Writ of actual innocence; petition by convicted person. (HB974)

Introduced By

Del. Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Petition for writ of actual innocence. 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 biological evidence or nonbiological evidence regardless of the type of plea he entered at trial. Under current law, such person may petition for a writ based on biological evidence if he entered a plea of not guilty, and any person, regardless of the type of plea he entered at trial, may petition for such writ 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 (i) allows a writ of actual innocence based on nonbiological evidence to be granted if scientific testing of previously untested evidence, regardless of whether such evidence was available or known at the time of conviction, proves that no trier of fact would have found proof of guilt of the person petitioning for the writ, provided that the testing procedure was not available at the time of conviction, and (ii) eliminates the provision that limits a petitioner to only one writ of actual innocence based on nonbiological evidence for any conviction. The bill provides that the petitioner must prove the allegations supporting either type of writ of actual innocence by a preponderance of the evidence. Currently, the petitioner must prove such allegations by clear and convincing evidence. 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 is identical to SB 511. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


01/07/2020Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20104714D
01/07/2020Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
02/02/2020Assigned Courts sub: Criminal
02/03/2020Subcommittee recommends reporting (6-Y 2-N)
02/05/2020Reported from Courts of Justice (16-Y 6-N) (see vote tally)
02/05/2020Referred to Committee on Appropriations
02/07/2020Assigned App. sub: Transportation & Public Safety
02/07/2020Subcommittee recommends reporting (5-Y 3-N)
02/07/2020Reported from Appropriations (16-Y 6-N) (see vote tally)
02/09/2020Read first time
02/10/2020Impact statement from DPB (HB974)
02/10/2020Read second time and engrossed
02/11/2020Read third time and passed House (63-Y 37-N)
02/11/2020VOTE: Passage (63-Y 37-N) (see vote tally)
02/12/2020Constitutional reading dispensed
02/12/2020Referred to Committee on the Judiciary
02/19/2020Reported from Judiciary with amendment (7-Y 4-N) (see vote tally)
02/21/2020Constitutional reading dispensed (32-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/24/2020Read third time
02/24/2020Reading of amendment waived
02/24/2020Committee amendment agreed to
02/24/2020Engrossed by Senate as amended
02/24/2020Passed Senate with amendment (27-Y 13-N) (see vote tally)
02/26/2020VOTE: Adoption (0-Y 97-N) (see vote tally)
02/26/2020Placed on Calendar
02/26/2020Senate amendment rejected by House (0-Y 97-N)
02/26/2020VOTE: REJECTED (0-Y 97-N) (see vote tally)
02/28/2020Senate insisted on amendment (37-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/28/2020Senate requested conference committee
03/02/2020House acceded to request
03/03/2020Conferees appointed by Senate
03/03/2020Senators: Deeds, Edwards, Stanley
03/04/2020Conferees appointed by House
03/04/2020Delegates: Herring, Delaney, Rush
03/07/2020C Amended by conference committee
03/07/2020Conference report agreed to by Senate (28-Y 10-N) (see vote tally)
03/07/2020Conference report agreed to by House (58-Y 41-N)
03/07/2020VOTE: Adoption (58-Y 41-N) (see vote tally)
03/18/2020Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB974ER)
03/18/2020Signed by President
03/19/2020Signed by Speaker
03/20/2020Impact statement from DPB (HB974ER)
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
04/09/2020G Approved by Governor-Chapter 993 (effective 7/1/20)
04/09/2020G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0993)