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Thread: Fredericksburg's new courthouse

  1. #1
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Fredericksburg's new courthouse

    I stopped by this morning for a short visit of the newly opened $35 million courthouse. As we knew would be the case all along, there is one security perimeter for the entire building, even though it includes office space for the Commonwealth's Attorney and the Clerk's offices and historic records.

    Can anyone refresh my memory on the case(s) that I seem to recall discussed here a while back that said "courthouse" - and subsequent security authorization - only includes the spaces actually used for the court?

    I don't expect changes in security, but I think if they're going to be bending the law, they should at least know about it. Sometimes accommodations need to be made (such as bringing a camera in to photograph records that are too old and fragile to run through a copy machine.)

    TFred

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    Regular Member ProShooter's Avatar
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    http://www.virginia1774.org/CourthouseArea.html


    "Only that part of the courthouse building necessary for the use and occupancy of the circuit court constituted the courthouse, and the court has control over the assignment of space in such area. The governing body of the county has control of the use and occupancy of all other areas of the building. "
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  3. #3
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProShooter View Post
    http://www.virginia1774.org/CourthouseArea.html

    "Only that part of the courthouse building necessary for the use and occupancy of the circuit court constituted the courthouse, and the court has control over the assignment of space in such area. The governing body of the county has control of the use and occupancy of all other areas of the building. "
    Ah yes, that is it... and I see that it is a case decided by the Supreme Court of Virginia.

    As I said, I don't expect any changes, but this would seem to also limit the scope of:

    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.

    to only those areas within the building that are "... appointed for use of circuit court..." [which is what] constitutes courthouse."

    But the next questions is: Does this section of code below give the court the authority to impose a strict security perimeter around the entire building, even when portions of the building are not used specifically for the court? And perhaps more to the point, since the remainder of the building is under the control of the local government, wouldn't preemption cover access to those portions of the building? Remember, 15.2-915 says that ANY exceptions must explicitly reference firearms to be valid exceptions, and the "certain rules" section of code below does not.

    8.01-4. District courts and circuit courts may prescribe certain rules.

    The district courts and circuit courts may, from time to time, prescribe rules for their respective districts and circuits. Such rules shall be limited to those rules necessary to promote proper order and decorum and the efficient and safe use of courthouse facilities and clerks' offices. No rule of any such court shall be prescribed or enforced which is inconsistent with this statute or any other statutory provision, or the Rules of Supreme Court or contrary to the decided cases, or which has the effect of abridging substantive rights of persons before such court. Any rule of court which violates the provisions of this section shall be invalid.

    I'm fairly well convinced that it violates the law for an entire courthouse to impose one security perimeter for the entire building in which the courthouse is located, when there are other non-courthouse functions also located within the building. Can anyone show me that I'm wrong?

    TFred

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    .... Can anyone show me that I'm wrong?

    TFred
    Yes.

    Consult the sheriff's deputy performing baliff duty, and then the commonwealth's Attorney. Your best bet is to let the deputy discover that you have entered while armed.

    Seriously, we need a test case. It's up to you to decide if you want to be that test case or you want to spend money seeking a declaratory judgement instead of actually being arrested and prosecuted.

    @ProShooter - take two (2) "Attaboys" out of petty cash. You have been reading and remembering. For a while I had the feling I was the only one remembered that case.

    stay safe.
    Last edited by skidmark; 08-13-2014 at 05:58 PM.
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  5. #5
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Yes.
    Guess I should have been more clear... I meant show me in the law.

    As I stated, I know nothing will change, and that includes their continuing to disregard the law, even if it can be shown that locking down an entire building is not authorized.

    TFred

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    Guess I should have been more clear... I meant show me in the law.

    As I stated, I know nothing will change, and that includes their continuing to disregard the law, even if it can be shown that locking down an entire building is not authorized.

    TFred
    Maybe I should have included a smiley or three. Sorry for not doing that.

    The law, and the case law, are clear. You and I both know it will take a judge revisiting the decision to make sure that everybody knows that the decision in fact means what it says.

    OTOH, revisiting it may result in a judicial change of mind.

    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.

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  7. #7
    Regular Member ProShooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    .


    @ProShooter - take two (2) "Attaboys" out of petty cash. You have been reading and remembering. For a while I had the feeling I was the only one remembered that case.

    stay safe.
    Much appreciated....I do pay attention once in a while.
    James Reynolds

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  8. #8
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Sadly, my assessment is that this is a case of "money wins." If any change comes, it will be the General Assembly redefining terms to allow one security perimeter for any building that houses a court room.

    I guess my question at this point would be is it worth it to even make any noise about it?

    TFred

  9. #9
    Regular Member ProShooter's Avatar
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    I will tell you that in my experience, Circuit Court judges tend to think that they control the entire building.
    James Reynolds

    NRA Certified Firearms Instructor - Pistol, Shotgun, Home Firearms Safety, Refuse To Be A Victim
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  10. #10
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProShooter View Post
    I will tell you that in my experience, Circuit Court judges tend to think that they control the entire building.
    I have absolutely no doubt that they do! That alone is almost enough to motivate me to bring the Virginia Supreme Court opinion to their attention. I'd love to see the reaction when the Clerk tells his judges that only the actual court rooms are under their control! It's not like you can really argue with the Supreme Court...

    TFred

  11. #11
    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    I have absolutely no doubt that they do! That alone is almost enough to motivate me to bring the Virginia Supreme Court opinion to their attention. I'd love to see the reaction when the Clerk tells his judges that only the actual court rooms are under their control! It's not like you can really argue with the Supreme Court...

    TFred
    They are not really arguing - just ignoring - and freely so.
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  12. #12
    Regular Member The Wolfhound's Avatar
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    Those Judges

    I have had it described to me and have seen much evidence to support that "A Circuit Court Judge is a law unto himself and answerable to no one". Appointed by friends and never answerable to the public at large. No, I do not see any changes coming, regardless of the clear breach of the law.
    Last edited by The Wolfhound; 08-14-2014 at 12:55 PM.
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