Around the Novahood


A scheme designed to spring a Loudoun County inmate from jail failed. A man who was being held on shoplifting charges in Loudoun and two other Virginia counties, as well as two probation violations, allegedly participated in forging two court documents aimed at trying to get him released. In one instance, a judge’s signature was forged.

The investigation started last November after the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center received documents for an inmate’s release, which appeared to be sent by the Prince William County Clerk of the Circuit Court. But the document, which bore a judge’s signature, was faked. In December, the Loudoun County Clerk of the Circuit Court got a separate document of an amended probation for the same inmate, purporting to be from the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Corrections and Parole. This document was also determined to be fake.

The inmate and a Maryland accomplice are facing multiple charges, including forgery, identity theft, and–in the case of the inmate–attempted escape from confinement or custody. A third individual, from D.C., faces lesser charges.

The inmate remains held at the Loudoun County Jail on no bond. The other two persons turned themselves over to authorities; one was released on a personal recognizance bond.

Faked in, not out. Hmm! Seven states sent fake elector nominations to Congress. Is there a theme here?


Ever hear of kratom? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it’s a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia with leaves that can cause effects similar to both opioids and stimulants. it can be taken as a pill, or dried leaves can be chewed or brewed as tea. Like other drugs with opioid-like effects, kratom can cause dependence; users will feel physical withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug, and some have indeed reported becoming addicted.

Enter PWC Supervisor Pete Candland, R-Gainesville. He and a longtime Gainesville associate who serves on Prince William’s Racial and Social Justice Commission have spent the last six years leading a nationwide effort to keep the recreational drug kratom from being scheduled as an illegal substance, despite its connection to dozens of fatal overdoses. In fact, they lead the American Kratom Association, a nonprofit based in Haymarket that advocates for kratom users and producers with the goal of keeping kratom legal.

Candland earned about $540,000 between 2017 and 2020 in his role as executive director of the group. He is no longer with the group, but his associate remains its chief lobbyist, and has collected more than $1.4 million for his work on behalf of the organization.

All of this and more was revealed in an extensive, four-part series about kratom and the group published in Courthouse News last week, entitled “Can Kratom Kill?” It was written by a journalist who spent the better part of a year poring over dozens of civil lawsuits filed against kratom retail outlets and producers by people who blamed kratom for the overdose deaths of their loved ones. The author himself lost his 21-year-old nephew to a kratom-related overdose in February 2021. Candland and his associate adamantly deny that kratom can kill. “The FDA lies,” they say.

Asked about all this, Candland says he cannot discuss it because he is bound by a nondisclosure agreement signed when he left the group in December, just before the Courthouse News piece was published. First elected in 2011, he is up for reelection in 2023.

Which begs the question: can PWC residents vote safely for someone who cannot discuss such matters?


A U.S. District Court judge in Alexandria last week dismissed a complaint that sought to suspend the Loudoun County School Board from operating a program the division adopted to combat systemic racism in the schools by collecting data on accounts of such incidents.

The plaintiffs in the case, a group made up mostly of parents of Loudoun County students, filed the complaint claiming that the reporting system violates students’ right to free speech.

The judge said in his opinion that the plaintiffs did not sufficiently allege a violation of the First Amendment or provide a plausible equal protection claim.

He added, ““Plaintiffs allege more generally that their children refrain from expressing their views for fear of an adverse reaction from their peers and school administrators. But, as reflected in plaintiffs’ own allegations, that self-censorship would exist separate and apart from the ‘Bias Reporting’ system and the mere prospect of future injury through the ‘Bias Reporting System’ is not sufficient to confer standing.”

The plaintiffs claimed that if their child shared their views on Critical Race Theory, race, human sexuality and other controversial political issues, they would be reported and investigated for ‘bias incidents.’”

Loudoun4All, an advocacy group that supports policies and candidates that advocate for equity for all, said in a press release that it supports the judge’s decision. “Loudoun4All supports the dismissal of this case and any case which would attack the schools’ ability to provide equity for our children,” the statement reads. “We believe all students have a right to a safe, welcoming environment in our school system.”

The gubernatorial candidate who lost his election might agree with the judge.




Categories: AROUND THE NOVAHOOD, CIVIL RIGHTS, cultural icons, FREE SPEECH, Issues, Local, political discourse, politics, racial symbols, RULE OF LAW, State

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