Opinion: Commentary: Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorneys Voicing Support for Criminal Justice Reform

Opinion: Commentary: Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorneys Voicing Support for Criminal Justice Reform

Dear Senator Surovell, Leader Herring, and Chair Bagby:

We are a group of Commonwealth’s Attorneys who represent and are responsible for the safety of over 40 percent of the population of the Commonwealth of Virginia. As the national dialogue and push for meaningful systemic change within criminal justice and policing continues, we submit this letter to you as a statement of our commitment to these changes and meaningful reforms and of our willingness to be partners by offering our assistance to you and to your colleagues as you propose and implement these critically needed reforms.

We have seen the Senate Democratic Caucus’ and the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus’ list of priorities for the upcoming Special Session, and beyond, and truly appreciate the agenda’s commitment to meaningful measures.

We would like to offer our support and advocate our strong commitment to the advancement of these proposals, including, but certainly not limited to:

• All measures related to police officer accountability for use of force misconduct and other behavior-related complaints, to include the requirement to allow prosecutors unrestricted access to all police reports, information, and disciplinary records of officers involved in a matter before the court;

• A requirement that all warrants be served during the daytime and include a knock- and-announce provision with additional showing to a judge, not a magistrate, for (i) nighttime service and (ii) no-knock service;

Hon. Amy Ashworth, Prince William County and City of Manassas

Hon. Anton Bell, City of Hampton

Hon. Buta Biberaj, Loudoun County

Hon. Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, Arlington County and City of Falls Church

Hon. Steve Descano, Fairfax County and City of Fairfax

Hon. James M. Hingeley, Albemarle County

Hon. Stephanie N. Morales, City of Portsmouth

Hon. Joseph D. Platania, City of Charlottesville

Hon. Bryan Porter, City of Alexandria

Hon. Shannon L. Taylor, Henrico County