Law & Crime

Legal and Criminal

Science plays a growing role in crime detection and prosecution, but experts at four universities say a lot can go wrong in the lab, and many people may be wrongly convicted based on bogus claims.  Now, the University of Virginia has launched a blog to share research on the subject.

The analysis of DNA and hair samples, footprints and bite marks may all be used in court to convict people of crimes they did not commit.  Even fingerprints can mislead according to Law Professor Brandon Garrett.

Jesse Matthew, Jr Gets Three Life Prison Terms

Oct 2, 2015

Jesse Matthew, Junior of Charlottesville has been sentenced to three life prison terms for the attempted capital murder and sexual assault of a woman a decade ago in Northern Virginia.

The judge ordered the sentences to be served consecutively at the hearing this afternoon in Fairfax.  Matthew’s family asked the judge for lenience, and a former girlfriend wrote a letter on Matthew’s behalf, saying he had been raped as a child.

Virginia's governor, attorney general, and public safety secretary marked the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month by focusing on the number of homicides committed with guns. Their message is that many of the Commonwealth’s domestic violence deaths last year—and many other fatalities—could have been prevented with several key gun control laws. 

Attorney General Mark Herring has launched a new initiative to train law enforcement officers in “impartial policing” and how to deescalate dangerous situations.   

The idea was prompted by recent incidents of citizen fatalities and neighborhood protests against police across the U.S.   The program also aims to enhance cooperation between police and citizens—and help ensure that communities have trust and confidence that they’re being treated fairly.

A recent state report revealed that more than 2300 Personal Evidence Recovery Kits in police departments throughout Virginia have not been tested.  The evidence could potentially identify and lead to the prosecution of sex offenders.