Sunday, July 7, 2013

Virginia State Crime Commission Schedule for 2013 Includes Sex Crimes

The Virginia State Crime Commission is a criminal justice agency established in the legislative branch of government in accordance with section 30-156 et seq. of the Code of Virginia. 

The purpose of the Commission is to study, report and make recommendations on all areas of public safety and protection. In so doing, the Commission shall endeavor to ascertain the causes of crime and recommend ways to reduce and prevent it, explore and recommend methods of rehabilitation of convicted criminals, study compensation of persons in law enforcement and related fields and study other related matters including the apprehension, trial and punishment of criminal offenders. 

The Commission is directed to make such recommendations as it deems appropriate with respect to the foregoing matters, and shall coordinate the proposals and recommendations of all commissions and agencies as to legislation affecting crimes, crime control and criminal procedure. The Commission cooperates with the executive branch of state government, the Attorney General's Office and the judiciary who are, in turn, encouraged to cooperate with the Commission. The Commission also cooperates with governments and governmental agencies of other states and the United States. 

The Commission consists of 13 members that include nine legislative members, three non-legislative citizen members, and one state official as follows: six members of the House of Delegates to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates in accordance with the principles of proportional representation contained in the Rules of the House of Delegates; three members of the Senate to be appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules; three non-legislative citizen members to be appointed by the Governor; and the Attorney General or his designee. Non-legislative citizen members must be citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The term of each appointee is for two years, except that the Attorney General and legislative members shall serve terms coincident with their terms of office. The Commission elects a chairman and vice-chairman annually, who shall be members of the General Assembly. 

The Crime Commission was referred a number of studies during the 2013 Session of the General Assembly. Additionally, the Commission plans to continue its study on Illegal Cigarette Trafficking, as well as continue to participate in the ongoing DNA Notification Project. 

Sex crime issues dominate Va. crime panel's agenda, April 26, 2013

2013 Studies 

  1. Child Sexual Abuse  AND Sexual Conduct between Teachers and Students HJ 595 
The Crime Commission was directed by the General Assembly to study the laws and policies governing the investigation of alleged child sexual abuse in the Commonwealth AND the feasibility of creating a criminal penalty for sexual conduct between secondary school teachers and adult (18 year old) students. The resolution also mandated that a work group be created for Part 1 of this study (laws and policies governing the investigation of alleged child sexual abuse in the Commonwealth) to assist in fulfilling the study directives.  The work group is comprised of about 30 representatives from around the state with experience in handling child sexual abuse cases.  The first meeting was held on June 20, 2013, where it was decided that a second meeting would be necessary. See schedule below. 

  1. Forced Prostitution SB 1273, HB 1541 and HB 1991
The Crime Commission was requested to review the expungement of charges in cases involving forced prostitution, as well as the disposition of minors engaged in forced prostitution.  Staff will review current statutes for possible changes and review any academic literature and studies on the topic including any unintended consequences. Staff plans to meet with involved organizations to seek their input on the issue.

  1. Joint Motion for Writ of Actual Innocence HB 1919
The Crime Commission was requested to review joint motions for writs of actual innocence. Staff will review current statutes for changes.
  1. Prior Sex Offenses SB 1114 / HB 1766
The Crime Commission was requested to review the possibility of allowing prior sex offense convictions into evidence in later sex offense cases. Staff will review current statutes for changes and review other states’ laws, as well as federal law.
  1. Illegal Cigarette Trafficking SJ 21 (2012)
Staff was requested at the 2012 December meeting to continue its review of illegal cigarette trafficking from last year’s study.  Specific attention will be devoted to reviewing ATF’s churning policy, as well as a general update on the status of the problem and usage of recently enacted laws. 
  1. DNA Notification Project SB 1391 (2009)
As a result of the passage of budget language during the 2008 Session and SB 1391 during the 2009 Session of the General Assembly, the Forensic Science Board was directed to ensure that all individuals, convicted in the 1980’s, whose case files at the Department of Forensic Science (DFS) contain biological evidence, be notified that such evidence exists and may be suitable for DNA testing. The Crime Commission has been requested by the Board to review the DFS database and oversee pro bono attorney volunteers who are contacting these individuals. The Executive Director serves as the Chair of the DNA Notification Subcommittee of the Forensic Science Board that is in charge of overseeing that this project is completed. 

The 2013 VSCC Schedule can be found here and the final location of each meeting can be found here 

All meetings are open to the public and the September, November and December meetings may allow for public comment. The draft agendas are posted on the meeting page or emailed out to those who sign up for VSCC notices approximately one week prior to the meeting being held and will note if citizens can speak on that date.