Around the Novahood


A Fairfax County Circuit Court judge has found that keeping an indigent defendant in jail in lieu of a cash bond is unconstitutional, writing that it violates the Constitution’s Due Process Clause by forcing poor people awaiting trial to remain confined in jail while the wealthy may walk free. While not binding precedent beyond the one case in which the ruling was issued, it appears to be a first time a judge in the Commonwealth and likely to be cited in other jurisdictions.  

“The inherent arbitrariness of the use of the cash bond is as palpable as it is counterproductive,” wrote the judge. According to the deputy public defender in Fairfax and the policy director of Justice Forward, the ruling is “important because it lays out an argument for why cash bond is unconstitutional and serves as a clear nod to the legislature” to take up the matter.

This does not mean, the judge said, that he is in favor of releasing people who pose a danger to society — only that money should not play a role in pre-trial confinement. “Removing cash from the equation merely has allowed the Court to focus on risk, unclouded by the false comfort that cash terms may somehow warrant the dangerous safe for release.”

We expect our courts and judges to lead in justice.


A man standing outside the entrance to the Trump golf course in Sterling, Virginia, and not wearing a mask, deliberately “exhaled forcefully” on two women nearby. He has been arrested and charged with assault. 

Wearing a “Trump: Make America Great Again” T-shirt and an inflatable pool tube with a Trump head on it around his waist, he was caught on video grinning as he huffed in the direction of the two women, saying “I breathed on you.” The women had asked him to keep his distance since he was not wearing a mask.

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors subsequently wrote to law enforcement, requesting an investigation. The Board’s letter said, “We are in a hundred-year, highly contagious, worldwide pandemic of a deadly virus that has killed more than 250,000 Americans. Willfully coughing in someone’s face is clearly dangerous.”

Words–that we can use in print–fail us. Perhaps a photo will do. . . .


Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring’s office has determined that an elite magnet school in Loudoun County discriminates against Black and Hispanic students in admissions and is ordering the school system to enact major revisions.

Virginia officials found the admissions policies at the Academies of Loudoun, although “facially neutral,” in fact barred from admission qualified Black and Hispanic students who applied during the fall of 2018. Officials are directing the school system to partner with the Loudoun County branch of the NAACP in what is known as a “conciliation process” to begin developing revised policies within 60 days.

In response to a second allegation that Loudoun systematically discriminates against staff and students of color, the report points to evidence of racism perpetrated by personnel throughout the Loudoun County Schools, including a math teacher who intentionally marked a Black student’s correct answers wrong and a Black student’s being forced to “reenact being a runaway slave on the underground railroad.” 

The school division had previously acknowledged some incidents and begun its own efforts to remedy the situation, as part of a larger “Action Plan to Combat Systemic Racism” debuted last summer. The school system reiterated its commitment to working with the Loudoun NAACP in remedying the problems.

Why do human rights require legal enforcement?





Categories: CIVIL RIGHTS, coronavirus, EDUCATION, Issues, Local, POLICING, politics, prosecutors, RULE OF LAW, State, wealth inequality

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