Transparency News, 10/26/20


 October 26, 2020
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state & local news stories
“You are the client, not the lawyer. Clients can choose to be stupid and idiotic, and when they do, I will let them know. Consider yourselves informed!!!”
A woman whose son has special needs is suing Frederick County Public Schools in federal court for violating her right to free speech after the division blocked her ability to comment and react to posts on its Facebook page, according to the suit. Christie Scarborough, who is representing herself in the lawsuit, asks that FCPS “unblock” her on Facebook and award her at least $5,000 for “mental and emotional distress that results in headache and heartache damages.”  Scarborough maintains her comments on the division’s Facebook page were deleted and that she was blocked from further commenting or reacting on school division posts after she wrote repeated comments asking that the division stop discriminating against children with special needs.
The Winchester Star

Pound Town Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to pay town attorney Tim McAfee’s bill for representing Clerk/Treasurer Jessica Adams in a recent court challenge over public notice of meetings. Clifton Cauthorne voted no. Marley Green went with the majority, but under the stipulation that council will review a proposed new employment contract for McAfee at its next meeting. What made the vote noteworthy was the extensive debate over the size of the bill and McAfee’s explanation for it. “This expense that has been incurred by the Town is directly related to the malfeasance of the Mayor & others who provided advice and assistance to a frivolous and idiotic claim of FOIA violations,” McAfee wrote, adding that the suit came in disregard of legal opinions he had provided. Naming Mayor Stacey Carson and Cauthorne, McAfee wrote to council: “You are the client, not the lawyer. Clients can choose to be stupid and idiotic, and when they do, I will let them know. Consider yourselves informed!!!”
Coalfield Progress (on VCOG's website)
Read the judge's order in the underlying case
stories from around the country
In a series of terse, unsigned orders, the court has been deciding many election disputes on its “shadow docket” without a murmur of explanation.
The New York Times

editorials & columns
The House Courts of Justice Committee tabled not one, but two bills that would have changed the code — which means that the Virginia Parole Board can continue to secretly violate state law without any consequences. This is unacceptable. The Virginia Parole Board has a statutory obligation to allow crime victims, their families and local prosecutors the opportunity to testify before violent felons are released from prison. The inspector general has an ethical duty to investigate and publicly report on any complaints that the VPB is not following the law. And both the Northam administration and the General Assembly are responsible for making sure that the operations of this board are as open and transparent as possible. In this case, only the state Senate did its job. To their great discredit, the rest of them circled the wagons trying to defend the indefensible.
The Daily Progress