Law and Crime

The Virginia Department of Corrections has more than 30,000 people locked up in state prisons, local and regional jails, each costing taxpayers an average of more than $32,000 a year. 

Those who committed crimes after 1994 are not eligible for parole, but Governor Terry McAuliffe has appointed a commission to study that situation and make recommendations.

Overhauling the Criminal Justice System

Oct 19, 2015

Virginia Republican Congressman Bob Goodlatte is pushing bipartisan legislation to overhaul the nation’s criminal justice system. 

Washington is gridlocked, but that doesn’t mean the two parties aren’t working together behind the scenes. For more than a year a bipartisan group of lawmakers have been trying to tackle criminal justice reform. Congressman Goodlatte, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, says the negotiations were tough, but that in the end they came up with a legitimate compromise.

Governor Terry McAuliffe has signed an executive order giving local law enforcement more resources to prosecute gun crimes.

It’s part of a push by the governor to do what he can to crack down on gun violence in the state

The order creates a joint task force, focusing on how better to enforce gun laws already on the books in the state…  

“We’re going to come after you and we’re going to prosecute you.”

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.