Associate Commonwealth’s Attorney Scott Alleman and Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Scott Vachris spoke at the Norfolk Field Office of the FBI’s “Identifying, Investigating and Prosecuting Hate Crimes” conference on May 19, 2011 at the Meyera E. Obendorf Central Library in Virginia Beach. The goal of this training seminar was to provide law enforcement officers, prosecutors and community groups with a better under-standing of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act in order to protect and inform residents of Hampton Roads who may be among those who are targets of hate crime. Scott Alleman gave a presentation on Virginia Hate Crime Statutes, including lynching and gang activity. Scott Vachris and local attorney Afshin Farashahi, who previously worked at the Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, provided an overview of Virginia cross burning cases from 1998. These included the Richard Elliott and Jonathan O’Mara cases out of Virginia Beach as well as the Barry Black case in Carroll County. These cases were merged for the appeal process, and the cases went from Circuit Court to the Virginia Court of Appeals, to the Virginia Supreme Court, to the United States Supreme Court and then back to the Virginia Supreme Court. While the guilty verdict in the Carroll County case was eventually reversed, the guilty verdicts in Virginia Beach were upheld.
Later that evening, Scott Alleman addressed over 50 citizens at the Virginia Beach 3rd Precinct Citizen Advisory Committee monthly meeting. Alleman’s presentation focused on how Virginia Beach uses the various asset forfeiture statutes to take the profit out of. Asset Forfeiture is just one more tool in the law enforcement arsenal to deter and stop crime in Virginia Beach.