'Pest' control? Jailed blogger claims official mistreatment

news-strom-mugshot2Elisha Strom has spent 30 days in jail, but the time served didn't keep her out of jail for another five days.

The woman with a knack for getting under the skin of law enforcement is back in jail, and she claims the Albemarle Commonwealth's Attorney is "manipulating the system" to keep her incarcerated.

Hook readers may recall that Elisha Strom was arrested in late August for allegedly stalking an Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agent, but that's not the charge that landed her in jail near the end of September. Instead, the incarceration stems from her chronicles of JADE, the Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement task force.

Ever since Strom debuted her blog, I HeArTE JADE, in late 2008, she's found herself a target. Last year, she was jailed for publishing the address of an officer, something Virginia considers a Class 6 felony. (Noting that the information was publicly available, the ACLU claimed the law was unconstitutional.) Strom ultimately pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of obstruction of justice with a six-month suspended sentence. On October 15, 2009, she was arrested for violating the terms of that plea and convicted in May. She appealed.

Thinking that the penalty for violating a court order is 10 days and believing that the 30 days she had already spent in jail would count as time served, says Strom, she withdrew her appeal.

'When [Commonwealth's Attorney Denise Lunsford] found out I wasn't going to jail, she amended the charge," says Strom. "It's really manipulating the system."

Commonweath's Attorney Lunsford did not return repeated phone calls from the Hook.

In two hearings last week, a judge sentenced Strom September 24 to five days in jail over the next few weekends starting September 25. "It's absurd," says Strom.

A court-appointed lawyer expressed shock that his client has been sent to jail when the norm is that defendants get credit for time served.

"I would hope they don't treat her vindictively because they think she's a pest," says attorney Adam Rhea.

Rhea, defending Strom on the Greene County stalking charge, has filed a motion for the return of Strom's laptop, cellphone, camera, GPS, scanner power cord, and camera card, all of which were seized when she was arrested August 30 and have not been returned.

"The Supreme Court has tried to curb that practice," says Rhea, of police seizing items and getting a search warrant after the fact.

"Some of the stuff they seized, I don't see how they can claim an interest in," says Rhea. "A power cord? It seems they're trying to render things so she can't use them."

More worrisome to Rhea about the warrantless seizure and sidestepping of time served to put Strom in jail: "If they can do it to someone they consider a pest," he says, "they can do it to anyone."


I agree with "what to do?". But if you agree with "what to do?" Then you must also agree that Part of being American is to make sure the rights of police officers are respected because they are American citizens, even if you don't agree with them.

What we have here is a young indigent person who can't afford to seek out true and proper justice. And the cop shoppes and commonwealth attorneys know this. Had the right person(s) been publishing the JADE web page, the outcome of all of these cases would have been much different.

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I think both sides are guilty. One look at her I HeArT jadE blog and you can tell she ain't playing with a full deck. She snipes that the officers (and wife) who showed up at her court date obviously don't have anything better going on, well, the same could be said about her antics. If one was merely interested in keeping tabs on the JADE taskforce as a tax paying citizen then there wouldn't be a need to allegedly sleep with half the guys in it. It's not just about keeping tabs on public servents, the way some people like to spin it. This woman has issues. And to be fair I'm sure JADE has plenty of its own issues as well. A case of, "Pot, kettle...kettle, pot...."

She openly brags about sleeping with numerous officers, some of whom she uses to get inside documents and information on other officers she has an insane vendetta against. It's quite bizarre.

Here she crows about hurting the wife of one of the officers she now hates:


When law enforcement can illegally seize your belongings and then count on a judge supporting them after the fact, we are careening towards a police state.

Anybody with knowledge of the law care to comment on how the police can seize her property without a search warrant?

Maybe her behavior is giving scrutiny to people who think they are above the law....

Like Jade and Denise lumsford?

Keep up the good fight! I'd be happy to see JADE dissolved and the subsequent tax dollars spent somewhere better. Or, call me crazy, returned to the tax payers. I have no problem with citizens observing and documenting the activities of PUBLIC servants. Now we're wasting more tax dollars to incarcerate her. Incredible! Thousands of YOUR DOLLARS will be wasted to keep her in jail. And for what? Posting information freely available online!! It looks petty, it smells petty and you know what? It is petty. What a waste.


morrish, if we must walk 100 steps to arrive at a true "police state", the courts have already taken us by the hand and led us 60 of these steps. And it's all being done in the interest of "officer safety" and "terrorism".

It really disturbs me things were taken before a warrant was issued. The lady is a wack, however, JADE works for us. they should show respect for the law. If things were taken without a warrant the takers are guilty of armed robbery. Assuming the police had guns while removing the items. Police have to be following the law to a T. It is what keeps us civil.

Joe, items are seized from cars and homes every day before the issuance of a warrant(s). This is normal and perfectly acceptable. The cops simply have to justify having seized the items at some point in time. If the cop shoppe can not justify what they have done, it then pretty much becomes a civil matter. As in the defendant suing them for wrongful actions in the performance of their duties. But of course we're right back to Square 1 now, the defendant in this case does not seem to have the funds to take the cops on for any wrongful actions or seizures that may have taken place.

I basically agree with Boo. We need to have REAL investigative journalists and real public-spirited freedom-loving bloggers keeping tabs on our government employees who arrest and charge people -- they need to be kept honest and true and FIRED if they're not. (And maybe have their power scaled back even if they are honest.)

But Elisha Strom IS NOT doing this; she is HURTING the cause of real independent watchdogs in the eyes of the public with her antics.

And she *was* involved in a road rage incident in 2007 in which she emptied a gun at a guy she thought was trying to run her off the road. So I can see why her stalking etc. makes some of these officers worried.

Update for Max: The State Prison on Spring Street in Richmond has been gone (demolished) for years. But before that, it was there for a long, long time.

I want her to get locked up for messin with authority, but, aint that what happens in communist countries?

I definitely do not see myself ever dating her!!

is this how you want your tax dollars spent? those of you who make this an issue, including the police, are giving credence to what this woman does. she is harmless. its just that the" good old boy" club doesn't like her. they are missing a basic tactic. DO NOT give her media attention and she will go away. this really is a redneck community sometimes.

Why is this female such a pain in the a..? Seems to me she needs a stretch in a real jail - like the State Prison in Richmond. She might think hard before making such trouble for the police. She obviously believes this is all a game that the police are not playing to her satisfaction. All this aside from her being obviouly mentally unstable.

It does seem like this lady is being harassed. But, every time we read about her, her past and her creepy, racist, pedo ex-husband get written about. She is portrayed as a less than sympathetic character and people just don't get upset about her rights (and potentially OURS) being violated. Part of being American is making sure the rights of citizens, even those we don't agree with, are respected.

Balancing the rights of the citizen to be free from illegal search and seizure against the "rights" of a police officer to perform his duty is not hard. All the officer and the citizen have to do is follow the rules. For a citizen to speak out, protest, make noise, be obnoxious when that officer breaks the rules and does otherwise is an act of democracy, heroism and masochism.

The citizen is most often viewed as a misfit, troublemaker, malcontent, mentally unstable person who does not know how to "respect the law." Infact, though, it is the police officer who has not respected the law. The police officer is not the law.

He is merely , if you will pardon the expression, a tool of the law. He enforces it. He should not be breaking it.

It matters not one WHIT whether the person calling him on it is
likable, smart, pretty, a virgin, a whore, has a life, doesn't have a life, is a REPUBLICAN, is a DEMOCRAT, is from the south, is from the north, whether her husband was this or her husband was that. It has nothing to do with her.



That was what America USED to be about.