Protesters exterior the Loudoun County courthouse Thursday denounced a neighborhood decide who despatched the alleged sufferer in a home violence case to jail on a contempt charge.
“This decide shouldn’t be on the bench,” mentioned Lisa Gross sales, a girls’s rights activist and home violence survivor who organized the gathering of about 30 individuals.
Gross sales known as for an investigation into Decide James P. Fisher and extra transparency from the state’s Judicial Inquiry and Evaluate Fee, which is tasked with fielding complaints about judges and operates largely in secret.
Loudoun County Supervisor Juli Briskman described the flip of occasions that led 33-year-old Katie Orndoff to be held in jail for 2 days as misogynistic and patriarchal.
“This won’t stand in Loudoun County,” she mentioned.
Fisher ordered Orndoff jailed as she was testifying in opposition to her boyfriend in a felony home violence case. Greater than an hour into her testimony, Fisher stopped the proceedings to query whether or not she was intoxicated — a topic that had come up throughout what prosecutors described as a troublesome cross examination. She mentioned she had smoked marijuana the morning of the trial, which occurred within the afternoon.
He instantly ordered her jailed for 10 days and she or he was faraway from the courtroom by deputies. She served two days earlier than he launched her on bail whereas she appealed the cost. In the meantime, he declared a mistrial within the home violence case.
Prosecutors and legal professionals for Orndoff each say she didn’t seem intoxicated and that Fisher’s inquiry violated Orndoff’s rights. In addition they be aware that marijuana is authorized and it was by no means established that Orndoff was actively underneath the affect.
A listening to had been scheduled for Thursday to rethink the contempt cost, however in a submitting Fisher known as the movement to vacate “wholly with out benefit.”
Amongst different issues, he famous that Orndoff’s attorneys had already appealed the case to the Virginia Courtroom of Appeals.
A listening to was additionally canceled within the home violence case in opposition to Orndoff’s companion, James Web page Phillips, who’s accused of punching her within the face twice. If discovered responsible, it will be his third offense.
However Loudoun Commonwealth’s Legal professional Buta Biberaj mentioned she doubts the case will advance given Fisher’s actions.
“It has made the prosecution of this almost inconceivable,” mentioned Biberaj at Thursday’s courthouse rally.
That mentioned, Biberaj mentioned her workplace wouldn’t quit on the case if Orndoff stays keen to testify — one thing she mentioned stays to be seen.
“I don’t know if Mrs. Orndoff, as any sufferer on this case, would topic themselves to that travesty.”