Issues in Depth
For even more in-depth information about our criminal justice reform priorities, read Justice Forward Virginia’s “2019-20 Justice Reform To-Do List,” which can be found here.
“Criminal discovery” refers to the process of government disclosure of information about a case to the defendant. It is an essential due process safeguard, providing an accused notice of his charge and information necessary to prepare...
While other states -- including Virginia's neighbors -- take steps to decriminalize or legalize marijuana, eliminate mandatory minimums and reduce sentencing disparities, the Commonwealth takes an active role in the failed war on drugs...
Virginia is so certain "its criminal justice system works correctly the first time that the Virginia Supreme Court has all but closed the door on the right of those convicted to prove their innocence after conviction..."
Virginia’s cash-based bail system is deeply flawed. Money bail prevents many indigent defendants, and almost exclusively indigent defendants, from being released from jail while their cases are pending, leaving them to suffer a host of consequences...
With the implementation of ABA standards for capital defense, use of the death penalty has declined in recent years, but Virginia still holds firm as one of the most active death chambers in American history, and there are troubling signs that...
Court Costs and Fines
In Virginia and elsewhere, the costs of the justice system are billed increasingly to the accused, creating harsher treatment of poor defendants, including the risk of arrest and incarceration.
Despite reform efforts in the past two decades, Virginia’s indigent defense system remains "deeply flawed and fails to provide indigent defendants the guarantees of effective assistance of counsel required by federal and state law."
In Virginia, sometimes just being near alcohol can land you in jail. An arcane law called “interdiction” allows courts to label people “habitual drunkards” then incarcerate them for up to a year, just for purchasing, possessing or being under the influence of alcohol....
Other Issues (and Links)
Click here for more Virginia reform priorities, as well links to a variety of organizations in the Commonewalth that advocate for justice reform from across the ideological spectrum.