Criminal Legislation

Virginia’s Supreme Court has handed down a ruling that could help people wrongfully convicted of crimes.

Early one morning in 1999, a group of young men robbed a diner in Norfolk, and lawyer Jim Neale says that crime led to murder.

“An off-duty federal police officer was a customer in that diner during that robbery, and she attempted to intervene, and a gunman, a masked gunman shot and killed her.”

Virginia's Rising Prison Rates

May 4, 2015

With 2.3 million Americans now behind bars, many states are looking at alternatives to jail time for those who commit non-violent crimes, but Virginia continues to imprison large numbers of people.

Crime in this country has fallen by more than 50% since the early 90’s, and Virginia has the third lowest rate of violent crime in the nation, but Lauren Brook-Eisen, a senior attorney with the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU says Virginia ranks 13th when it comes to locking people up. 

An event this weekend in Roanoke is tailored to help ex-offenders make a successful transition to mainstream society. 

“Probation, Parole and Sentencing Reform: Transitioning to Active Citizenship” is a forum organized by the Roanoke Branch of the NAACP, and organizers are hoping to educate and remind the public that ex-offenders deserve a second chance.

Hunter Mabry is a member of the NAACP’s Restorative Justice Committee.

Combating Campus Sexual Assault

Jul 30, 2014
Getty Images/NPR

Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner helped introduce a bill today to combat the high rates of sexual assaults on college campuses.


If you don’t attend college, your chance of being sexually assaulted in the U-S is lower than if you do go to a university.

"The statistics are appalling, but the stories are heart breaking," said Sen. Warner.

Police routinely use certain techniques to get confessions from suspects, but a new study from the University of Virginia suggests those tactics should not be used with juveniles.  Because their brains are not fully developed, social scientists say they will respond differently than adults and confess to crimes they didn’t commit.