Friday, January 10, 2014

Court Names Criminal Discovery Panel
Court Names Criminal Discovery Panel
Court names criminal discovery study panel

The Supreme Court of Virginia has named a 23-member committee to consider proposed changes to the rule for criminal discovery.

The committee is chaired by Loudoun County Circuit Judge Thomas D. Horne, who also has chaired panels studying judicial boundaries and judicial workloads.

The court’s study panel follows a call for reform this year from an Indigent Defense Task Force established by the Virginia State Bar. That report was criticized as one-sided by prosecutors, who abandoned the study effort with complaints that the task force was dominated by defense lawyers.

At issue is whether prosecutors should have to allow access to routine police reports, among other matters. Currently, Rule 3A:11 provides access only to scientific reports prepared for law enforcement.

The court’s newly appointed committee includes prosecutors and defense lawyers, along with five judges, two lawyer-legislators, two law professors, and representatives of the attorney general’s office, the state police, local police chiefs, sheriffs, the state crime lab, and a victim-witness program. Also on board is VSB Ethics Counsel James M. McCauley.

The court did not provide information about a timeline for making recommendations or whether the committee will solicit additional comments from the public. The task force recommendation was twice put out for comments and produced scores of responses both times.

The following are members of the committee:
•Circuit Judge Thomas D. Horne, Chair
•Del. Robert B. Bell, R-Charlottesville
•Virginia Court of Appeals Judge Rossie D. Alston, Jr.
•Circuit Judge Marjorie T. Arrington
•Circuit Judge Randy I. Bellows
•Circuit Judge Michael L. Moore
•Sen. Richard H. Stuart, R-Montross
•Roanoke lawyer Thomas J. Bondurant Jr.
•Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael N. Herring
•Leesburg Deputy Public Defender Bonnie Hoffman
•Lynchburg Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael R. Doucette
•Floyd County Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Murray Shortt
•Senior Asst. Attorney General Virginia B. Theisen
•Washington & Lee University law Prof. David I. Bruck
•Virginia M. Coscia, Director of the Fredericksburg Victim Witness Assistance Program
•Sara N. Poole, Office of Legal Affairs, Department of State Police
•Stephanie Merritt, Department Counsel, Department of Forensic Science
•University of Richmond law Prof. John G. Douglass
•Douglas A. Ramseur, Capital Defender for the Southeastern Region
•Leesburg lawyer Alex N. Levay
•Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy J. Longo, Sr.
•VSB Ethics Counsel James McCauley
•Washington County Sheriff’s Major Jack Davidson

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