Death penalty; severe mental illness. (HB794)

Introduced By

Del. Jay Leftwich (R-Chesapeake) with support from co-patron Del. Joseph Yost (R-Blacksburg)

Progress

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

Description

Death penalty; severe mental illness. Provides that a defendant in a capital case who had a severe mental illness, which is defined in the bill, at the time of the offense is not eligible for the death penalty. The bill establishes procedures for determining whether a defendant had a severe mental illness at the time of the offense and provides for the appointment of expert evaluators. When the defendant's severe mental illness is at issue, a determination will be made by the jury, or by the judge in a bench trial, as part of the sentencing proceeding, and the defendant bears the burden of proving his severe mental illness by a preponderance of the evidence. Amends § 19.2-264.3:1.3, § 19.2-264.3:3, § 19.2-264.4, of the Code of Virginia. Read the Bill »

Status

02/12/2016: Subcommittee Recommends Killing the Bill

History

DateAction
01/12/2016Committee
01/12/2016Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/13/16 16101718D
01/12/2016Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/14/2016Impact statement from VCSC (HB794)
02/12/2016Assigned App. sub: Criminal Law
02/12/2016Fiscal impact review from JLARC (HB794)
02/12/2016Impact statement from DPB (HB794)
02/12/2016Assigned Courts sub: Criminal Law
02/12/2016Subcommittee recommends laying on the table
02/12/2016Continued to 2017 in Courts of Justice
03/09/2016Fiscal impact review from JLARC (HB794)

Comments

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

The ACLU of Virginia strongly supports this bill, which would exempt defendants with serious mental illnesses from execution. The death penalty is not a deterrent for people with a serious mental illness, who simply cannot appreciate the full consequences of their actions, both at the time of the offense and at the time they're scheduled for execution. This legislation recognizes the unique situation of offenders with serious mental health issues and excludes them from society's worst punishment. While the ACLU of Virginia supports a repeal of the death penalty, we also support legislation that prohibits its application to people with serious mental illnesses.

ACLU-VA Legislative Agenda, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The ACLU of Virginia strongly supports this bill, which would exempt defendants with serious mental illnesses from execution. The death penalty is not a deterrent for people with a serious mental illness, who simply cannot appreciate the full consequences of their actions, both at the time of the offense and at the time they're scheduled for execution. This legislation recognizes the unique situation of offenders with serious mental health issues and excludes them from society's worst punishment. While the ACLU of Virginia supports a repeal of the death penalty, we also support legislation that prohibits its application to people with serious mental illnesses.