Bar busts blogger
A Richmond lawyer says he will appeal a sanction issued by a Virginia State Bar committee over his blog. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that a disciplinary committee of the bar gave Horace Frazier Hunter a public admonition on Tuesday. Hunter also must take corrective action within 30 days. The committee found that Hunter's failure to post an advertising disclaimer on his blog, which is on his firm's website, violated professional rules of conduct. The committee also found that Hunter disclosed detrimental or embarrassing information about clients without their consent in violation the rules. Hunter contends that the ad disclaimer is a violation of his free-speech rights because his blog consists of news and commentary. He also says he didn't violate any confidences by posting the information, which was disclosed during public trials.
Virginia's unemployment rate increased for the third time in more than a year in September, but still remains below the national average. The U.S. Labor Department said Friday that the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in September was 6.5 percent, up from 6.3 percent in August but down from 6.7 percent a year ago. Virginia's seasonally adjusted jobless rate has increased since a rate of 6 percent in June after having decreased since peaking at 7.2 percent from December 2009 to February 2010. The national rate remained at 9.1 percent for the third straight month as unemployment rates fell in half of U.S. states last month.
First black justice
An official swearing-in ceremony is set for the Virginia Supreme Court's first black female justice. The investiture of Justice Cleo Powell is set for Friday afternoon at the Supreme Court building in Richmond. The General Assembly last winter elected the 54-year-old Powell to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Leroy Hassell Senior. Before joining the Supreme Court, Powell served more than two years on the Virginia Court of Appeals. She previously served as a circuit court and general district court judge for Chesterfield County and Colonial Heights.
A Manassas woman who faked the kidnapping of herself and a 1-year-old girl she had been caring for in Guatemala has been sentenced to two years in prison. Thirty-four-year-old Sheena Flores pleaded guilty to the extortion scheme earlier this year in federal court in Alexandria. According to court records, Flores moved to Guatemala in 2009 to care for a baby girl that she believed had been fathered by her husband. In July 2010, Flores told her parents and her husband that she and the girl had been kidnapped and were being held for $10,000 ransom. The FBI investigated and the husband sent a $3,000 payment to Guatemala. In court papers, Flores' lawyers said she was motivated by a misguided desire to retain custody of the girl.
Bicycle enthusiasts are rallying around a German cyclist who's in a coma after a truck struck him as he rode along a western Virginia road. Michael Sprick has been on life support at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital since Oct. 8, when a commercial truck hit the 40-year-old cyclist as he rode along Virginia 100 in Pulaski County. Sprick was on a 10-week cycling tour of the United States. Since then, bicycling enthusiasts from West Virginia, Roanoke and elsewhere have offered lodging, financial donations, and other help. The Roanoke Times reports that Richard Marchant of Marion has been charged with reckless driving and driving on a suspended license.
The North Anna Nuclear plant has been approved to restart, according to Dominion Resources Inc. officials. The plant halted operations after an Aug. 23 earthquake, but Dominion inspectors have determined the plant is safe to operate. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission must also complete their evaluation of the facility before the plant will be restarted.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.