Writ of actual innocence; joint motion for petitions. (SB823)

Introduced By

Sen. Kenneth Alexander (D-Norfolk)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Petitions for writs of actual innocence; joint motion for writ of actual innocence. Provides that the attorney for the Commonwealth of the jurisdiction wherein a person was convicted of a felony may join in a petition for a biological or nonbiological writ of actual innocence. When such petition is so joined, the petitioner may file a copy of the petition and attachments thereto with the circuit court that entered the felony conviction and move the court for a hearing to consider release of the person on bail pending a ruling by the appellate court on the writ.

The bill also provides that petitions for writs of actual innocence in the case of either biological or nonbiological evidence may be brought for any felony and upon any plea. For both writs, the petitioner shall allege that the new evidence, had it been available at trial, would have created in a rational trier of fact reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the petitioner, as opposed to the current required allegation that the evidence "will prove that no rational trier of fact could have found proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." For the writ based on nonbiological evidence, the bill removes the limit that only one writ per conviction may be filed. Amends § 19.2-327.10, § 19.2-327.11, § 19.2-327.2, § 19.2-327.3, of the Code of Virginia. Read the Bill »

Status

12/27/2012: Awaiting a Vote in the Courts of Justice Committee

History

DateAction
12/27/2012Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/13 13101178D
12/27/2012Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/23/2013Stricken at the request of Patron in Courts of Justice (15-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)

Comments

ACLU-VA Prisoners' Rights, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The ACLU of Virginia supports legislation that expands the use of writs of actual innocence to juveniles. No person should be deprived of liberty for crimes he or she did not commit nor held any longer than necessary once known to innocent.

Mary Devoy writes:

01-13-13: there are 4 proposed versions so far.
SB823 looks to be the most effective in fixing the 21 Day Rule.
HB1355 comes in second if SB823 gets “tabled or killed” by the House.
HB1432 and HB1920 seem to do the least but might get the most steam because both patrons are on the House Courts of Justice Committee and HB1432 is actually Attorney General Cuccinelli’s “fix” changing could to would.

ACLU-VA Criminal Justice, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The ACLU of Virginia supports legislation that expands the use of writs of actual innocence to juveniles. No person should be deprived of liberty for crimes he or she did not commit nor held any longer than necessary once known to innocent.