In a letter to lawmakers, Virginia prosecutors advocate for criminal justice reform

Virginia News

Henrico County Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon Taylor (photo taken by WRIC’s Laura Perrot).

(WRIC) — A group of commonwealth’s attorneys from across Virginia has announced their support for criminal justice reform.

In a letter addressed to Virginia Senator Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax), House Majority Leader Charniele L. Herring (D-Alexandria) and Virginia Legislative Black Caucus Chair Lamont Bagby (D-Henrico), the group, which represents over 40 percent of the commonwealth, pushed for meaningful reforms in the state.

Eleven of Virginia’s top prosecutors declared in the letter that they are ready to work with state lawmakers during the upcoming special session, and beyond, to implement systemic change within criminal justice and policing policies.

“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,” read the letter addressed Monday, July 13.

Some proposals sought for advancement in the letter includes:

  • The authority to allow prosecutors unrestricted access to all police reports, information and disciplinary records of officer-involved incidents.
  • All warrants to be served in the daytime, with a knock-and-announce provision, similar to the legislation passed in Louisville, following the shooting death of Briana Taylor.
  • The elimination of a six-month driver’s license suspension for drug convictions.
  • The ability to expunge convictions for records to enable a “meaningful second chance.”

Henrico’s Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon L. Taylor is one of 11 Virginia prosecutors to sign the call-for-action letter.

We stand ready to be of assistance to you and the members of the General Assembly in
the lead-up to and during the Special Session. We applaud your willingness to make
these most needed changes that will directly and positively impact the communities in
which we are honored and privileged to serve each and every day.

VIRGINIA PROGRESSIVE PROSECUTORS FOR JUSTICE

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