Saturday, June 14, 2003

No dismissal in criminal case of tax assessor whose own property assessment was reduced

As reported in this story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond Circuit Court Judge Beverly Snukals refused to dismiss the criminal charges against Richmond Assessor James R. Vinson, despite his counsel's argument that correcting tax assessments is what Vinson was supposed to do.

The article notes: "Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Anthony G. Spencer responded Vinson still had a conflict of interest because he ordered a subordinate to lower his assessment.

Vinson bought a home in the Westover Hills West neighborhood in June 2002 for $307,500. Six months later, it was assessed at $364,200. The assessment was reduced to $320,500 after Vinson complained."

In addition, the judge decided to see the jury list before making a ruling on whether to move the trial out of Richmond. Vinson's counsel "has asked for the trial to be moved. He contended that publicity about the case and the displeasure of city residents about the recent sharp increase in assessments will make it impossible to seat an impartial jury in Richmond."

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