LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) — Two Lynchburg magistrates are the subject of a lawsuit alleging they refused to acknowledge a criminal complaint made by a Black Lives Matter protestor towards a Virginia sheriff.
The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday, January 4, against Chief Magistrate Andrew John Michael and an unnamed magistrate under him, referred to as Jane Doe.
According to the lawsuit, Samuel Joseph Orlando presented a criminal complaint against Augusta County Sheriff Donald Smith to the Lynchburg Magistrate's Office at the advisement of Don McCown, a regional manager of the Virginia Magistrate system.
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Orlando claims his personal information was illegally shared, as he was a juvenile at the time when he was charged for violating a noise ordinance while participating in a Black Lives Matter protest.
The lawsuit claims Jane Doe, who refused to identify herself, initially denied Orlando's criminal complaint under the basis of "we don't do that here."
After being advised that magistrates were the appropriate official to submit criminal complaints and that Orlando had been directed to the Lynchburg office by a regional manager, Jane Doe physically accepted the complaints, the lawsuit states.
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According to the lawsuit, Jane Doe called Chief Magistrate Michael and conducted an informal "hearing" with Orlando and his father through a waist-level slot in a doorway.
The lawsuit states Jane Doe said during the informal hearing, "No way I'm issuing a warrant against a sheriff. I'm not doing it."
According to the lawsuit, neither Orlando nor his father was sworn under oath to secure testimony and both Chief Magistrate Michael and Jane Doe refused to accept responsibility for conducting the hearing or denying the warrant.
Orlando claims in the lawsuit that he was denied his right to a hearing regarding his criminal complaint towards Smith and that Chief Magistrate Michael and Jane Doe refused to acknowledge holding a hearing or accepting responsibility for denying a warrant.
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The lawsuit claims Michael and Jane Doe elected to cover for a Virginia sheriff instead of performing their Constitutional duties.
Orlando is seeking a jury trial to declare judgment that he is entitled to a hearing on his criminal complaint, that his constitutional rights were violated when Michael and Jane Doe refused to conduct a hearing, and that Orlando's attorney fees along with any other relief the court deems appropriate to be covered by the defendants.