The teenage son of an Alexandria School Board member apologized in court yesterday for hurling two dozen eggs at the home of a man trying to oust his mother, Melissa Luby, from office. James Luby Jr. told the judge that his behavior was "stupid" and "immature" and vowed that he would "never do anything like this again."
Luby's attorney, Jonathan Shapiro, urged the court to keep the incident off his client's record, but the judge was unmoved.
General District Court Chief Judge R. E. Giammittorio noted that Luby pleaded guilty last month to destruction of property -- a Class 3 misdemeanor -- and said he should be punished for it.
Giammittorio imposed the maximum fine, $500, which he said will be suspended if Luby, 19, completes 50 hours of community service.
"It seems to me, under the circumstances, this is the proper thing to do," Giammittorio told Shapiro. "This will probably be a life-defining moment for this young man, and that is how it should be."
Luby was arrested after the Del Ray home of James Boissonnault was egged July 2. Also charged in the incident was Samuel Howard Woodson IV, 18, the son of City Council member Joyce Woodson (D) and S. Howard Woodson, president of the Alexandria Chapter of the NAACP. Samuel Woodson is set for trial Aug. 11.
Melissa Luby was with school Superintendent Rebecca L. Perry on April 23 when Perry was arrested on a drunken driving charge. Boissonnault contends that Luby should have stopped Perry from driving that night, and he is spearheading an effort to have Luby removed from the School Board.
Although an egging ordinarily would be a minor entry on the police blotter, the people involved in the egging elevated the case into the headlines.
Boissonnault attended yesterday's sentencing hearing with his wife and had high praise for the judge.
"He nailed it," Boissonnault said after the hearing. "He said there are consequences for your actions. It echoes the whole debate that's going on" with the School Board. Boissonnault was angered that the board allowed Perry to keep her job after her drunken driving conviction. "It was refreshing."
Luby arrived in court at 9 a.m. with his mother, father and Shapiro. They waited for about a half-hour as the court took up matters ranging from petty larceny to stalking and assault.
When the egging case was called, Alexandria Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Benjamin Katz characterized the incident as "far more than a childish prank," saying Boissonnault "was targeted. . . . His beliefs were being attacked."
Shapiro, best known for defending terrorists, spies and, most recently, convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad, said the egging "was an idiotic thing to do."
But he went on to praise his client. He said Luby has learned that there are better ways to deal with anger and characterized the boy as a hard-working sophomore at Virginia Tech, where he is a regular on the dean's list.
He said Luby took it upon himself to complete 17 hours of community service before his sentencing and works six days a week delivering pizzas.
Neither Luby nor his parents would comment after the hearing, deferring to Shapiro.
"This was a really regrettable incident for which Jim is extremely sorry," Shapiro said outside the courtroom. "We're proud of him for stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility."