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 "JOIN TODAY" 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!
COVID-19 COURT UPDATE:
ORDERS EXTENDING DECLARATION OF JUDICIAL EMERGENCY
from the Supreme Court of Virginia:
There is a lot of discussion on the VACDL List Serv regarding the COVID-19 closures and how your cases and clients are being affected. If you are a VACDL member and have not subscribed to the List Serv, please contact Executive Director Danielle Payne at email@example.com for List Serv access information
Registration is through the VIDC, and there is no cost.
The VIDC website (vadefenders.org) 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.
1604 Santa Rosa Road, Suite 200
Richmond, VA 23229
Virginia COVID-19 Justice Coalition:
VIRGINIA FAIR TRIAL COALITION:
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:
VACDL BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
The Board of the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (VACDL) expresses sorrow and anger over the experiences of the innumerable victims of excessive force, over-policing, and the militarization of law enforcement that have increasingly been brought to light, most recently with the deaths of George Floyd and others. Recent events have acted as a catalyst for reform. Many factors that have been swept under the rug for decades contribute to the injustices that we are seeing. We are an organization dedicated to the presumption of innocence and due process for all. It is painfully obvious that there are too many unnecessary deaths in police-citizen encounters which are a result of systemic problems, including racism, that have been neglected for far too long. We are now at a crossroads where there is widespread recognition of these problems and that they can no longer be ignored.
As we move forward to create new ways to police our society, we must also recognize that the issues are not simple and the solutions are going to require the input of all stakeholders in our community, including citizens, police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, legislators, and judges.
The criminal justice system is where the effects of racism are often most visible. Disproportionate arrests of people of color and overly punitive application of laws have a disparate impact on minority communities. VACDL calls for changes that are long overdue. This is a time for reform.
VACDL is committed to fighting against racism and injustice through legislative advocacy, by holding our elected officials to account, and pushing for real, significant reform in policing. VACDL will continue to fight for a fair and just system. These changes will not come easily, but we will continue to ensure that our organization, and the voice of our membership, and our clients, will be involved in these important discussions.
Our goal is, and has always been, to ensure equal justice for everyone regardless of who they are, where they come from or the color of their skin. VACDL’s stated mission is ‘to improve the quality of justice in Virginia by seeking to ensure fairness and equality before the law,’ and that applies to all. We stand together with those who fight injustice and join in the growing momentum to create genuine and lasting change now, and remedy the systemic problems plaguing our criminal justice system and society.
"Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are."
Controlled Substances Training from DFS for
Criminal Attorneys and Judges
The Department of Forensic Science began offering training for Virginia criminal attorneys and judges in 2018. The courses are designed to help attorneys and judges who use and evaluate testing in their cases to have the background to understand the methods and practices of the discipline.
The first offering, a day-long DNA training was held in 2018 and again in 2019. A training on the DUI/DUID discipline, which was a half-day training, was held in 2019.
Controlled Substances Training for Virginia Criminal Attorneys and Judges
A half-day training on Controlled Substances for criminal attorneys and judges in Virginia will be held virtually on the following dates:
Pre-recorded presentations on each topic will be shared followed by live question and answer periods. A draft agenda is available here. There is no registration fee for the training, and no CLE credits will be given.
To register for the training, please click on the date of the training above that you wish to attend and complete the Survey Monkey registration form by the specified deadline. You will receive a confirmation email once you have been registered.
If you have any questions about the registration form, please contact Nancy Batterson at (804) 786-2281.
Another successful program completed! Thank you to everyone who attended our VA Beach seminar, "Surf's Up: New Tools and Techniques for Riding the Wave of Criminal Justice Reform" on Friday, August 27th. The oceanfront resort venue was amazing, the weather was perfect and oh yeah, the speakers and topics were EXCELLENT as well! If you missed this one, you missed something special, that is for sure. We are busy working on our 2022 programs, so stay tuned for Save the Date announcements.
N.B. The "Fall" CLE program is pending approval for 6 MCLE credit hours, including 1 ethics hour. Additionally, our program fulfilled 6 of the 8 hours needed for re-certification of misdemeanor/felony court-appointed work, including 2 hours of behavioral/mental health disorders training that is required as of 7/1/21.
We will circulate the MCLE Course ID by email to all registered attendees as soon as we can.
CALL FOR COMMENT FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF VIRGINIA:
The Supreme Court of Virginia is considering proposed amendments to the Rules of Court, Part Six, Section III, Canons of Judicial Conduct, and seeks input from VACDL members: judicial_canons_call_for_comments.pdf
Comments on the proposed amended Canons must be received by September 29, 2021 and must be addressed to:
Muriel-Theresa Pitney, Chief Deputy Clerk Supreme Court of Virginia Via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the subject line “Comment on Judicial Canons”
In the alternative, comments may be mailed to the Clerk’s office at:
Clerk, Supreme Court of Virginia
100 N 9th Street 5th Floor
Richmond, VA 23219
VIDC openings can be found on the careers page.
If you have any questions about the positions feel free to contact Amari Harris at email@example.com__________________________________________________
The Court of Appeals of Virginia is hiring for several new staff attorney positions. There may be additional positions available over the course of the next few months so please check the link below frequently:
LexisNexis has partnered with VACDL on the production of Virginia Criminal Laws Annotated, an "essential reference for criminal law practitioners with comprehensive coverage of Virginia criminal laws and procedure." VACDL had input into the content and design, and will continue to be involved in production in coming years. **N.B. The 2021 edition includes updates from 2020, not July 2021. The new edition will include the changes in the law that went into effect July 1, 2021**
It is available for purchase as a large softbound volume or as an ebook, for the great price of $79.
As an extra benefit of your membership, VACDL members in good standing receive an additional 25% discount on the regular price!*
BUY YOUR COPY TODAY!
To save 25% on Virginia Criminal Laws Annotated, please reference or enter promotion code: VACDL2021
Visit the LexisNexis® Store athttp://www.lexisnexis.com/VACDL2021
or call 800.533.1637 to speak with a LexisNexis® account representative.
*Offer expires December 31, 2021. Offer applies to new orders only. Price current as of January 2021. Prices are before shipping and taxes are calculated, shipped to a U.S. address only. Prices are subject to change without notice. LexisNexis® eBook, CD, DVD and downloadable product sales are final and not returnable. Current subscriptions, future renewals or updates and certain products are excluded from this offer. Sales to federal government customers may be subject to specific contract pricing. Discounts may be available to customers who subscribe to both online and print publications, subject to your employer’s policy. Other restrictions may apply. Void where prohibited. See www.lexisnexis.com/StoreTerms.
March 15, 2021
DUES INVOICES FOR 2021-2022 HAVE BEEN EMAILED!
(If you've joined VACDL recently, or are a Virginia Public Defender, you did not receive an invoice.)
N.B. You may have submitted a payment as recently as August or September for your 2020 dues, but that payment was for the period April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021. The extension to pay during the earlier part of the pandemic allowed many attorneys to remain VACDL members when they needed our community the most. If you are continuing to experience a financial hardship and would like to discuss a payment arrangement for the current year's dues, please reach out to our Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are a former VACDL member, or have inadvertently let your membership lapse, now is a great time to re-join the only voluntary Virginia bar organization exclusively focused on criminal defense!
And remember, only VACDL members in good standing have access to our List Serv so contact VACDL's Exec. Director at email@example.com if you have questions about your VACDL membership status!
PRESS RELEASE FROM NACDL, VACDL, the ACLU of Virginia, Justice Forward Virginia and the Legal Aid Justice Center, August 6, 2020
Coalition Launches Virginia Redemption Initiative, Expanding NACDL’s Return to Freedom Project
Washington, DC (August 6, 2020) The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (VACDL), the ACLU of Virginia, Justice Forward Virginia, and the Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC), today announced the launch of the Virginia Redemption Project.
The Project will recruit, train, and support volunteer lawyers to assist incarcerated individuals to submit petitions to the governor for executive clemency (which in Virginia is called a conditional pardon), and for other available post-sentencing relief. A conditional pardon is an act by the governor to modify a sentence. Individuals granted a conditional pardon are given terms and conditions for early release which, if violated, can result in re-incarceration. At its core, the Virginia Redemption Project is focused on ensuring that those who are most at risk of illness from COVID-19 and who cannot afford a lawyer have access to meaningful review of their case.
On April 22, 2020, the Virginia General Assembly passed a budget amendment authorizing the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) to grant early release to some incarcerated individuals who had less than one year remaining on their sentence. While this has brought relief to some individuals, many more individuals who can be safely released remain incarcerated. In May 2020, a lawsuit brought by the ACLU of Virginia and Charlottesville attorney Elliott Harding relating to the continued confinement of individuals at high risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a settlement agreement, which not only addressed health care and hygiene needs of those being held, but promised expanded and expedited review of petitions for conditional pardons. While the remedial measures in the settlement provide hope for post-sentencing relief for thousands of vulnerable people at high risk, neither the settlement nor the legislature has provided any funding, resources, or other mechanisms to provide representation to those seeking release. This coalition was formed to address this need.
“Through NACDL’s extensive experience in supporting clemency and compassionate release projects, including Clemency Project 2014 during the Obama Administration, the NACDL/FAMM State Clemency Project, the Compassionate Release Clearinghouse, as well as other initiatives that are a part of NACDL’s Return to Freedom Project, NACDL is uniquely positioned to help with these immediate release efforts,” explained NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer. “Working with our partners, NACDL aims to make the promise of redemption a reality for as many qualified candidates in Virginia’s prisons as possible.”
“The Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is proud to join in the Virginia Redemption Project to assist incarcerated persons who are vulnerable to COVID-19 in seeking early release,” said Shawn Stout, Esq., VACDL Board Member and VACDL Emergency Response Committee Member. “The Commonwealth has not done nearly enough to protect incarcerated persons and the communities around them from the spread of COVID-19, and the virus has continued to sweep through Virginia’s prisons, jails, and detention centers. The Virginia Redemption Project will help move the Commonwealth in the right direction by ensuring meaningful review for many more people who should be released.”
“People who are incarcerated are facing a major crisis. The virus is rapidly spreading in Virginia’s prison facilities, and incarcerated people are unable to take measures to safely socially distance or protect themselves like those in the general public. Without intervention by the administration, people with serious medical issues unnecessarily locked up in prisons are most at risk of illness or even death,” said ACLU-VA Legal Director Eden Heilman. “The Virginia Redemption Project will fill the need for people who are incarcerated with serious medical issues and who need help and representation to seek their safe release.”
“Virginia’s jails and prisons are currently dealing with the effects of COVID-19 and mass incarceration, which has proven to be a deadly combination,” says Bryan Kennedy, Policy Director for Justice Forward Virginia. “This project will prove to our elected officials that many people who are currently incarcerated can be released, which will improve public health at no risk to public safety.”
“Virginia is an outlier among the fifty states in its lack of meaningful release options for sick and elderly prisoners—those people who are especially at risk of serious illness and death due to COVID-19,” said Shannon Ellis, an Attorney with the Legal Aid Justice Center. “We hear every day from incarcerated individuals and their loved ones who are living on the front lines of the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on prisons and jails. With this project, we hope to expand access to release for those who need it most desperately.”
If you are an attorney licensed to practice in Virginia and you would like to volunteer to take on one or more petitions through the Project, please click here.
If you are seeking the assistance of the Project, please click here.
This is a Project of NACDL, VACDL, the ACLU of Virginia, Justice Forward Virginia, and the Legal Aid Justice Center.
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.
The Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (VACDL) is a statewide organization of over 600 attorneys whose practice is primarily focused on the representation of those accused of criminal violations. Founded in 1992 as the Virginia College of Criminal Defense Attorneys, VACDL changed its name in 2002 to reflect its affiliation and strong ties to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. VACDL's mission is to improve the quality of justice in Virginia by seeking to ensure fairness and equality before the law.
The ACLU of Virginia promotes civil liberties and civil rights for everyone in the Commonwealth through public education, litigation and advocacy with the goal of securing freedom and equality for all. For more information on the ACLU of Virginia, go to www.acluva.org.
Justice Forward Virginia is a non-partisan advocacy organization that fights for criminal legal system reform in Virginia. JFV works with legislators and other advocates to improve the laws of the Commonwealth to make our criminal legal system one that actually does justice for all who are brought into it.
The Legal Aid Justice Center partners with communities and clients to achieve justice by dismantling systems that create and perpetuate poverty. Justice means racial justice, social justice, and economic justice. Learn more at www.justice4all.org.
Not a VACDL member?
VACDL LIST SERV
*Exciting news! We have created a new, more user-friendly list serv hosted by Gaggle.email! If you are a VACDL member in good standing, you received an email last year with your access link. If you need the link re-sent, please reach out! New (or formerly lapsed) VACDL members will receive the access link upon approval of their membership applications. Please contact Executive Director Danielle Payne at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!*
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!*
VACDL endorses the following sponsors and partners:
PLATINUM LEVEL SPONSOR:
Hugh E. "Teddy" Black, III
David M. Lee
Matt C. Pinsker
Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers