Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers


  • 28 Feb 2019 2:27 PM | Danielle Payne (Administrator)

    Judge Kicks Verdict Over Disputed Scientific Evidence-VLW 2-28-19.pdf

    [VACDL Members in the News: Steve Benjamin, Cary Bowen, Betty Layne DesPortes]

  • 22 Dec 2018 12:08 PM | Danielle Payne (Administrator)

    RICHMOND (AP) -- A federal judge has granted an injunction to stop Virginia's Department of Motor Vehicles from enforcing a law requiring automatic license suspensions for failure to pay court fines.

    U.S. District Judge Norman Moon ordered DMV Commissioner Rick Holcomb to remove suspensions on three plaintiffs' licenses and $145 penalties to reinstate their driving privileges.

    The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the ruling came Friday, three days after Gov. Ralph Northam criticized the agency's enforcement policy.

    Angel Ciolfi is director of the Legal Aid Justice Center, which joined a law firm in contesting the matter. She described the ruling as a "victory for the Constitution and for common sense."

    Attorney General Mark Herring's spokesman says the office will "take the time needed to consider the judge's opinion" before deciding how to proceed.

  • 15 Aug 2018 2:40 PM | Danielle Payne (Administrator)

    Richmond Times Dispatch Discovery article 8-12-18.pdf

    Authorities, defense lawyers and others divided on proposals to increase information shared prior to criminal trials

     (click link above for full article text)

  • 03 Jul 2018 11:00 AM | Danielle Payne (Administrator)

    High Court Mulls Reform in Criminal Discovery

    VLW High Court Mulls Reforms in Criminal Discovery article 7-3-18.pdf

    Thank you to the VACDL members who submitted comments, many of whom who are quoted in the article! And, of course, special thanks to Doug Ramseur for his continued efforts to push for discovery reform in our Commonwealth.

  • 02 Jul 2018 11:09 AM | Danielle Payne (Administrator)

    What We Have Here is a Failure to Imaginate

    Prominent DC attorney Justin Dillon (and VACDL Spring Seminar 2018 speaker!) wrote an article for Above the Law, after reading The Daily Press story on David Lee's discovery of "memorandums of understanding" between police, state prosecutors and expert witnesses in child abuse cases. 

    VACDL is continuing to investigate this matter, so stay tuned...

    Justin Dillon is a partner at KaiserDillon PLLC in Washington, DC, where he focuses on white-collar criminal defense and campus disciplinary matters. Before joining the firm, he worked as an Assistant United States Attorney in Washington, DC, and at the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. His email is

  • 11 Jun 2018 11:32 AM | Danielle Payne (Administrator)

    Thank you to David Lee, one of VACDL's Past Presidents, for bringing this issue to our attention. VACDL has indeed filed FOIA requests and the documents received will be posted within the Member's Only section.

  • 29 May 2018 11:48 AM | Danielle Payne (Administrator)

    [USA TODAY, author: Richard Wolf]

    The Supreme Court ruled Today [May 29, 2018] that police generally cannot enter private property to search a motor vehicle without first obtaining a warrant.

    The 8-1 decision overruling three lower courts was written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Justice Samuel Alito dissented, calling a Virginia police officer's actions reasonable when he walked up a private driveway to confirm that a motorcycle had been stolen.

    Ryan Collins was arrested for possessing the stolen motorcycle, which had outrun Virginia police twice in 2013. The high court ruled that same year that police need a warrant to search outside a private home, but automobiles are exempt if a crime is suspected. In Collins' case, the two precedents collided.

    "The automobile exception does not permit an officer without a warrant to enter a home or its curtilage in order to search a vehicle therein," Sotomayor ruled.

    During oral argument, Chief Justice John Roberts said motor vehicles don't get the same privacy rights as houses because they can be driven away at a moment's notice. To make his point, he cited the famous race car from the 1986 film Ferris Bueller's Day Off — mistakenly recalling it as a Porsche when in fact it was a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spider.

    But Roberts joined Sotomayor's opinion Tuesday, leaving only Alito in dissent. 

    "An ordinary person of common sense would react to the court’s decision the way Mr. Bumble famously responded when told about a legal rule that did not comport with the reality of everyday life," Alito said, quoting Charles Dickens. "If that is the law, he exclaimed, 'the law is a ass — a idiot.'"

    The Supreme Court in recent years has been a firm defender of the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. It has held that police cannot use GPS equipment to track vehicles or search cellphones without a warrant. Earlier this term in a pending case, the justices voiced concerns about government monitoring of suspects by tracking the location of the cellphones.

    VACDL Member Buddy Weber of Charlottesville was counsel for Collins

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