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Posted September 28, 2012 | 42 Comments
RSW Regional Jail: Judge rejects suit trying to block construction
By Joe Beck -- email@example.com
Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp scrapped a lawsuit Friday that sought a referendum requiring voter approval for financing of the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail.
Hupp announced his decision in a brief letter to lawyers representing jail opponents and the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors, RSW Regional Jail Authority and Virginia Resources Authority. Jail opponents had sought to block the borrowing of more than $80 million to complete the project, which was begun in early summer.
Hupp said he found the arguments of the governmental bodies defending their borrowing decisions "persuasive on most issues."
After citing his agreement with written arguments submitted by the defendants, Hupp said he was dismissing the lawsuit.
Bradley G. Pollack, the Woodstock attorney representing jail opponents led by Mark W. Prince of Toms Brook, said the decision was a complete loss for his side. Pollack said he was consulting with Prince and others about whether to file an appeal.
Later Friday, Pollack filed a notice of appeal with the Shenandoah County Clerk of Courts and sent it to the opposing attorneys.
"In this case, the court just adopted the defendants' reasoning," Pollack said.
Pollack had argued in court Thursday that the defendants had yet to produce the bonds that would be used to finance the jail and therefore the case should be delayed or ordered to proceed to a jury trial.
The two sides spent part of Thursday's hearing arguing over the meaning of two Virginia Supreme Court decision that upheld the authority of local government bodies to borrow in the face of taxpayer lawsuits.
Prince and the other jail opponents asked Hupp to block the issuance of the bonds, insisting that the jail authority needed consent from the voters before it could approve borrowing for the project.
J. Jay Litten, the lawyer for the board of supervisors, said in court documents that the "board took all measures legally required" before approving the financing for the jail.
A report delivered to the jail authority board Thursday disclosed the project on U.S 340-522 in Warren County has encountered more than $50,000 in cost overruns after only a few months of construction.