Attorney General; instituting or conducting criminal prosecutions for acts of violence. (SB563)

Introduced By

Sen. Ryan McDougle (R-Mechanicsville)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Attorney General; instituting or conducting criminal prosecutions for acts of violence. Authorizes the Attorney General to institute or conduct criminal prosecutions in cases involving a violation of the criminal laws involving an act of violence when such prosecution is requested by the sheriff or chief of police investigating the violation. The bill also provides that, prior to instituting or conducting a criminal prosecution for such cases involving a violation of the criminal laws involving an act of violence, the Attorney General shall give notice to the local attorney for the Commonwealth where such violation occurred of his intent to institute or conduct such criminal prosecution. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/12/2022Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/12/22 22103980D
01/12/2022Referred to Committee on General Laws and Technology
01/19/2022Rereferred from General Laws and Technology (13-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/19/2022Rereferred to Judiciary
01/25/2022Senate committee, floor amendments and substitutes offered
01/26/2022Passed by indefinitely in Judiciary (8-Y 7-N) (see vote tally)


ChangeServant, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

UPDATE: This bill was passed by indefinitely in Senate Judiciary. It is dead for this session. OPPOSE this bill. AG Miyares and his patron Senator Ryan McDougle apparently believe that it is appropriate for the state legislature to give a local police chief, who is an employee of a locality and subject to being hired and fired by the county manager/executive or city manager/chief administrative officer, state statutory authority to bypass the locally elected constitutional officer whose job it is to prosecute crimes (the Commonwealth's Attorney) if that police chief doesn't like the local prosecutor's decisions about whether and when to prosecute a case. And, they'd also grant another independent constitutional officer, the sheriff, the same authority to have the AG override local prosecutorial decisions.
Up to now, the law (restated in the bill) has clearly said "the Attorney General shall have no authority to institute or conduct criminal prosecutions in the circuit courts of the Commonwealth except" in limited circumstances specifically authorized by the legislature (initially, theft of state property, for example), and, only then, "with the concurrence of the local commonwealth's attorney."
What Miyares is seeking to do is to take away the authority to govern police and prosecutions at the local level ... to override the will of the prosecutors elected by the voters who are residents of the locality and have prosecutorial decisions made by him ... a person who may or may not have garnered a majority of votes in that particular jurisdiction.
The people being policed deserve to have the most direct control over the policies and procedures being used by the people policing them, whether at the ballot box or by public engagement in civilian review boards or other mechanisms for making their views known.
Mr. Miyares' wants to substitute his judgment for that of certain local prosecutors he has described as "progressive." This is not what the voters who elected those local constitutional officers want or expect from him as AG.

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