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ALMAND APPOINTED TO BENCH

Last Wednesday, Gov. Mark R. Warner James Almand to fill a vacancy in the 17th Circuit Court effective August 1, serving Arlington and Falls Church.

Almand, a 25-year delegate representing Arlington’s 47th District, announced his retirement from the Assembly earlier this year. He will fill a vacancy on the Circuit Court created by the retirement of Judge Paul D. Sheridan.

Almand having served on the Courts of Justice Committee during his entire tenure in the legislature, and as chair or co-chair of the committee from 1992 until 2001. He also served as a deputy sheriff and assistant commonwealth's attorney, as well as a member of the State Crime Commission.

POLICE CHARGE TEEN WITH SEX CRIMES

Last week Arlington police detectives from the Special Victims’ Unit arrested 19-year-old Galen Baughman, charging him with carnal knowledge of a minor, crimes against nature and use of communications systems to facilitate offenses involving children – all felony charges. If convicted of all three charges, Baughman could face up to 20 years in prison.

Baughman, an Arlington resident attending Indiana University, was also charged with soliciting sex from a minor over the Internet and dissemination of child pornography, charges filed in Westchester County, N.Y.

Arlington detectives began investigating Baughman in mid-April when Westchester County authorities alerted them to possible sexual contact between Baughman and several minors in Arlington. Investigators from the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office arrested Baughman in Indiana on April 14, after receiving a report that he sent sexually explicit communications over the Internet to a Westchester County minor.

An investigation into those communications indicated that Baughman had had inappropriate sexual contact with minors in Arlington, according to police reports. After posting bail in Westchester and returning home, Baughman was arrested by Arlington detectives. He is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility. The investigation is ongoing, and additional charges may be filed. The names of the victims are not being released due to their ages and the nature of the crimes committed against them.

Because of the concern that Baughman may have contacted other minors who have not yet been identified, detectives are asking anyone who knows that Baughman had contact with minors to call them at 703-228-4241. Callers may also provide information through Arlington County Crime Solvers at 703-522-TIPS (8477) or toll-free at 800-673-2777.

INSULTING TO VICTIMS?

Defense attorneys for sniper defendant Lee Boyd Malvo have asked that his trial be moved from Fairfax County. They claim that all citizens of Fairfax County are victims under the terrorist statute, and that an unbiased jury pool won't be found.

Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan called the claim preposterous. "It raises the notion of 'victimhood' to a totally new dimension, a dimension where one is a victim whether he or she knows it or not," wrote Horan. Horan called the claim insulting to the actual victims of the sniper attacks.

Horan will argue that Malvo attempted to extort $10 million from the government and police in order to stop the sniper attacks that left 10 dead and three injured in the Washington area last October. Arlington resident Linda Franklin was murdered on Oct. 14, 2002, outside a Home Depot in Falls Church.

The Commonwealth's Office is prosecuting Malvo under the state terrorism statute. According to that statute, Virginia Code 18.2-46.4, an act of terrorism is a crime intended to "intimidate the civilian population at large" or "influence the conduct or activities of the government of the United States, a state or locality through intimidation."

Judge Jane Marum Roush is scheduled to hear arguments this Monday, June 2.