Trial For Ex-HRHA Director Postponed Until Next Month

Defense Attorney Wants Time To Review Video

Posted: May 13, 2014

WOODSTOCK — The trial of a former director of the Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority, arrested on drug and prostitution charges in Mount Jackson earlier this spring, was postponed Monday in Shenandoah County General District Court.

Jim Deskins, who served as executive director of the authority from 1979 to 2000 before taking a similar position in Winchester, was arrested in a sting operation March 27 by a Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office investigator assigned to the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force.

The 59-year-old Harrisonburg resident is charged with soliciting prostitution and possession of marijuana, both misdemeanors.

During a brief hearing Monday, Shenandoah County Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Wiseley told Judge Amy Tisinger that both parties agreed to postpone the trial so that the defense had time to review a video recording of the sting operation.

Winchester attorney William Bassler is representing Deskins, according to court records.

Tisinger scheduled Deskins to appear for trial on June 9.

While many of the details of the sting haven’t been released, the criminal complaint sheds some light on the operation.

“Deskins arrived at an undercover site ... and offered the confidential informant $100 in exchange for sexual services,” according to the complaint.

Deskins was one of at least seven people arrested as part of the operation, which was conducted through the Mount Jackson Police Department. On Monday, several of the defendants pleaded guilty to the charges and received suspended six-month jail sentences and $500 fines.

At the time of his arrest, Deskins was the executive director of the Winchester City Economic Development Authority, and also served as that city’s director of economic redevelopment.

Following his arrest, Deskins offered his resignation, which became effective April 3.

Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or

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