Sloppy Work By Herring OAG Costs Taxpayers $7,674

Now this is a tad bit unusual.  From the Richmond Times-Dispatch, it would appear as if the Office of the Attorney General sent McGuire Woods on a rabbit trail to ask questions of a corrections officer… who was never involved in this particular case:

Longtime court observers described the sanction as “highly unusual” and “rare” in federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia, particularly when it involves the Virginia Attorney General’s Office.

Anderson ordered that McGuireWoods be compensated for the billable time the lawyer spent traveling to and from the prison, mileage, the cost of the court reporter and the costs incurred by bringing the motion for sanctions. An affidavit filed Thursday indicates the two sides agreed to a payment of $7,674.36.

Bob Lewis, a spokesman for the law firm, said the firm is representing inmate James H. Raynor at no cost and the money would be donated to the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society.

I mean, how do you get that wrong?

This particular case involves an inmate who was assaulted by a fellow inmate at the Sussex II State Prison in Waverly, Virginia.  McGuire Woods initially asked for a reimbursement to settle the matter (because, you know, the corrections officer was never actually involved in the incident — in this instance, escorting the victim after the assault), and the OAG declined to do so.

So a judge had to enforce some basic rules of decorum here.

Too bad the Virginia Way has to be enforced by referees… sloppiness, I’m sure, is not something we experienced under previous Republican OAGs.

  • You curiously use the “Virginia Way” phrase in lots of contexts, with nothing defined particularly.

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

  • AmandaB

    Nice work by AG candidate Adams and his team. Good to see Herring being held accountable.

  • The Jaded JD

    “How do you get that wrong?” Well, the article says how it was gotten wrong: someone mistakenly believed that the officer who signed the logbook was the officer who escorted the prisoner. Yes, when someone called or emailed to confirm when the officer would be available to be deposed, he or she should have asked, “By the way, did you actually escort him?” I doubt that it was the attorney, rather than a paralegal or an administrative assistant who made that call or sent that email, by the way, but it may have been the attorney and, either way, ultimately it is the attorney of record who is responsible, which is why he was sanctioned. And it was very sloppy work, so the sanctions were appropriate, and the OAG is not known for that level of sloppiness.

    And I can understand why, barely a year before an attorney general election, you decided to describe the OAG as Herring’s OAG. And of course you’re not incorrect. But it is misleading to suggest, as your title does, that Herring appointed the sanctioned attorney or that Herring himself, or any of his political appointees (of whom there are actually rather few in any AG’s OAG), was directly supervising the sanctioned attorney. We’re talking about a career attorney, supervised by a career attorney; without knowing the particular division responsible here, it’s hard to predict whether the supervising career attorney reported to another career attorney or a political appointee. But there would have been at least one intermediate level of career attorney supervision separating this sanctioned AAG II from the political appointees.

    Finally, according to publicly available information, this particular attorney was hired by Bob McDonnell, in February 2006, not Mark Herring.

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