Virginia Supreme Court Declines Recommendations for Discovery Reform in Criminal Cases, Fairfax Criminal Lawyer Muhammad Elsayed explains.
In a setback to efforts to reform the criminal justice system in Virginia, the Supreme Court of Virginia declined to adopt the recommendations of a committee that the Court itself had established to consider criminal justice reforms.
The Supreme Court appointed committee, which consisted of experienced prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, police officers, and scholars from across Virginia, had made recommendations aimed at leveling the playing field between prosecutors and defendants in criminal cases by expanding the Virginia limited discovery rule, while protecting the identities of victims and witnesses. Less than one year after the committee provided its detailed proposed reforms, the Supreme Court declined, without comment, to adopt those recommendations.
Reforms of the criminal justice system in Virginia are badly needed. Virginia is one of several states in which prosecutors and police officers are subject to very few requirements to disclose information before trial to the defense through what is known as the “discovery” process, thus providing prosecutors with much discretion in setting their own discovery policies. That means that the amount of information disclosed to defendants and their attorneys before trial varies greatly from county to county. In other words, two defendants facing identical charges with similar facts, but in different counties may be provided different amounts of information before trial, information which is critical to adequate preparation and investigation.
The lack of full discovery before trial makes it that much more critical for defendants in criminal cases to obtain the best and most vigorous representation available. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, call the trusted Fairfax attorneys at Greenspun Shapiro right away.
Our attorneys are available to discuss your legal situation during an initial consultation. You can schedule this meeting by calling 703-352-0100.