Stalking, trespass charges against child advocate absolved

Jeremy M. Lazarus | 2/18/2016, 7:28 a.m.
The big case is still ahead. But two charges against an advocate for special needs children have been dismissed or ...

The big case is still ahead.

But two charges against an advocate for special needs children have been dismissed or absolved.

Last month, Kandise N. Lucas was acquitted of trespassing at Falling Creek Middle School.

A school secretary, Stacey Loos, had brought the charge against Ms. Lucas.

The case fell apart at Chesterfield General District Court when neither Ms. Loos nor anyone at the school could produce evidence to back up claims that Ms. Lucas was at the school. According to testimony, security cameras either were not functioning or provided no video showing Ms. Lucas was at the school.

Ms. Lucas, meanwhile, had evidence and witnesses to prove she was at a different location 10 miles away at the time Ms. Loos claimed Ms. Lucas was at the school.

Separately, a charge that Ms. Lucas had stalked and created fear in a former officer of the Chesterfield Branch NAACP also was dismissed at the request of the Chesterfield County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

Ms. Lucas denied stalking Renee Cooper, who later resigned as the branch’s first vice president. She said Ms. Cooper filed the charge in retaliation for Ms. Lucas charging the branch president with assault after she was injured trying to enter a branch meeting. The president, LaSalle J. McCoy Jr., was acquitted of the assault charge.

Meanwhile, Ms. Lucas is preparing to defend herself against a charge of trespassing at Meadowbrook High School in April 2015.

She was arrested for entering the school to serve as an advocate for a parent and her special needs child. Ms. Lucas had attended several meetings at the school regarding the child prior to her trespass arrest.

Ms. Lucas was convicted in Chesterfield General District Court, despite federal laws and state regulations that appear to bar such a charge. She has appealed to the Chesterfield Circuit Court, where the case is scheduled to be heard March 16.

Ms. Lucas said that two national organizations, the Dignity in Schools Campaign and the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, are concerned about the charge and the impact it could have on advocacy if it is upheld.

She said they are considering assisting her attorney, Joseph D. “Joe” Morrissey, who accepted the case at the request of the Virginia State Conference NAACP and has handled it primarily without charge.