Editors’ Note: SHORT TAKES is a new VoxFairfax feature, designed to capture non-headline occurrences that are newsworthy and/or informative of our culture.
‘JUNK SCIENCE’ BILL KILLED. A bill aimed at helping innocent people who claim wrongful conviction due to discredited forensic science was killed by unanimous vote in the House Appropriations Public Safety subcommittee due to concerns about its cost. The legislation would allow petitions to the Virginia Court of Appeals that developments in forensic science question the science, or that the conviction rested upon a forensic science technique or testimony that has since been discredited. If it were bite mark testimony, the General Assembly has allowed such conviction to persist as being bitten by a “no see’um.”
DRIVING WHILE BLACK HAS COMPETITION. Two young Montana women, both nurse assistants in a local hospital, stopped at a gas station convenience store for some milk and eggs on their way home from work. The town in which they lived was about 35 miles from the Canadian border. They were native born of Hispanic parents and maintained fluency in that language. As they chatted in Spanish while they waited in line to complete their purchases, a Border agent asked them where they were born. Unsatisfied with their response, the agent walked them to his patrol car to ask more questions, apparently suspicious that they were undocumented aliens. Moral: speaking Spanish in Montana can be dangerous.
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