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Thread: Reporter describes illegal change to Fredericksburg J&DR Court

  1. #1
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Reporter describes illegal change to Fredericksburg J&DR Court

    Fredericksburg is in the beginning of a somewhat controversial new court building project. One of the first steps in the project was to relocate the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court from it's old space into temporary space.

    Yesterday, the Fredericksburg City Council toured the new space, and the Free Lance-Star City Beat reporter blogged about it.

    I found this interesting report:

    "In the old J&DR building, there was no x-ray machine and the location of the metal detector meant that a person went through the clerk’s office before being checked. Now, everyone it is checked as they enter the building."

    What do you want to bet that nobody on the tour, either those giving or receiving, had a clue that their new configuration is now a clear violation of 15.2-915?

    TFred

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    I believe you may be mistaken about 15.2-915 being germane to the issue. The law regarding firearms in courthouses is at 18,2-283.1
    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...cod+18.2-283.1

    § 18.2-283.1. Carrying weapon into courthouse.
    It shall be unlawful for any person to possess in or transport into any courthouse in this Commonwealth any (i) gun or other weapon designed or intended to propel a missile or projectile of any kind, (ii) frame, receiver, muffler, silencer, missile, projectile or ammunition designed for use with a dangerous weapon and (iii) any other dangerous weapon, including explosives, stun weapons as defined in § 18.2-308.1, and those weapons specified in subsection A of § 18.2-308. Any such weapon shall be subject to seizure by a law-enforcement officer. A violation of this section is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
    Of interest is the case that defines what part of a building constitutes the courthouse. That is Egerton v.Hopewell, 193 Va. 493, 69 S.E.2d 326 (1952). *
    that only that portion of the building appointed for the use of the circuit court constituted the courthouse
    referenced in http://www.virginia1774.org/CourthouseArea.html What do you want to bet the temporary digs include areas that do not meet the definition of a courthouse as set out by Edgerton?

    stay safe.

    * Sorry, but I can't give a direct citation to Egerton but on-line records do not go back that far. The cited case makes reference to it and quotes the pertinent portion of the decision. Take what you can get or pay for Lexis/Nexus on your own.
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    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    I believe you may be mistaken about 15.2-915 being germane to the issue. The law regarding firearms in courthouses is at 18,2-283.1
    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...cod+18.2-283.1

    § 18.2-283.1. Carrying weapon into courthouse.
    It shall be unlawful for any person to possess in or transport into any courthouse in this Commonwealth any (i) gun or other weapon designed or intended to propel a missile or projectile of any kind, (ii) frame, receiver, muffler, silencer, missile, projectile or ammunition designed for use with a dangerous weapon and (iii) any other dangerous weapon, including explosives, stun weapons as defined in § 18.2-308.1, and those weapons specified in subsection A of § 18.2-308. Any such weapon shall be subject to seizure by a law-enforcement officer. A violation of this section is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
    Of interest is the case that defines what part of a building constitutes the courthouse. That is Egerton v.Hopewell, 193 Va. 493, 69 S.E.2d 326 (1952). *

    that only that portion of the building appointed for the use of the circuit court constituted the courthouse
    referenced in http://www.virginia1774.org/CourthouseArea.html What do you want to bet the temporary digs include areas that do not meet the definition of a courthouse as set out by Edgerton?

    stay safe.

    * Sorry, but I can't give a direct citation to Egerton but on-line records do not go back that far. The cited case makes reference to it and quotes the pertinent portion of the decision. Take what you can get or pay for Lexis/Nexus on your own.
    I will concede that 15.2-915 may not apply*. Given that, then what is our claim that carry cannot be forbidden in a non-courthouse section of a building? Simply the fact that it is not included in the courthouse prohibition and courthouse definition?

    If so, what would be the best way to address this with the local Sheriff's Department? It would seem all we can do is ask for them to justify their prohibition, perhaps prompting them that we believe there is no legal justification for it.

    And what happens if they cite the local judge who says "because I said so?"

    As I posted some time ago, I believe this is a long term battle we will lose due to the great expense of providing multiple security zones within one large building. If we are going to lose, is it worth the effort to at least make some noise about it? We need some long-term strategic thinking here.

    TFred

    * Upon further thinking... the entire building here is owned by the City of Fredericksburg. So the question is, does the courthouse prohibition apply to the office space where the Clerk of the Court works?
    Last edited by TFred; 07-12-2012 at 04:46 PM. Reason: *

  4. #4
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    The rules are basically set by the chief/head judge, which means any objection needs to be taken to the next highest level having jurisdiction over that court. As usual, there will be a literal stampede of attorneys wanting to be anywhere else, as they claim that they will have to appear in that court after having represented some citizen with a gripe and the judge(s) will hold that representation against them. Sadly, that is probably an accurate statement of the way life is, as opposed to "how it ought to be".

    The only other way I can see to address the matter is to get arrested and convicted and then appeal your way up while relying on the higher courts not deciding that Egerton is no longer valid/applicable/the way they want to see things. There's a Latin term for that which User probably knows, but the practical translation is you have a good chance of being screwed.

    I actually made a career out of pointing out that bureaucracies were not following their own rules and regulations. Only occassionally did pointing that out result in the bureauracracy doing anything more than admitting it did not follow its own rules and regulations. Meaningful changes most often came about as the result of negative publicity as opposed to legal action. The problem here is that there seem to be even fewer folks who care about ensuring that the rights of folks with guns than there are folks who care about ensuring the rights of prison inmates.

    * Upon further thinking... the entire building here is owned by the City of Fredericksburg. So the question is, does the courthouse prohibition apply to the office space where the Clerk of the Court works?
    TFred, I am truely disappointed in you for asking that. Ownership of the physical building has nothing to do with determining if the structure qualifies as a courthouse or not. As Egerton decided,
    [] only that portion of the building appointed for the use of the circuit court constituted the courthouse ....
    and determining that the Clerk's office would be appointed for the use of the [] court should not be difficult. And, just in case anybody missed it, Egerton applies only to buildings that have uses other than the court also occupying the building. IMHO probation offices, for example, are not appointed for the use of the court because the employees there are not employees of the court. Likewise office space for the CA and defense attorneys to use before/after court to interview or prepare paperwork. There is no question in my mind that any space provided for Sheriff's Deputies working as bailiffs are not appointed for the use of the court since such would make the Sheriff subordinate to the court as an employee instead of being a separate Constitutional office.

    stay safe.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

    "No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"
    ----Allahpundit

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