Felony homicide; certain drug offenses, accommodation, penalty. (SB66)

Introduced By

Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D-Leesburg)

Progress

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

Description

Felony homicide; certain drug offenses; accommodation; penalty. Provides that a person is guilty of felony homicide, which constitutes second degree murder and is punishable by confinement of not less than five nor more than 40 years, if the underlying felonious act that resulted in the killing of another involved the manufacture, sale, gift, or distribution of a Schedule I or II controlled substance to another and (i) such other person's death results from his use of the controlled substance and (ii) the controlled substance is the proximate cause of his death. The bill also provides that venue for a prosecution of this crime shall lie in the locality where the underlying felony occurred, where the use of the controlled substance occurred, or where death occurred. There is an accommodation provision and an affirmative defense if the person giving or distributing the drugs did so as an accommodation, stayed with the person overdosing, seeks medical help, identifies himself to law enforcement, and cooperates in the criminal investigation. This bill serves to overrule the Court of Appeals of Virginia decision in Woodard v. Commonwealth, 61 Va. App. 567, 739 S.E.2d 220 (2013), aff'd, 287 Va. 276, 754 S.E.2d 309 (2014). Read the Bill »

Status

12/21/2015: Awaiting a Vote in the Courts of Justice Committee

History

DateAction
12/21/2015Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/13/16 16101132D
12/21/2015Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/09/2016Impact statement from VCSC (SB66)
01/29/2016Impact statement from DPB (SB66)
02/01/2016Continued to 2017 in Courts of Justice (15-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)

Comments

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

The ACLU of Virginia strongly opposes this bill. After 40 years of the War on Drugs, we know that imposing harsh punishments on suppliers has not solved the problem. Moreover, Virginia law already provides that a first-time drug dealer can go to prison for 40 years. Legislation like this makes poor use of the Commonwealth's scarce resources and takes the focus away from what actually works to increase public safety and public health: substance abuse treatment. This bill would expand the failed War on Drugs. We strongly oppose it.

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

The ACLU of Virginia strongly opposes this bill. After 40 years of the War on Drugs, we know that imposing harsh punishments on suppliers has not solved the problem. Moreover, Virginia law already provides that a first-time drug dealer can go to prison for 40 years. Legislation like this makes poor use of the Commonwealth's scarce resources and takes the focus away from what actually works to increase public safety and public health: substance abuse treatment. This bill would expand the failed War on Drugs. We strongly oppose it.