Charlottesville Breaking News

Confidentiality or censorship? Cav Daily slapped with conduct charges

When the members of the managing board of the Cavalier Daily discovered they had a plagiarist on staff, they turned the offending writer over to the Honor Committee– and published an editorial informing readers.

Now that same board of student journalists finds itself hauled up before the University Judiciary Committee for allegedly violating the confidentiality of the pending Honor case. It's the first time the 121-year-old student newspaper has faced such charges in a case that pits two of the university's most cherished Jeffersonian ideals: its Honor Code and a free press. 

"I was shocked," says Cavalier Daily editor Jason Ally. "That's what my entire staff felt."

The editorial was published Monday, September 12, after what Ally describes as a marathon weekend during which the managing board had wrestled with the thorny issue of coming clean on the plagiarism within the framework of UVA's vaunted Honor Code and its mandate of confidentiality. They decided not to provide readers with the name, gender, or even the section of the paper for which the alleged word thief wrote.

Still, Honor Committee chair Ann Marie McKenzie contended that the editorial violated the University’s Standards of Conduct, and she filed charges with the University Judiciary Committee, a.k.a. UJC, which handles non-Honor student infractions. (The Hono...

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Drug or treat? Taubes headlines 'sugar busting' event

Charlottesville City School Board candidate Ivana Kadija hasn't been quiet about her mission: restricting sugar in schools. In an event tonight dubbed "The Case Against Sugar," Kadija's bringing in an anti-sugar big-gun: Gary Taubes, bestselling author of Why We Get Fat: And What to do About It and Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health. 

Taubes has spent the past decade researching the implications of sugar and believes its massive overabundance in the American diet is at the root of the obesity epidemic and accompanying diseases including diabetes and hypertension. A correspondent for Science Magazine, Taubes has written extensively for the New York Times and is the only three-time recipient of the Science in Society Journalism Award of the National Association of Science Writers.

Following Taubes presentation, a panel discussion moderated by this reporter and an audience Q&A will take place featuring, in addition to Taubes, local family physician Dr. Gregory Gelburd; UVA Associate Research Director Dr. Matthew Trowbridge, who sits on the Advisory Board of the National Policy & Legal Analysis Network (NPLAN) to Prevent Childhood Obesity; Dr. Barbara Stitt...

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Tough judge: Caravati court known for harsh sentencing

Former Mayor Blake Caravati made his first appearance in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on Friday, September 16, but details of the incident that led to his being charged with spousal assault on September 9 may remain cloaked until trial.

After waiting quietly in the courtroom for nearly an hour for a tardy Judge Dwight Johnson to arrive, the 60-year-old commercial contractor and prominent local Democrat, dressed in a sportcoat and slacks, was among the first called to the bench, where Charlottesville Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Elizabeth Killeen announced that, due to a conflict in her office, Greene County prosecutor Ronald Morris will handle the state's case.

If questions linger about the details of Caravati's alleged crime, his potential punishment also remains a question, and anyone familiar with Johnson's judicial record might ask– hyperbolically, one hopes– if Caravati could be the second mayor hanged for a crime against his wife.

As longtime readers of the Hook may recall, 107 years ago, Mayor Samuel McCue was hanged for the bludgeoning, strangling, and shooting death of his wife, Fannie. While Caravati isn't accused of anything so extreme– he's facing a single misdemeanor charge for assaulting his spouse...

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Fraternity fall: Horrific outcome as balcony rail breaks

The wooden railing surrounding a University of Virginia fraternity's covered concrete porch appears to have collapsed–- or at least pulled away from the surrounding columns–- under the weight of some partygoers early on the morning of September 24 in an incident that resulted in a life-threatening head injury to a James Madison University student.

Emergency records indicate that the Charlottesville Albemarle Rescue Squad received a call at 2:28am Saturday about the incident at the Pi Kappa Alpha house at 513 Rugby Road.

There, says Charlottesville Police spokesperson Ronnie Roberts, rescue personnel, including officials from the Charlottesville Fire Department, found two injured males– one conscious and one unconscious. Both head injury victims, he says, were transported to the University of Virginia Medical Center.

Police identified the less seriously injured man as 18-year-old UVA student Corey P. Milner of Ashburn, Virginia, and the critically injured one as 20-year-old Joseph A. Gabro, also of Ashburn. By presstime on Tuesday, September 27, the UVA student had been released, and the condition of the JMU student had been upgraded to "fair," according to a Medical Center official.

Although the lot slopes sharply away from Rugby Road, the spot on the terrace where the railing gave way stands just a single story above the fraternity driveway, a testament to the destructive power of gravity in an unintended fall.

City rec...

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Sanctions: Allied Concrete attorneys want $900K in legal fees

The tragic day in 2007 when an Allied Concrete mixer crossed paths on Route 53 with the car of a young married couple, it took more than 25-year-old Jessica Scott Lester's life. Today her widower faces sanctions and possible perjury charges, and the career of the well-respected attorney who represented him has ended in shambles.

"Don't worry about sanctions," attorney Matt Murray wrote in an email to his client, Isaiah Lester, which was read in opening and closing statements by opposing counsel. "If we get sanctioned, after the trial, you'll have plenty of money to pay it."

After any elation and vindication Jessica Lester's husband and parents may have felt with the record $10.6 million wrongful-death verdict in December 2010, nearly a year later, the case has turned sharply.

A judge sliced Isaiah Lester's $8.58 million award almost in half and ordered monetary sanctions against Lester and Murray for spoliation of evidence during the trial, an amount the attorneys representing Allied Concrete's insurance company put at over $900,000.

Amid the dozen or so lawyers at the sanctions hearing September 23 in Charlottesville Circuit Cour...

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