Briefly Noted

JEEPERS, CREEPERS

TV addicts may recall the hapless Robinson Peepers (Wally Cox), a junior high school science teacher from the series Mr. Peepers in the early to mid-1950s. Others with longer recall will remember the song Jeepers, Creepers, a duet by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald for the movie Going Places in1938. Some readers may recall that it was Peeping Tom who violated the social agreement not to look upon Lady Godiva as she rode her horse naked through Coventry.

Stafford, Virginia, experienced its own Mr. Peepers late last month when a man fell through the ceiling of a fitness center locker room onto a woman. Police allege the peeper was secretly ogling women at the center. The man fell about 10 feet onto the peepee and was arrested and charged with burglary, three counts of peeping, and vandalism. 

It is not known how long or on how many occasions the peeper peeped at the peepee. Nor was there any apparent injury compromising his vision following the fall. It is known that his name is not Tom.

The original peeping tom.

PARTING TACTIC BY CUCCINELLI MAY COMPLICATE BIDEN-ICE REFORM

Never let it be said that a Republican will waste an opportunity to engage in nefarious action if he can. Former Virginia attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, in his role as Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, on January 19 signed an agreement handing over agency policy controls to the pro-Trump union representing Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Brought to light by a whistleblower complaint, Cuccinelli is accused of “gross mismanagement, gross waste of government funds and abuse of authority” over the labor agreements he signed with the immigration agents’ union the day before President Joe Biden’s inauguration. Cuccinelli — an immigration  and conservative hard-liner since his Virginia days and whose legal legitimacy to serve in senior positions at the Department of Homeland Security was contested — essentially sought to tie Biden’s hands, according to the complaint.

One clause in the contract requires homeland security leaders to obtain “prior affirmative consent” in writing from the union on changes to policies and functions affecting agents. It also appears to allow the ICE union to argue that it can reject changes such as Biden’s recent order to focus on violent criminals and not prioritize other immigrants who entered the country illegally. Under federal law, an agency head has 30 days to cancel such an agreement once it is signed, after which it goes into effect.

The agreements suggest that the union could appeal any rejection to the Federal Labor Relations Authority. And once the agreements take effect, they purport to “irrevocably” block the government’s ability to challenge anything about the concessions to the ICE union for the next eight years.

The Cooch has a new job at the Heritage Foundation in DC and has undertaken a campaign role in VA’s 2021 gubernatorial race.  And it is said cockroaches are indestructible.

EVIDENCE OF MENTAL COMPETENCE IN CRIMINAL INTENT GAINS IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Virginia lawmakers are advancing legislation that would allow more defendants in criminal cases to present evidence that they suffer from mental illness or intellectual disabilities. 

“This is particularly important for people who have autism or who are on the spectrum who often just don’t have intellectual understanding of what certain behavior is,” said Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond and gubernatorial candidate, who is carrying the legislation in the Senate. “Under current Virginia law, there’s no way for that to be considered at the guilt or innocence phase.”

The legislation is backed by mental health and disability advocates, who say the law’s current prohibition too often traps people with mental health conditions in the criminal justice system. So far, it’s winning strong bipartisan support. The House version, sponsored by Del. Jeff Bourne, D-Richmond, advanced from committee unanimously, though Republicans in the Senate have taken a more skeptical view.

Advocates stressed that the legislation stops short of creating a broad defense of diminished capacity. Instead, they said it would allow defendants accused of crimes that require specific, criminal intent to present evidence that their mental state compromised consideration..

The Commonwealth is engaged in a number of reforms to modernize the criminal justice system. 

 



Categories: AROUND THE NOVAHOOD, CIVIL RIGHTS, crime and punishment, elections, Immigration, Issues, Local, politics, RULE OF LAW, State

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