Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

You don't have to 'fight the good fight' alone. Join VACDL today.


    If you are a full-time Virginia Public Defender, make sure to take advantage of your VIDC group rate VACDL membership! Joining VACDL is super easy online [just click the "Sign up" button on this page!], and once your application has been approved by the VACDL Executive Director (she will confirm your employment with the VIDC), you can be added to the VACDL List Serv. We value your point of view and experience, so join today!

Board of Directors Elections

We welcome these new and returning Directors to the

VACDL Board of Directors:

Alan Polsky, District 1

Lauren Whitley, District 4

Richard Johnson, District 7

Douglas Ramseur, At-Large Seat #2

David B. Hargett, At-Large Seat #3

And congratulations to H. Eugene Oliver, III who will serve VACDL as President-Elect in 2020/President in 2021!

VACDL honors our new Life Members:

David M. Lee

Matt C. Pinsker

Upcoming events



The Office of the Federal Public Defender, Western District, announces an open Assistant Federal Public Defender position open in the Charlottesville office (full-time with federal salary and benefits). Applicants must be in good standing with the VSB and eligible for admission to the Western District of Virginia. 

N.B. Priority will be given to applications received by January 3, 2020.

VAW-2020-02 AFPD Charlottesville November 2019.pdf

Department of Forensic Science seeks cases eligible for Serology Case Review

 The Department of Forensic Science is seeking eligible cases for the DFS Serology Case Review which meet the following criteria:

   a. A DFS examiner conducted serological testing (i.e., ABO blood typing or secretion typing) in the case;

   b. the DFS examiner testified to the results of the serological     testing at trial; AND

   c. the defendant was convicted.

 For cases that meet the above criteria, please send the following information, if known, to DFS at

     -Defendant's name

     -Victim's name (if applicable or known)


     -Date of offense (at a minimum, year of offense)

     -FS Lab number (if known)

DFS Serology Case Review Request 8-28-19.pdf

    JFV/NACDL/VACDL Lobby Day 

 MARK YOUR CALENDARS for Friday, January 17, 2020 for the 3rd Annual Defenders' Day of Action! More information to be posted soon, but we will be heading to the General Assembly in Richmond to meet with State Senators and Delegates regarding criminal defense and criminal justice reform issues.

 If you aren't familiar with Justice Forward Virginia or what they have on their "to do list", please click the link below:

JFV 2019-2020 Justice Reform To Do List

 *UPDATE: On January 29, 2019, the Supreme Court of Virginia entered an Order to delay implementation of the new Discovery rules until July 1, 2020.  While the Court reiterates that "reform of the criminal discovery rules is long overdue," they desire to coordinate and cooperate with the other branches of government. The letter from Chief Justice Lemons is found below:

SCV Delays Discovery Rules Implementation

  On September 5, 2018, the Supreme Court of Virginia approved new rules regarding criminal discovery. After many years of work by VACDL members and our allies advocating for reform, a new playing field will emerge when these rules go into effect. To read the letter from Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons and the new rules, click below:

Supreme Court of VA adoption of discovery rules 9-5-18.pdf

Quote of the Quarter: 

      "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice"

-Martin Luther King, Jr.



If you were unable to attend our Fall CLE "Conquering the Mountains: New Paths to Win Your Case" but you'd like the substantial materials from the program, extra copies are available for $30 (bound booklet and electronic file included). Please email VACDL'S ED at to request a copy!


SAVE THE DATE: April 17, 2020

 for VACDL's Spring Seminar at George Mason University (Arlington campus). More details to come, but mark your calendars now!

SAVE THE DATE: Sept. 18, 2020

for VACDL's Fall CLE at the Mariott Oceanfront Hotel in Virginia Beach!



JOIN NOW and get 4 months for free

That's right, join VACDL now and you won't have to pay dues again until April 2021!

If you've never been a VACDL member (or you'd like to come back!) start your 2020 off on the right foot by joining the only voluntary Virginia bar organization exclusively focused on criminal defense!


VACDL endorses the following sponsors and partners:

VIDC Initial Certification Training 

Registration is through the VIDC, and there is no cost. 

[We will post the class dates for 2020 as they are made available]

VIDC Initial Certification

The VIDC website ( provides an overview of the court-appointed counsel certification process. We encourage all VACDL members to become certified to take court-appointed cases, and we offer a mentorship program to assist with the trial requirements for felony case certification. 


 We support the efforts to reform discovery rules in Virginia to ensure just and fair trials for all accused of criminal offenses. If you'd also like to support this initiative, click on the link below:

Virginia Fair Trial Coalition Support Agreement.pdf

Not a VACDL member?

VACDL List Serv

*Exciting news! We have created a brand new, more user-friendly, list serv and are closing the VACDLMembers Yahoo Group at the end of the year. If you are a VACDL member in good standing, you will receive a link granting you access to register for the new List Serv, hosted by during the first week of December 2019. Please contact Executive Director Danielle Payne at with any questions!*

VACDL Newsletter

 Each quarter, VACDL sends a newsletter, The Virginia Champion, to active members. Recent past editions are available in the Member's Only Section. 

*Members can now choose electronic or mailed delivery for The Virginia Champion. In your Member Profile, click "Edit Profile" and select your preferred delivery option!*

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