Criminal law; redefinition of triggerman rule, penalty. (HB389)

Introduced By

Del. Todd Gilbert (R-Woodstock) with support from co-patron Del. Rob Bell (R-Charlottesville)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Criminal law; redefinition of the triggerman rule.  Redefines the "triggerman rule," which currently provides that only the actual perpetrator of a capital murder is eligible for the death penalty and that accessories and principals in the second degree can be punished only as if guilty of first degree murder. This bill allows principals in the second degree and accessories before the fact to be charged as principals in the first degree in the cases of murder for hire, murder involving a continuing criminal enterprise, and terrorism. This bill allows, in all other cases of capital murder, a principal in the second degree to be tried as a principal in the first degree if he had the same intent to kill as the principal in the first degree. The bill allows an accessory before the fact to be tried as a principal in the first degree if he ordered or directed the willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/10/2012Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/11/12 12101763D
01/10/2012Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/11/2012Impact statement from VCSC (HB389)
01/13/2012Assigned Courts sub: Criminal
01/30/2012Impact statement from DPB (HB389)
02/06/2012Subcommittee recommends reporting (7-Y 1-N)
02/10/2012Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (13-Y 5-N) (see vote tally)
02/10/2012Committee substitute printed 12105179D-H1
02/10/2012Incorporates HB954
02/12/2012Read first time
02/13/2012Impact statement from VCSC (HB389H1)
02/13/2012Read second time
02/13/2012Committee substitute agreed to 12105179D-H1
02/13/2012Engrossed by House - committee substitute HB389H1
02/14/2012Read third time and passed House (72-Y 28-N)
02/14/2012VOTE: PASSAGE (72-Y 28-N) (see vote tally)
02/15/2012Constitutional reading dispensed
02/15/2012Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
02/22/2012Failed to report (defeated) in Courts of Justice (6-Y 8-N 1-A) (see vote tally)

Duplicate Bills

The following bills are identical to this one: HB954.


Julia Hebner writes:

Justice is expensive. It's not always accessible for the poorer among us. This bill, if passed, would increase the chances that the commonwealth would commit murder by mistake.