Criminal cases; ex parte requests for expert assistance. (HB824)

Introduced By

Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Ex parte requests for expert assistance in criminal cases. Provides that in any case in which a defendant is charged with a felony offense or a Class 1 misdemeanor and determined to be indigent by the court, the defendant or his attorney, upon notice to the Commonwealth, may move the court to designate another judge in the same circuit to hear an ex parte request for appointment of a qualified expert to assist in the defense. For a motion for expert assistance, the bill requires a defendant or his attorney to state under oath or in a sworn declaration that a need for confidentiality exists. Upon receiving the defendant's or his attorney's declaration of need for confidentiality, the court is required to conduct an ex parte hearing as soon as practicable on the request for authorization to obtain expert assistance. After a hearing upon the motion, the court is required to authorize the defendant or his attorney to obtain expert assistance upon a showing that the requested assistance would materially assist the defendant and that the denial of such services would result in a fundamentally unfair trial. Under current law, in a capital case, a defendant or his attorney is required to show, in an adversarial proceeding before the trial judge, a particularized need for confidentiality of the request for expert assistance. Upon a finding, by clear and convincing evidence, that a particularized need for confidentiality of the expert services exists, the court holds an ex parte hearing and may order the appointment of a qualified expert upon a showing that the provision of the requested expert services would materially assist the defendant in preparing his defense and the lack of such confidential assistance would result in a fundamentally unfair trial. There is no such procedure to appoint a qualified expert in noncapital cases. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


01/07/2020Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20105153D
01/07/2020Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/28/2020Assigned Courts sub: Criminal
02/06/2020House subcommittee amendments and substitutes offered
02/06/2020Subcommittee recommends reporting with substitute (6-Y 1-N)
02/07/2020Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (15-Y 2-N) (see vote tally)
02/07/2020Committee substitute printed 20107597D-H1
02/09/2020Read first time
02/10/2020Read second time
02/10/2020Committee substitute agreed to 20107597D-H1
02/10/2020Engrossed by House - committee substitute HB824H1
02/11/2020Read third time and passed House (93-Y 6-N)
02/11/2020VOTE: Passage (93-Y 6-N) (see vote tally)
02/12/2020Constitutional reading dispensed
02/12/2020Referred to Committee on the Judiciary
02/19/2020Reported from Judiciary with substitute (12-Y 2-N) (see vote tally)
02/19/2020Committee substitute printed 20108750D-S1
02/21/2020Impact statement from DPB (HB824S1)
02/21/2020Constitutional reading dispensed (32-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/24/2020Read third time
02/24/2020Reading of substitute waived
02/24/2020Committee substitute agreed to 20108750D-S1
02/24/2020Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute HB824S1
02/24/2020Passed Senate with substitute (35-Y 5-N) (see vote tally)
02/26/2020VOTE: Adoption (0-Y 97-N) (see vote tally)
02/26/2020Placed on Calendar
02/26/2020Senate substitute rejected by House 20108750D-S1 (0-Y 97-N)
02/26/2020VOTE: REJECTED (0-Y 97-N) (see vote tally)
02/28/2020Senate insisted on substitute (38-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/28/2020Senate requested conference committee
03/02/2020House acceded to request
03/02/2020Conferees appointed by House
03/02/2020Delegates: Hope, Scott, Adams, L.R.
03/03/2020Conferees appointed by Senate
03/03/2020Senators: Morrissey, Deeds, Stanley
03/05/2020C Amended by conference committee
03/05/2020Conference report agreed to by House (87-Y 12-N)
03/05/2020VOTE: Adoption (87-Y 12-N) (see vote tally)
03/07/2020Conference report agreed to by Senate (37-Y 3-N) (see vote tally)
03/07/2020Reconsideration of conference report agreed to by Senate (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
03/08/2020Conference report agreed to by Senate (34-Y 5-N) (see vote tally)
03/18/2020Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB824ER)
03/18/2020Signed by President
03/19/2020Signed by Speaker
03/20/2020Impact statement from DPB (HB824ER)
03/20/2020Enrolled Bill communicated to Governor on March 20, 2020
03/20/2020G Governor's Action Deadline 11:59 p.m., April 11, 2020
04/10/2020G Approved by Governor-Chapter 1124 (effective 7/1/20)
04/10/2020G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP1124)