Evidence in criminal cases; duty to provide discovery, writs of actual innocence. (HB1153)

Introduced By

Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington)

Progress

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

Description

Evidence in criminal cases; duty to provide discovery; writs of actual innocence. Requires the attorney for the Commonwealth, upon written notice by an accused to the court and to the attorney for the Commonwealth, to permit the accused to inspect and copy or photograph (i) any relevant written or recorded statements or confessions made by the accused and the substance of any oral statements or confessions made by the accused to any law-enforcement officer; (ii) any relevant written reports of autopsies, ballistic tests, fingerprint analyses, handwriting analyses, blood, urine, and breath tests, and other scientific reports and written reports of a physical or mental examination of the accused or the alleged victim; (iii) any books, papers, documents, tangible objects, buildings, or places, or copies or portions thereof, that are within the possession, custody, or control of the Commonwealth; (iv) any relevant police reports, as defined in the bill; and (v) all relevant statements, as defined in the bill, of any non-expert witness whom the Commonwealth is required to designate on a witness list. The bill also provides that if the accused files a written notice the accused shall (a) permit the Commonwealth to inspect, copy, or photograph any written reports of autopsy examinations, ballistic tests, fingerprint, blood, urine, and breath analyses, and other scientific tests that are within the possession, custody, or control of the accused and that the accused intends to introduce in evidence at the trial or sentencing; (b) disclose whether he intends to introduce evidence to establish an alibi; and (c) if he intends to rely upon a defense of insanity, permit the Commonwealth to inspect, copy, or photograph any written reports of physical or mental examination of the accused made in connection with the case. The bill provides that for good cause a party may withhold or redact certain information from such disclosures and the opposing party may file a motion to compel disclosure or to remove any restriction. The accused's duty to provide discovery shall be in addition to any duty to provide reciprocal discovery pursuant to Rule 3A:11 of the Rules of Supreme Court of Virginia. The bill also provides that a person who was convicted of a felony or who was adjudicated delinquent by a circuit court of an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult may petition for a writ of actual innocence based on previously unknown, untested, or unavailable biological evidence or nonbiological evidence regardless of the type of plea he entered at trial. Under current law, such person may petition for either writ if he entered a plea of not guilty, and any person, regardless of the type of plea he entered at trial, may petition for writ based on biological evidence if he is sentenced to death or convicted or adjudicated delinquent of murder or a felony for which the maximum punishment is imprisonment for life. The bill also eliminates the provision that limits a petitioner to only one writ of actual innocence based on nonbiological evidence for any conviction. Finally, the bill clarifies that the Attorney General may join a petition for a writ of actual innocence filed in connection with an adjudication of delinquency. This bill was incorporated into HB 873. Read the Bill »

Status

02/07/2020: Incorporated into Another Bill

History

DateAction
01/07/2020Committee
01/07/2020Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20101673D
01/07/2020Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
02/02/2020Assigned Courts sub: Criminal
02/06/2020Subcommittee recommends incorporating (HB873-Bourne)
02/07/2020Incorporated by Courts of Justice (HB873-Bourne)

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