Attorneys for the Commonwealth; compensation and collection of fees. (SB803)

Introduced By

Sen. Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) with support from co-patrons Del. Ibraheem Samirah (D-Herndon), and Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Attorneys for the Commonwealth; compensation and collection of fees. Prohibits the Compensation Board, when determining staffing and funding levels for offices of attorneys for the Commonwealth, from (i) considering the number of charges brought or the number of convictions obtained by such attorney for the Commonwealth; (ii) relying on standards devised or recommended by the attorney for the Commonwealth, law-enforcement agencies, or professional associations representing attorneys for the Commonwealth or law-enforcement officers; or (iii) using measures that increase if an attorney for the Commonwealth (a) elects to prosecute a more serious charge, (b) elects to prosecute additional charges from a single arrest or criminal incident, (c) obtains convictions rather than dismissing charges or offering reduced charges, or (d) proceeds with prosecution rather than diversion. The bill also requires attorneys for the Commonwealth to pay all fees collected by them in consideration of the performance of official duties or functions into the state treasury, instead of only half of such fees. The bill requires the State Treasurer to pay to the treasuries of the respective counties and cities of the attorneys for the Commonwealth a proportion of half of all such fees collected by all attorneys for the Commonwealth, as determined by each county or city's crime rate, criminal incident rate, or arrest rate. Finally, the bill changes the fees collected by attorneys for the Commonwealth on trials of felony indictments from $40 on each count to $120 for each trial of a Class 1 or Class 2 felony indictment, or other felony that carries a possible penalty of life in prison, except robbery, and $40 for each trial on robbery and all other felony indictments regardless of the number of counts. The bill contains technical amendments. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/08/2020Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20103175D
01/08/2020Referred to Committee on Local Government
01/20/2020Rereferred from Local Government (15-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/20/2020Rereferred to Judiciary
01/24/2020Assigned Juciciary sub: Criminal Law
01/24/2020Assigned Judiciary sub: Criminal Law
01/30/2020Impact statement from DHCD/CLG (SB803)
02/03/2020Continued to 2021 in Judiciary (15-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)

Duplicate Bills

The following bills are identical to this one: HB1035.


AtticusFinch writes:

Strongly support passage of this bill.

The worst-kept secret in Virginia criminal justice has been that (some) Commonwealths' Attorneys offices make (some) charging decisions with "the Comp. Board" in mind because their office staffing and funding is dependent on criminal statistics.

Just ask any defense attorney how often his client's case has had to get certified to the grand jury as a felony before being eventually reduced to a misdemeanor. If s/he has long experience or a broad exposure to lots of jurisdictions (especially in Tidewater), s/he will have stories to tell.

It's corrupt and it ought to end.