Criminal law; redefinition of triggerman rule, penalty. (SB58)

Introduced By

Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg)


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


01/05/2012Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/11/12 12102113D
01/05/2012Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/09/2012Impact statement from VCSC (SB58)
01/11/2012Impact statement from VCSC (SB58)
01/30/2012Impact statement from DPB (SB58)
01/31/2012Impact statement from DPB (SB58)
02/08/2012Failed to report (defeated) in Courts of Justice (7-Y 7-N 1-A) (see vote tally)


Julia Hebner writes:

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