Justice System

The Virginia State Crime Commission is recommending a package of legislation that would provide authorities with additional tools to investigate and prosecute child sexual abuse. 

The proposals followed a lengthy study that revealed the difficulties that law enforcement and Child Protective Services encounter as they try to unearth the facts about allegations.

Although the Crime Commission has recommended the legislative package, it still must pass the General Assembly before it could take effect.

Jens Soering: Doubts, Politics & Possible Parole

Oct 29, 2013

Four years ago, then Governor Tim Kaine was talking with the Justice Department about transferring Jens Soering back to his homeland, Germany. 

A jury had found the former UVA honors student guilty of killing his girlfriend’s parents in Bedford County. 

Jens at first confessed to the crime, then said he did so only to protect the actual killer -- the woman he loved. 

Jens Soering: Back in the Spotlight

Oct 28, 2013

Virginia’s parole board is again considering the case of Jens Soering, a UVA honors student from Germany, convicted of killing his girlfriend’s parents in 1985. 

Soering has been behind bars for 27 years, but in certain circles there are persistent doubts, and his story remains in the news.  In part one of our series,

On March 30, 1985, police found the bodies of Derek Haysom, a retired Canadian steel executive, and his wife, Nancy Astor Haysom, in their home near Lynchburg – the place they called Loose Chippings.  They had been brutally murdered.

While Virginia has made significant strides to confront human trafficking, it’s still a growing problem—so much so that Governor McDonnell hosted the first-ever state Human Trafficking Summit. What those in attendance learned is that while Virginia-especially Northern Virginia—is still one of the largest hubs for traffickers, law enforcement is quickly gaining ground.

The Polaris Project is an organization active in the fight against human trafficking in the U.S. and globally.

Pushing for stronger state laws, they rank states on their efforts fight trafficking. Virginia once had a poor score but that has changed.

Three years ago, Polaris Project ranked Virginia at "tier 4"—its lowest ranking—for efforts to fight human trafficking.

Since then, lawmakers have increased penalties, provided more tools to help law enforcement identify and track such cases, and backed awareness campaigns.