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News in Brief

Senate approves raising felony theft threshold

(AP) A bill designed to soften penalties in Virginia for stealing smaller-dollar items has passed the state Senate. The Senate voted nearly unanimously Thursday to raise the felony theft threshold from $200 to $500. Virginia has kept its felony bar ...

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Statewide public defender offices proposed (access required)

The General Assembly is being asked to consider whether Virginia should move to a statewide system of public defenders. Virginia now has 25 public defender offices, according to the website of the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission which oversees the PD ...

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FBI: Man accused of obstructing terror probe had child porn

STERLING (AP) Court documents say a Virginia man charged with obstructing a terrorism investigation had child pornography on a smartphone. A search warrant executed last week says federal agents who searched 21-year-old Sean Andrew Duncan’s electronic devices for ties to ...

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Man accused of shooting 2 dogs in revenge for cat’s death

CHRISTIANSBURG (AP) Authorities say a Montgomery County man whose cat was killed by two Labrador retrievers pursued their owner and fatally shot the dogs. The Roanoke Times reports 68-year-old Stephen Nichols Cook was convicted Tuesday of two misdemeanor charges in connection with ...

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Prosecutor recuses in Rose McGowan drug case

WASHINGTON (AP)  A Virginia county prosecutor has recused himself from actress Rose McGowan’s upcoming trial for felony possession of a controlled substance, citing conflict of interest. Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Ebert told WTOP-FM that Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman ...

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At least 7 seek Pomrenke judgeship (access required)

At least seven people have expressed interest in the Bristol juvenile and domestic relations judgeship formerly held by Kurt Pomrenke, a legislator said. Del. Israel O’Quinn told the Bristol Herald Courier that he’s heard from six or seven attorneys interested ...

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Advocates seek to disrupt ‘school-to-prison pipeline’

(AP) Ryan Turk was an eighth-grader in Prince William County when a misunderstanding with a school resource officer over a 65-cent carton of milk escalated to theft charges. The incident happened in May 2016 when Turk said he forgot his ...

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Northam asks lawmakers to pass progressive agenda

(AP) Saying voters sent a clear message in last November’s election, new Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is asking the Republican-backed General Assembly to pass a progressive agenda that includes expanding Medicaid, stricter gun regulations and protecting abortion rights. The Democratic ...

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Senate panel votes to raise felony theft threshold

(AP) A bill designed to soften penalties in Virginia for stealing smaller dollar items is moving through the state Senate. A Senate panel voted Monday for a bill to raise the felony threshold from $200 to $500. Virginia has kept ...

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Chesterfield judge pledges to improve demeanor (access required)

A Chesterfield County juvenile and domestic relations judge said he was “devastated” by surveys indicating problems with his patience, courtesy and respect on the bench and promised legislators he would do better. Seeking election to a second 6-year term, Judge ...

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