United States of America v. Jose Santiago

Judge Jones oversaw the United States of America v. Jose Santiago on April 18, 2011.  Santiago, a federal inmate has been serving time since 2007 for possession and intent to distribute heroin, as well as for intent to distribute it in prison.  He brought his claim on the 18th that there were errors in the court and his counsel was ineffective when he was charged.  Judge Jones found that based on the requirements necessary to prove error in ineffective counsel, Santiago was far from having a case.

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Patsy Edmonds Smith v. City of Galax

Judge Jones oversaw Patsy Edmonds Smith v. the City of Galax on April 14, 2011.  Smith alleged that she was fired after 19 years of employment as a dispatcher for the Galax Police Department because she’s a 58-year-old divorced woman. The judge favored both for, and against, Smith.

Originally, she filed a complaint under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which the city was granted in dismissing.  However, Judge Jones gave Smith the opportunity to file an Amended Complaint with more facts displaying her discrimination.  This court case saw Smith’s new complaint, and the city’s wish to dismiss this as well.

After hearing both arguments, Judge Jones ruled that because Smith’s replacement at her old employment was a woman as well, there was no discrimination based on gender.  However, he found that Smith was indeed fired because she was approaching the opportunity to gain retirement benefits, and that an employee before her was fired for the same reason.  With that knowledge, Judge Jones denied the city’s motion to dismiss.

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Roanoke Police Department Investigates Homicide/Suicide

A woman was found shot and killed on Roanoke Avenue on March 20, 2011.  Roanoke Police found Heather Dehart, 40, dead at the scene.

Shortly after, just a block from where Dehart was found, police located Terry Wayne Dehart, 44, after he shot himself. He was taken to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital and was pronounced dead on March 31.

Click here to read the police release.

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United States v. Sherman

Judge Jones oversaw the United States v. Sherman case on April 11, 2011.  In this case, Francis David Sherman was charged with failing to register and update his Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act at the correct time, as well as for updating his travel out of both the state and country.  Sherman was denied his attempt to have this charge dismissed.

Both in 1981 and 1998, Sherman was convicted of rape and deviant sexual assault.  He was initially registered as a sex offender with the Virginia State Police in 2008, and notified of his obligation to update his registration every 90 days.  Sherman complied with his first update, but the second, scheduled for April 8, 2009, was never made.

Before that date, Sherman allegedly stole a credit card and automobile and left Virginia with his girlfriend, eventually making it to Canada.  He was arrested in September of 2010.

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Roanoke Police Department Investigates Aggravated Assault

Eighteen year old, Wesley Eric Phillips was found with a gunshot wound in the 3900 block of Maine Avenue by Roanoke Police.  The officers responded at midnight on March 28, 2011 to a call from a resident on the block.

Phillips was taken to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital to be treated.

The investigation continues while no arrests have been made.

Click here to read the police release.

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Roanoke Police Department Investigates Fraud Offenses Targeting Seniors

An investigation is underway in Roanoke to solve recent cases of fraud aimed at senior citizens.  Individuals are calling Roanoke seniors pretending to be their grandchildren and asking for up to thousands of dollars to be wired to them through Western Union.

The callers state that they need the money for bail or for an attorney because of a DUI charge.

The Roanoke Police Department is encouraging anyone who receives this call to contact law enforcement immediately.

Click here to read the police release.

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Buchanan County v. Equitable Production Company

Judge Jones resided over Buchanan County v. Equitable Production Company, where he denied Buchanan’s motion to send the case to state court.

The case, which took place on March 28, 2011, was based on the county’s complaint that Equitable Production Company, Equitable Resources, Inc., and EQT Production Company (collectively referred to as “EQT”) were allegedly calculating less tax money owed to the county than was correct.

Buchanan County argued that the case should be heard in a state court based on the Tax Injunction Act, which claims that district courts shall not interfere with assessment of tax collections under state law that could be better handled in state courts. The county believed that federal jurisdiction in this matter was improper.

Judge Jones, using the opinion in DIRECTV, Inc. v. Tolson in 2008, which allowed federal jurisdiction in state tax laws, denied Buchanan County’s wishes.

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