Law and Crime

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. 

Hundreds of prison inmates in Virginia file grievances each year over the health care they get or don’t get behind bars.  Now, the state has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed on behalf of 1,200 prisoners.

It’s been more than three years since Abigail Turner, an attorney with the Legal Aid Justice Center, filed a class action suit in federal district court, claiming inadequate care had caused prisoners’ health to deteriorate at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women.  She said some - like 47-year-old  Darlene White - had died.

Albemarle County prosecutors say they won’t seek the death penalty against Jesse Matthew, who has now been indicted for the 2009 kidnapping and murder of 20-year-old Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington after a Metallica concert in Charlottesville.  He’s already facing a murder charge in connection with the death of 18-year-old UVA student Hannah Graham, and if convicted in that case, he could be executed.  Harrington’s parents, who were active in the search for their daughter’s killer, were in court today as the charges were read. 

Associated Press

Some Virginia localities already use police body cameras at their own discretion. But as more consider utilizing the tool, the state's Secure Commonwealth Panel is drafting recommendations to establish specific guidelines. However, the state ACLU has a little bit of a problem with how they're going about it.