No contact: JADE blogger takes plea

news-elisha-stromForbidden from following JADE officers around, Elisha Strom still questions the task force's effectiveness.

Elisha Strom, the woman whose month in jail for blogging caught the attention of the nation's top civil rights organization, pleaded guilty Thursday in Albemarle General District Court to two counts of obstruction of justice.

"Yay," exclaimed the fuchsia-haired Strom after the hearing at which she received a six-month suspended sentence in Albemarle, and a 60-day suspended sentence for the Charlottesville charge.

Strom had downplayed her I HeArTE JADE blog and her surveillance of the Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement task force officer as a "hobby," but her publication of the name, address, and photographs of an officer's home–- although obtained from public records–- brought her a felony charge of intention to harass or intimidate under an obscure Virginia law that the ACLU says is unconstitutional.

That charge was followed by an obstruction of justice charge September 2 from Charlottesville, which alleges she interfered with a July 9 undercover drug buy at Belmont Park.

In the plea agreement, the Class 6 felony charge in Albemarle was reduced to misdemeanor obstruction of justice.

As part of the plea and suspended sentence, she's ordered to stay far–- at least 300 yards–- from JADE premises and its officers' homes and ordered not to contact the officers, including Virginia State Police Special Agent Jason Trent, who investigated the case.

"It had gotten to the point she was following family members," says Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Chapman. "It's unnerving. People who do important jobs [for the government] need to be free from fear."

"These guys are such cupcakes," retorts Strom.

Strom says a risk assessment conducted on her after the charges were filed discounted any notion that she would harm the officers.

"They said I was a threat," says Strom. "They knew all along I wasn't dangerous."

She also disputes the notion that she interfered with the Belmont Park bust that ended in a low-speed chase.

"In a drug context, that's a very sensitive operation," says Chapman. "Someone could get hurt or killed. She's there driving around. The appearance of the same vehicle could spook the target."

"There is no way I obstructed that," says Strom. "I was parked–- the pictures show I was in one spot."

Strom says she decided to accept the plea when she began feeling like she was fighting for a free speech issue that people really don't care about.

"The court of public opinion had already convicted me," she maintains. "They never think it's going to happen to them."

Strom says she didn't initially see the case as a free speech issue until plea negotiations began and the prosecution wanted her to take down her blog.

"They wanted no future blogs and no discussion of the task force on the Internet," says Strom, who balked at the conditions.

Under the revised plea, Strom agrees to take down the address and photo of the JADE officer's house–- which she says she got off the Albemarle County website–-  and post no new photos of JADE men from October 15 on. She expects to have her computer back in a week, and plans to finish the blog.

"It ends with, 'Uh-oh. They're here.'" remembers Strom, who's been computer-less since her July 16 arrest.

And after that for the woman who's married to, but estranged from Kevin Strom, once a leading figure in the white separatist movement whom she helped convict on one count of child porn possession?

"I'll have to find a new hobby," says Strom.


ps - by the way, I may be wrong, but I think both cases were disposed of on the General District Court level?

Armchair, there is of course an exception to the rule. As in Alford plea. It's still a plea agreement. The defendant does not admit the act and continues to assert innocence, but admits that sufficient evidence may exist which could likely convince a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty.

I wonder if an Alford plea was involved here? Elisha???

"brought her a felony charge of intention to harass or intimidate under an obscure Virginia law that the ACLU says is unconstitutional."


...and you wonder why the ACLU is known by many as the American Criminal Liberties Union?

Quite a few people were interested in the outcome of your cases after trial. And after appeal if it ever rose to that point. With your plea agreement, you deprived all of us of the final outcome, namely, did you actually commit a crime or not? :)

I also don't enjoy court battles. I had much better things I could have been doing for the last decade. But, I was basically forced into each and every court battle I had to participate in. Both as a wrongfully accused defendant in the beginning, and as a plaintiff during the resulting lawsuits. And many of the decent honest truthful cops I know encouraged me and backed me 100%. If you were a psychic who had predicted 15 years ago that I would been suing 8 different cops and 2 civilians over the last decade in numerous wrongful arrest, malicious prosecution and libel lawsuits, I would have called you totally crazy.

Now that it's almost over, with what I consider to be the biggest and best lawsuit still pending, I feel comfortable in the fact that I have already been vindicated in the minds of anybody that really keeps up with local news and events.

Mr/Mrs/Miss Yet, sadly enough, you are 100% correct. Thanks to the taxpayers, the system has unlimited funds at their disposal.

And yes, as you say, plea agreements have placed a lot of innocent people in jail. A lot of people simply don't have the money to take on the system. And they don't have the money to sue the cops involved once thay are cleared of wrongful or malicious charges as well.

Furthermore, if people do have the funds for a successful legal defense, and they do have the funds to file wrongful arrest and malicious prosecution lawsuits, the system still has unlimited taxpayer funds to fight these lawsuits tooth and nail for 5 to 7 years. The system tries to bankrupt the defendant who has now become a plaintiff in the lawsuits against the system and their actors.

You do raise an interesting question though. How much does the system invest in time and money to defend the behaviors, wrongful arrests and self serving malicious prosecutions of innocent citizens? I am somewhat of a self ordained expert on this. After having been a sworn deputy sheriff for almost three decades, and then being subjected to a handful of false arrests and malicious prosecutions myself, I would estimate the system's tab just in my cases alone to be close to or exceed $2,000,000 in fees along the way and awards paid out at the conclusion of my various lawsuits against them once the criminal charges were laughed out of court by competent judges. For whatever reason, the system has spent a fortune of the taxpayer's money trying to convict me of a crime, any crime, it seems to make no difference to them what they convict me of. They have tried felonies and misdemeanors. They've even tried some false charges that a judge in a coma in a hospital room on life support wouldn't possibly convict me of. That's how desperate they have been for the last decade. And the taxpayer has footed their bills for the last decade, every penny of them in actual costs and awards paid out. (In the out of court settlements of my various lawsuits against the system, I can not disclose how much they paid me, and they of course can continue to admit no wrongdoing as part of the settlements.)

I have sympathy for any person who doesn't have the money to fight the system. I guess you're right, maybe Strom simply didn't have it.

The system is a sham; I don’t need a ââ?¬Å?victory” in such a thing to tell me I’ve won.

While I am neither unhappy nor happy with pleading to the obstruction charges, JADE and their sycophants are most definitely not happy.

I didn’t give in. I got out from under their collective thumb.

The war on drugs is over and the government lost. It wasn't even close. With all the billions spent on "enforcement," I guess they need to try to put something in the "W" column, however they can get it. Doesn't surprise me they'd go after a woman who doesn't even traffic in drugs.


Really Expert, I am not at all surprised she wimped out. How long was she in jail? And how much does she have to spend on this? A hostile legal system does/will intimidate everyone. Plead guilty to a misdemeanor or face the possibility of returning to jail? Obviously she could not afford to post bail. In this town you can't afford to be right, there is only duck and cover...
Think of Austin and Silva... geez, how much did the "legal system" invest in time and reporter harrassment to defend the indefensible behavior of the arresting officer?
As far as freedom of the press. A reporter being subpeonaed to provide testify hearsay? Well, this tactic has apparently worked, as I note the Hook has not reported the recent controversial arrest of a certain person after breaking a car window to get to her.
I was hoping for a change with Lunsford, but it becomes apparent to me that she alone cannot change a rampently corrupt "legal" system, that the elected office of the District Attorney does not hire and FIRE inept law enforcement officers. The actions of questionable officers are defended by this office, probably simply to limit liabailty of the actions of said officers, and so the conspiracy of bullying continues, abet perhaps less publicized now, as the Hook has displayed by their lack of attention to the latest KNOWN act of "valor" by Albemarles/Charlottesville's "finest".

I am with you Elisha, the system is a sham, and for yourself, you did the right thing. I am sorry you spent any time in jail over such a stupid charge. But understand, the sham system is working, for the bullying police that is....
And Expert, I am glad you had competent judges. My understanding is that there are few of these, and that the local judges are supportive of the police, right or wrong. This is certainly evident in several recent cases, as so much time is spent on cases which can only be defined as travesties of justice.

Mr/Mrs/Miss Yet, the advantage I had was the fact I had been a sworn deputy sheriff for so long. The average citizen does not have this benefit.

In one false arrest the judge declared the testimony from certain cops as being "diametrically opposed" to the testimony of other cops. People can assume whatever they want, but to me the judge was calling half of them liars to their face in open court. And he was correct in doing so.

In another case, a judge told his baliff that he could not believe an "entire chain of police command" had just committed perjury in his courtroom. This judge retired shortly thereafter. I to this day still wonder if he was fed up with the entire system. I personally think he had finally realized he didn't know who to trust in the witness box.

Self Ordained Expert wrote: "Quite a few people were interested in the outcome of your cases after trial. And after appeal if it ever rose to that point. With your plea agreement, you deprived all of us of the final outcome"

Should I run my car high-speeed into a tree just because the rubberneckers are interested in finding out whether I end up decapitated or simply sustain a mere broken bone instead? I'm thinkin' no.

Self Ordained Expert wrote: "namely, did you actually commit a crime or not?"

It would seem, according to the two convictions, I did, in fact, commit a crime.


According to the two convictions, I did not, in fact, commit the crime they attempted to charge me with.


Self Ordained Expert,

Ah, well. I've gotten some spectacular driving lessons from JADE Detective Jon McKay -- aka Porn Star -- so I'd have to say any of their (your?) fantasies of my demise-by-tree would be rather unrealistic.

Say what you will, but there is no way on God's Green Earth I would ever accept a plea agreement in any case like this. I still don't get it. The city and county can legally publish a cop's name, address and photos of his residence, but it's a crime when a person republishes the exact same information?

I feel very strongly about this. Three different cop shoppes put my entire family in danger when they published my address while I was still an active sworn deputy sheriff in Virginia. Do I have any enemies from my career as a deputy sheriff? I don't honestly know. I don't think so due to the nature of my employment. But it sure seems I have left behind a few enemies wearing badges and guns.

Not only this, but they placed me in grave danger when they walked around my house peeping in windows while attempting to serve a false arrest warrant late one cold night in February of 2005. (Yes, they testified in open court that they had walked around my home trying to peep in the windows.) They had parked the patrol cars out of sight. One of my dogs alerted me to their presence. Once I got dressed and went to the door, all I could see was three people in dark clothing walking around my house outside. What if I had gone outside with a handgun to defend myself and my property? Thank God, and for whatever reason, I went outside without a handgun. Considering what could have happened on a simple misdemeanor false arrest, I am lucky to be alive right now.

Having been a deputy sheriff for almost three decades, with no criminal history or history of violence whatsoever, what was wrong with these rookie cops calling me and asking me to report to the Magistrate's Office to meet them? They had no trouble two nights later calling me and asking me to meet them on Main Street to discuss an issue directly related to the false arrest.

I support good honest cops all day long. But some of the tactics this newfounded brand of rookie use nowadays are way over the top. And then to see them stand up in open court and lie under oath, that's way over the top. In order to make me appear a bad guy and raise their chances at a successful conviction, they attempted to tell the judge I live in a fortified bunker with a complete surveillance system of my surroundings. They also attempted to tell the judge I had "police radios" sitting everywhere. As if buying, refurbishing, and selling Motorola two way radios as a hobby makes one a criminal. It's just plain insane the way a small percentage of cops conduct themselves lately.

Mr/Mrs/Miss Yet, of course I can reveal the details. Over the course of a decade (1997 to 2005), and after having been a sworn deputy sheriff for decades, I was charged with three felonies and three misdemeanors. All of them were exceptionally hilarious. And all of them were highly publicized locally. And yes, I was embarrassed to death by all this sloppy police work and foolishness. And yes, my family was embarrased to death as well.

No convictions whatsoever. Lawsuits filed in each and every case. In total, 8 cops sued, 2 civilians sued.

Every lawsuit against any cop, except one, has settled out of court before the jury trial dates set aside to hear my claims. One lawsuit is still pending and I definitely want a jury trial in it. There was a default judgement (plus running interest) against an ex-cop civilian for libel. And there was a judgement (plus running interest) awarded against another civilian for libel.

The out of court settlements have two stipulations. First, I can not divulge how much I have been paid in either compensatory or punitive damages. Secondly, the cops involved can continue to deny any wrongdoing.

Anytime a plea is accepted in Circuit Court the judge asks a list of questions including the following question, "Are you in fact pleading guilty because you are in fact guilty?" This question requires a yes or no answer. Based on this answer there are follow up questions. These questions are always asked as standard operating procedure. So basically Ms. Strom is now on here stating that she pretty much prejured herself so she could get the disposition of the case she wanted. Ms. Strom prejury is also a crime. To take back control would not be an acceptable answer in any court during a plea bargin.

Elisha, as I get older I forget the details about seemingly trivial matters. Is McKay the one who shot himself in the leg at the police range? Or was that somebody else?

I can't help but think there's a couple of people sitting around high-fiving each other and giggling about your suggestion of running your car into a tree at high speed! :)

Self Ordained Expert wrote: "The city and county can legally publish a cop’s name, address and photos of his residence, but it’s a crime when a person republishes the exact same information?"

Publishing such information isn't the crime. The crime is the publication with the intent to harass, coerce, or intimidate. It's one of them there loopholes for the powers that be to use to harass, coerce, or intimidate any thorn in their side. Perhaps some day that ammunition will be removed from their arsenal.

If someone wants to take the Task Force to task, I believe there are better places to do so than in the courtrooms they own.

So, did you have the intent to harass, coerce or intimidate JADE members?

If not, why accept a plea agreement?

If they claim you had the intent to intimidate them, I would say the same is true for the city and county governments. It's pretty intimidating when they publish cop's names, addresses and photos of their residences. Complete with a map feature. Maybe any sworn law enforcement officer should be exempt from publication in city and county online taxes.

Self Ordained Expert wrote: "So, did you have the intent to harass, coerce or intimidate JADE members?"

That seems to be one of the big questions.

Self Ordained Expert wrote: "If not, why accept a plea agreement?"

I've already said why -- to take away their control of me. Being indefinitely deprived of my LEO guys, and forbidden computer and Internet access, was intolerable.

I'm glad you were successful in your own legal endeavors; you seem to be pleased with your outcomes. I, however, don’t dig court battles. Even if you win, you still lose.

That is one crazy lookin individual.

Er..I mean as a work of fiction. And Elisha, be careful of driving.

Expert, I don't know, you won, but you still can't reveal the details. Hmm.. Can you ever? Or has your freedom become permanently restricted? If you ever can, I think there may be a book in it. For that matter, you could always write a work of fiction.

WoW! I never expected Strom to whimp out and give in.

It's obvious the only reason an attractive plea agreement was offered to Strom was to keep her from going all the way and winning at trial or on appeal. I saw it coming.

I guess it also proves that the city and county can print a cop's name, his/her address (with map feature), the value of their home, along with color photos.... all on the Internet in "online tax records".... and it's legal. A civilian reprints the information and it's a crime.

Self Ordained Expert wrote: ââ?¬Å?Secondly, the cops involved can continue to deny any wrongdoing.”

I’ve read many of the comments you’ve made about what happened to you. (I even named you, and also Gerry Mitchell, the wheelchair-bound pedestrian that got clobbered by the local cop then ticketed hours later, specifically in an interview with The Hook, as examples of Charlottesville’s and surrounding counties’ defamation and bullying tactics.) I find it curious that -- unless I’ve missed it somewhere -- you don’t name the cops involved in your situation. Why not?

Self Ordained Expert wrote: ââ?¬Å?Is McKay the one who shot himself in the leg at the police range?”

Not sure. I have buckets of both useless and useful information on McKay, but there’s still stuff about him I don’t know. I do know he was one of the policemen in that botched English Inn bust where JADE forgot to lock the adjoining door of the hotel room and their target caught them, so, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was McKay who shot himself in the leg.

O. G. Armchair Quarterback wrote: "Anytime a plea is accepted in Circuit Court"

I wasn't in Circuit Court.

I didn't even speak. The judge was handed a piece of paper that I signed agreeing to the conditions -- which I've listed on I HeArTE JADE.

Rather than the Ms.-Strom-perjury smear, you probably should've gone with the she-looks-crazy-she-must-be-guilty BS instead. You see, stating one is not guilty of a crime one has never been convicted of is hardly perjury, whereas anyone who has seen pictures of me would agree my appearance is ugly psycho.

I just don't think real names are that important.

Much like you, I do have nicknames for all of them though.

My daughter laughs and calls one of them "orange Hair" every time she sees him in traffic. It's the same one I have always called "the red headed stepchild". I think he holds the local record for having had the most lawsuits filed against him. If he doesn't hold the record, I feel confident he's in the top 2.

One of them, a former JADE cop who eventually got fired.... well, he's "Lover Boy". There's never been a female within a 100 mile radius that he thought wasn't sexually attracted to him. A lot of cops think they are God's Gift to women. (25 and 30 years ago I guess I was guilty of this attitude too!)

Another is "Duck Legs". Most cops even know who this nickname refers to. He waddles like a duck when he walks. :)

Another is known as "Lt Motor Oil" to me. There's a very old and a very long story behind this nickname. He sat in a witness box and lied like a dog. Had we anticipated the lies he was going to fabricate, there would have been a Virginia State Police Lt. there to impeach his testimony.

And one, while I have only seen her face to face one time in my life.... her nickname is "Dumb As A Rock". She allowed a few cops to put a leash around her neck and parade her around as their "Attack Dog"! I actually have sympathy for her, the way she allowed them to use her.

The other 98% of the cops.... nickname or no nickname, they're simply honest decent hard working folks.