Parole; exception to limitation on the application of parole statutes, investigations and reports. (SB1437)

Introduced By

Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) with support from co-patrons Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington), and Del. David Toscano (D-Charlottesville)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Parole; exception to limitation on the application of parole statutes; investigations and reports by probation officers. Provides that a person is entitled to parole who was sentenced by a jury prior to the date of the Supreme Court of Virginia decision in Fishback v. Commonwealth, 260 Va. 104 (June 9, 2000), in which the Court held that a jury should be instructed on the fact that parole has been abolished, for a noncapital felony committed after the time that the abolition of parole went into effect (January 1, 1995). The bill also allows a presentence report to be made available for review without a court order to incarcerated persons who are eligible for release by the Virginia Parole Board, or to such person's counsel. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/08/2019Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/19 19103814D
01/08/2019Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/15/2019Impact statement from DPB (SB1437)
01/30/2019Failed to report (defeated) in Courts of Justice (7-Y 8-N) (see vote tally)


Kendale Churchill writes:

It's really sad that this situation is at hand and our justice system was allowed not to be fair! Keeping jurors in the dark and not giving them all the tools they needed to be fair was not right. Who gave a person that much power to create such an unfair system. No matter what a person has done and yes this is a hard pill to swallow at times and no matter what side you stand on fairness should always be the right thing to do. Yes I am in favor of this Bill passing because my brother is caught up in this system. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He turned hiself on his own never been in trouble before thinking the system would be fair. He never came home. It has beenn 23 years of a 96 year sentence. Imagine that! Your family really can't afford the expenses of lawyers. You hire lawyers that take your money filing petitions of hopefully relief and they take your money and no relief was and still not in sight. Everyone may not be able to be reformed and that's reality, however they to still deserve a chance to be heard. What happened to the principle of forgivness is it such an thing anymore. I use to be afraid to speak out about the unfairness that was done even in my brothers case due to the lack of knowledge. That fear has recently faded in the darrkness because I realize I have the freedom of helping to make right wrong as long as I stay with in police and procedure. I was introduced to a few wonder people by way of the internet from word of mouth from the prisoners who may be able to help them. I ready to gather the families of the inmates of Fishback to let our voices be heard on behalf of our loves ones. Sincerely Submitted

Carolyn Tillett writes:

It time for Justice to done

Margaret Breslau writes:

Jurors were not informed that parole was abolished so those standing before a judge could not get a fair sentence. In Fishback v Commonwealth, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled in Fishback's favor in 2000 and, yet, we are still waiting for the roughly 300 "Fishback" prisoners to be able to get fair sentencing. Let's get this done.

Keith Lamont Fleming writes:

Hello, I'm a product of injust sentencing and I know the hardship of living under those conditions people say is right to lock him up and throw away the key but you have people in prison that deserve a second chance I stayed in prison 34 years and I harmed no one physically plus I had no other record of crimes and wasted my life I am in 56 years old and trying to be a productive citizen and kiss you up with Society ways of life with such a short time these guys are deserving of a second chance or at least a fair hearing which cannot happen if legislators do not give them a second chance please do the right thing and let the jury's know that with truth and sentencing it's very different from the old law I've lived with these guys in a lot of these guys would be productive positive citizen just give me a second chance at life we talk about how bad crime is but we never talked about the people that get caught up in these crazy unfair Draconian type law practices they keeps people in prison way longer then they should be there if there is one person trapped it under these conditions did this law should be changed or revise in order to allow that person a second chance to get it right I've been out 100 days dedicated myself to helping you understand negativity in prison life it's not a right life and to in to get it right now so they won't have to be in prison enslaved and Warehouse like cattle human beings are not supposed to live that way