Court news

The purpose of the hearing was for Dinkin to be listed as van Emmenis’ attorney.  Her next court appearance is for an arraignment scheduled on Jan. 23.

Van Emmenis faces 20 felony counts – 13 for embezzlement and seven for conducting unlawful money transactions, the statute that deals with money laundering.

According to the Richmond law firm’s website, Dinkin is “recognized by his peers as a Virginia Super Lawyer in the area of criminal defense and white collar law,” the website states. “He has extensive experience handling white collar crimes such as embezzlement and fraud in both state and federal courts and counsels businesses during both internal investigations and when they are the target of grand jury investigations. “

Road Rage

In other court news, Walter Turner, 61, pleaded guilty Thursday (Jan. 2) to failure to stop after an accident and failure to report an accident for an incident that happened in Fluvanna County on Oct. 7.

In the plea agreement, Turner admitted to getting into a “road rage” incident with Russell Rejonis. According to the account of the case contained in the agreement, Turner turned in front of Rejonis and drove slowly, hitting his brakes several times. When Rejonis passed Turner, Turner speeded up and “stayed on his bumper,” the agreement stated.

At that point, Rejonis stopped, got out of his car and confronted Turner. They exchanged “vulgarities,” and Rejonis told Turner to “step out.”

When Turner refused, Rejonis walked back toward his car and heard Turner’s daughter, who was a passenger in her father’s car, yell, “Daddy, Daddy, don’t do it.”

At that point, Turner speeded up and hit Rejonis, who fell onto Turner’s bumper, rolled onto the hood and off the car, suffering a broken wrist, according to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Frank Terwilliger. Turner then drove off.

Turner’s lawyer, Bonnie Lepold, said Turner was a nurse at University of Virginia Health System and wanted to avoid a conviction that would limit his employment opportunities. By pleading guilty , the agreement calls for Turner to serve a 12-month suspended sentence during which time he is to follow certain conditions, such as continuing counseling for anger management, driving restrictions and being monitored by pre-trial services. Turner must also pay restitution of $1,072.32. If Turner completes these terms without incident, he is eligible to have the felony convictions reduced to misdemeanors.

Turner had no prior run-ins with the law and a clean driving record prior to the incident, Lepold said.

Marijuana charges

Christine Alston appeared in Circuit Court Thursday (Jan. 2) with her Attorney Brent Jackson appealing her bail. Alston is charged in General District Court with a misdemeanor count of marijuana possession and two felony counts: transporting a drug into Virginia and sale/distribution of marijuana. She was arrested on Oct. 21, said Terwilliger, for allegedly having five pounds of marijuana mailed to her Fluvanna home via UPS.

Upon her arrest, Alston tested positive for marijuana. She again tested positive on Nov. 21. Alston was sent to jail on Dec. 21 for “violating conditions of her release.” Jackson said his client is a “chronic user” of marijuana – that she smoked daily for more than 20 years. The accepted standard for the drug to leave a person’s system is 30 days, Jackson said. However, when a person has been using for as long as his client, it takes up to 90 days to clear the system, Jackson said.   He told Judge Thomas Balfour he was prepared to argue that fact and to put on witnesses who would testify Alston hadn’t smoked marijuana while out on pretrial release. Jackson gestured to the three rows of family members who gathered in the gallery.

Jackson said he wanted the judge to release his client to “house arrest.”

“But that’s where she uses it,” Terwilliger said.

Balfour didn’t entertain that argument.

“We’re not Colorado – and that’s not the issue. The issue is selling it,” the judge said.

The lawyers agreed to have Alston tested and if she tested positive, she would stay in jail until her next hearing.

Alston tested positive.

Her next hearing is on Jan. 23.



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