9 days: Dumler goes in for chunk of jail time
If you're a county supervisor trying to put a dent in a 30-day jail sentence, Friday, April 12, might seem like a good time to knock off nine days because the Board of Supervisors won't meet again until May 1. Supervisor Chris Dumler will be serving time from April 12 until April 21, according to Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail.
The initial crowd of journalists and protesters has died down since Dumler first began serving weekends March 8 for his sexual battery conviction. But spending 15 weekends in jail must get old, and given that he gets the first weekend off every month to serve in his JAG reserve unit, that puts him into July before he has a weekend to chill and not do time.
"He's still a member of the Army Reserve legal command," says Reserve spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Matt Lawrence. And when a reservist is convicted of a crime that occurs while not on duty, he or she is subject to an administrative process, which has a wide range of options, from doing nothing to discharge, explains Lawrence. "There is an administrative process that's open," he says.
Dumler did not respond to Hook requests for comment.
After Dumler's first weekend in jail, Lieutenant Colonel Martin Kumer at the jail asked a judge to change his starting time on Fridays from 6:30pm to 4:30pm– and not tell the public about it, citing "information we have received from the Albemarle County Police Department that Mr. Dumler's house was recently shot at by an unknown person," according to a court document. Judge William Barkley denied that request March 15.
The alleged death threat was first made public by then vice-chair of Albemarle Democrats Cynthia Neff in explaining why Dumler would not appear at a February 16 Dem breakfast. At that point, the alleged death threat had not been reported to police.
Some Dumler critics are skeptical. Randolph Byrd says that according to sources he's spoken with familiar with the case, "He heard some gunfire. I'm sorry, he lives in southern Albemarle. I hear gunfire daily."
The lack of information about the alleged threat perplexes Byrd. "A death threat is someone shooting into your house," he says. "If someone is firing bullets into a home, the public has a right to know. That's a dangerous situation."
"There was no evidence found regarding gunfire," says Albemarle police spokesperson Carter Johnson on April 15.
"We were investigating threats to Chris Dumler," says Johnson. "We assigned a detective and we took it very seriously. The case has been suspended and we've exhausted all leads."
In more Dumler news, his attorney, Jessica Phillips, filed a demurrer April 15 that objects to the 500-plus citizen-signed petition seeking his removal for "admitted and documented questionable behavior." Virginia code requires that a petition for the removal of an elected official state "with reasonable accuracy and detail the grounds or reasons for removal." The petition does not, says the demurrer.
Phillips also filed a motion to strike the bill of particulars that special prosecutor Mike Doucette submitted on April 11. In the bill of particulars, Doucette recounts the Dumler saga since he was arrested October 18 and jailed for forcible sodomy, including the canceled townhall meetings, the censure from his fellow supes, and his recusal from voting on Scottsville-centric issues like the police gun range in Keene as examples of neglect that had a "material adverse effect upon the conduct of his office."
There's no legal authority for the commonwealth to file a bill of particulars "to correct, modify, or otherwise amend a previously filed petition," argues Dumer's lawyer.
He's scheduled to be in court again May 20.
Updated April 15 with Dumler's U.S. Army Reserve status and the suspension of the death threat investigation.
Updated April 16 with the latest Dumler-removal-from-office court filings.Read more on: Chris Dumler