State inspector finds fault with the handling of six more parole cases

Posted at 4:13 PM, Oct 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-06 18:39:23-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The state’s official government watchdog agency has found problems with six additional cases handled by the Virginia Parole Board. But once again, the findings are mostly being kept under wraps.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the Office of the State Inspector General sent CBS 6 copies of six letters recently sent by State Inspector General Michael Westfall to Brian Moran, Virginia’s Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security.

Five of the letters were sent on September 18, the sixth on September 24.

Each letter provided to CBS 6 was almost completely redacted, as was the case when OSIG first responded to a FOIA request earlier this year pertaining to the board's decision to grant parole to Vincent Lamont Martin, who had been serving a life sentence for the murder of a Richmond police officer.

An unredacted line at the top of each new letter states that OSIG conducted an administrative investigation based on multiple complaints made to Virginia’s Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Hotline.

The complaints concerned the parole board's handling of the cases involving the following six former inmates:

  • Donald Brooks
  • Dwayne Reid
  • Patrick Schooley
  • Irvian Cotton
  • Tyson Golden
  • Debra Scribner

The rest of each letter, including a description of the allegations, background, and findings of fact, was blacked out.

Most of the conclusion was also redacted, though Westfall wrote in five of the cases that the allegations were substantiated.

In the sixth, he said that two allegations were unsubstantiated, but a third was found to be accurate.

The letters close with Westfall saying he will be responding with potential recommendations.

CBS 6 is reaching out to Moran and the Virginia Parole Board for comment.

The board has just published a statement on its website.

Senate Republican Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) and House Republican Leader C. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) has called on General Westfall to immediately provide them with unredacted copies of the Office’s additional reports.

“The failure of General Westfall to provide complete and unredacted copies of these reports undermines his credibility and damages the independence of his office,” said Senator Norment. “The obvious coordination between the Office of the State Inspector General and the Administration is precisely what the Code is supposed to prevent. The production of a sanitized summary of misconduct by the Parole Board has all of the hallmarks of a coverup.”

“The Office of State Inspector General must provide legislative leaders with unredacted copies of these reports,” noted Delegate Gilbert. “Until they do so, they are not in compliance with the law. We will be making this clear to the Inspector General, in court if necessary.”

This is a developing story.



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