Suicide; abolishes the common-law crime. (HB1063)

Introduced By

Del. Kaye Kory (D-Falls Church)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Common-law crime of suicide. Abolishes the common-law crime of suicide. Suicide is currently a common-law crime in Virginia, although there is no statutorily prescribed punishment. Read the Bill »


12/04/2020: Failed to Pass in Committee


01/07/2020Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20100984D
01/07/2020Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/23/2020Assigned Courts sub: Criminal
01/29/2020Subcommittee recommends reporting with substitute (7-Y 1-N)
01/29/2020Subcommittee recommends referring to Committee for Courts of Justice Civil subcommittee
01/30/2020Assigned Courts sub: Civil
02/03/2020Subcommittee recommends reporting (7-Y 1-N)
02/05/2020House committee, floor amendments and substitutes offered
02/05/2020Reported from Courts of Justice (15-Y 7-N) (see vote tally)
02/06/2020Read first time
02/07/2020Passed by temporarily
02/07/2020Read second time and engrossed
02/10/2020Read third time and passed House (63-Y 36-N)
02/10/2020VOTE: Passage (63-Y 36-N) (see vote tally)
02/11/2020Constitutional reading dispensed
02/11/2020Referred to Committee on the Judiciary
02/19/2020Continued to 2021 in Judiciary (10-Y 3-N) (see vote tally)
12/04/2020Left in Judiciary

Duplicate Bills

The following bills are identical to this one: HB1951.


Beth Tolley writes:

As a survivor of a loved one's suicide, I strongly support this bill. Most individuals who take their own life have mental health issues (estimated 90%). Considering suicide a crime does not deter suicides, it doesn't penalize those who take their lives. Instead, it contributes to the stigma that keeps people from getting help, from discussing their fears and concerns with their loved ones. The family and friends left behind suffer from the death. Having this death considered a crime is cruel and is not based on evidence (individuals must possess the mental capacity to comprehend the impact of their actions; there is no evidence that calling this a crime is preventative). It adds further suffering to those left behind.
There are a number of issues raised when this bill comes before the General Assembly - concerns about opening the door to assisted suicide, concerns about limiting death investigations. These concerns have NO BASIS in FACT. Religion is often brought up as a reason to maintain the criminal designation. However, major religious groups and leaders do not support crimminalization of the act or demonization of the individual, but rather support compassion and prevention.

Margie Lehrman writes:

Taking life with one's own hand is tragic. It is not criminal. Change this medieval theory that no longer exists in Western, modern nations and states. Oppressive societies might still recognize it as a crime. The Commonwealth of Virginia is better than that. Now is the time to repeal a law that should never have been a part of this state's history.

Julia Liebeskind writes:

This bill cruelly and heartlessly criminalizes what is always a tragedy - for the victim, and for all of his or her loved ones. People commit suicide out of deep despair, or out of delusions brought on by mental illness, or substance abuse. How can someone under these circumstances ever be considered guilty of anything? The idea that suicide is a crime is rooted in medieval religious dogma, and has no place in a modern, humane world. Please repeal this law immediately. It causes untold suffering.