Workers‘ compensation schemes across the country, including in Virginia, were established for the important purpose of creating a streamlined system whereby employees who suffered an injury in the course of employment could, irrespective of fault, recover some monetary relief therefor and whereby employers would be simultaneously protected from potentially crippling financial liability.Read more
Sweet Briar College was established over a century ago by the will of a prominent Virginia landowner, Indiana Fletcher Williams, as an institute for the education of young women. Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains on a breath-taking 3250-acre former plantation, the campus is a National Historic District and home to twenty-one buildings on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places. Chartered in 1901 by the Virginia General Assembly, the school officially opened its doors in 1906.Read more
In recent years, Virginia‘s filial responsibility law has been used for purposes not contemplated by its original architects. For example, it has allowed a brother, who had run his mother‘s finances into the ground, to sue his sister to hold her liable for his financial mistakes, burdening her with substantial litigation fees. The law has provided a forum for a stepfather to retaliate against his wife‘s children after the children petitioned the court to replace him as their mother‘s guardian.Read more
In 1984 in Richmond, Virginia, Thomas Haynesworth was convicted of raping two women and indicted for raping three others. The first rape occurred on January 3, 1984. The assailant attacked his victim at her place of employment, threatened her with a knife, and raped her. On January 21, another woman was sodomized and robbed at knife point in Richmond. On January 30, a man pointed a gun at a woman and forced her into a secluded wood. The man forced the woman to orally sodomize him. He also unsuccessfully attempted to rape her. While committing these crimes, the gunman told the woman this was not his first time, but he usually used a knife rather than a gun. On February 1, a gunman confronted a woman in front of her Richmond home, and forced her back inside.Read more
W. Hamilton Bryson
I take as my text and begin with Chapter 29 of the final version of Magna Carta of 1225, which reads as follows:
No free man shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised of any freehold or of liberties or free customs . . . except by the lawful judgment . . . of his peers or by the law of the land . . . to no one shall we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice.
This is said to be one of only three parts of the Great Charter still in force in Great Britain. But this is rightly so, for it is the heart and soul of the statute.
This text ensures that a person’s property, body, and reputation will not be taken away before and without a trial in a court of law in which the judge observes the law and the due process thereof. This requires hearing the evidence and the arguments of all of the parties, after which, the judge applies the law to the facts of a case in order to reach a decision.Read more
Paul G. Gill
Recent amendments to Virginia law made confidential and exempt from the Freedom of Information Act identifying information for those who contract with the Commonwealth to compound drugs necessary to carry out an execution by lethal injection. The amendments were not without controversy. But debating whether to identify or cloak those who help an execution take place deflects attention from the real legislative question about capital punishment: Does it have benefits which outweigh its costs, financial and otherwise? This article briefly explores that question, suggesting that if execution is examined by evidence-based standards we otherwise commonly apply to sentencing, the answer is clear.Read more
In 2013 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (“IPCC”) released an assessment report which stated the “warming of the climate system is unequivocal.” This certainty reflects years of data showing the global average surface temperature has been steadily increasing, and the past decade has been the warmest on record. This rise in temperature has been linked to a myriad of catastrophic current and future events that will negatively affect the world we live in. Just a few of these impacts, recognized by the IPCC, are: the dropping of agricultural yields, the spreading of diseases, the displacement of people living on coastlines, and the increase of weather related disasters.Read more
Complex systems are constantly creating unpredictable phenomena that change and shape the world around us. These systems are comprised of relatively simple components whose interactions, controlled by no central authority, are guided by simple rules that give rise to complex behavior patterns and adaptation. Historically, scientists used reductionism as the primary means of understanding complex problems. This method attempts to make sense of the whole by dividing it into its smallest components, studying them from simplest to most complex, and putting them back together until the complete picture is seen.Read more
It is an honor and a thrill to be back here in a community I love at a school that made such a difference in my life and that still feels like home to me. I want to offer just very briefly one reflection from my career in government, then a piece of advice about public service.Read more
Todd A. Berger *
Some years ago in a courtroom in Philadelphia, I found myself in a rather troubling predicament. My client threatened to stab me with a pen. I was his defense attorney. My client had been charged with a gunpoint robbery. He was picked out of a random photo array by the complainant a few days after the incident occurred. If we lost the trial, he was going to receive a sentence of at least ten to twenty years in prison.Read more