after car accident (access required)

Virginia Beach Judge Robert Hagans Jr. was hospitalized in critical condition following a Jan. 6 traffic crash, news outlets reported. Hagans, 66, was injured when his car ran into the back of a pickup truck stopped at a traffic light, ...

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Virginia firm says it has license to study medical marijuana

NORFOLK (AP) A research firm in Virginia says it has gotten a federal license to import high-quality extracts of marijuana for medical research. Sanyal Biotechnology will soon embark on a series of critical studies into treatment of various diseases and ...

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Northam pitches policy plan, urges cooperation

(AP) Gov. Ralph Northam called on lawmakers to raise teacher pay and give tax breaks to low-income families during his yearly address to the General Assembly. The Democratic governor also pitched the Republican-controlled legislature on decriminalizing possession of marijuana, extending ...

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Rose McGowan to plead no contest to reduced drug charge

LEESBURG (AP) A lawyer for Rose McGowan says the actress and activist will plead no contest to a reduced drug charge and avoid jail time. Attorney Jim Hundley tells WTOP-FM that the commonwealth agreed to reduce the felony cocaine possession charge to ...

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Vindictive prosecution claim leads to review of murder plea

WASHINGTON (AP) The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered a lower court to review the case of a Northern Virginia drug dealer who says his guilty plea in a 2001 murder was coerced by vindictive prosecutors. Justin Wolfe was just 19 ...

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Norfolk prosecutor to limit cash bail

NORFOLK (AP) The top prosecutor in Virginia’s second largest city says his office will end cash bail in many cases. The changes are billed as an effort to avoid the “criminalization of poverty” while making the system fairer for people ...

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Prison reform advocates want data on solitary confinement

(AP) The Virginia branch of the American Civil Liberties Union and a handful of Democratic legislators are urging the General Assembly to take steps towards limiting solitary confinement in the state’s prisons. They say prisoners may be spending unnecessarily long ...

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U.S. Supreme Court rejects delay in redistricting case

(AP) The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a request from Virginia Republicans to block a federal court from approving new legislative district boundaries. The order was issued Jan. 8, two days ahead of a scheduled lower court hearing in Richmond ...

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