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2013 Studies

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.

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 students. Staff plans to review other states’ laws on these issues, collect data and meet with various representatives from around the state to determine what changes should be made to the current procedures.  A work group will be held to review the child sexual abuse portion of this study.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

2012 Studies

The Crime Commission was referred a number of studies during the 2012 Session of the General Assembly, in addition to the ongoing DNA Notification Project:

Illegal Cigarette Trafficking SJ 21

The Crime Commission was directed by the General Assembly to study why illegal cigarette trafficking occurs, financial impacts, prevalence and availability, methods used to counterfeit cigarettes and tax stamps, uses of technology to prevent, health implications of non-regulated cigarettes, and statutory options. Staff will review recent legislation, Virginia’s statutes and collect data to analyze the scope of the problem. Staff will also meet with various representatives, including federal, state and local government entities, law enforcement, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and other various organizations and agencies.

Collection of Forensic Evidence SB 205

The Crime Commission was requested to review the collection of forensic evidence in sexual assault cases where the alleged victim may not be able to give consent. Staff plans to conduct a review of surrounding states’ laws on these issues, collect data and meet with various representatives from around the state to determine what changes should be made to the current procedures.

Reorganizing and Recodifying Concealed Weapons Law HB 923

The Crime Commission was requested to review new legislation that would reorganize the concealed weapons statute. Staff will review current statutes for changes and, if found, compile a list of additional statutes that will need to be amended if the concealed statute is reorganized.

Review of Criminal Justice Training Academies

The Department of Criminal Justice Services requested the Crime Commission to conduct a review of criminal justice law enforcement regional and local training academies. Staff plans to review other states’ laws concerning how law enforcement academies are created and managed to determine whether the current regional academy model is best for Virginia. Staff plans to meet with involved entities and survey Virginia academies for more detailed information.

Review of Financial Exploitation of Incapacitated Adults

Delegate Robert Bell requested staff to conduct a review of financial exploitation of incapacitated adults. Staff plans to review other states' laws, including any unintended consequences of creating such laws, to determine whether Virginia should pass additional criminal statutes in this area. Staff plans to meet with involved organizations to seek their input on the issue.

Texting While Driving

The Crime Commission was requested to review the specific issue of texting while driving as it relates to reckless driving.This is as a result of a case that occured in Fairfax County.

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 the 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.

2011 Studies

The Crime Commission was referred a number of studies from the General Assembly during the 2011 Session, unless otherwise noted, as follows:

Animal Abuser Registry HB 1930

Staff plans to review the feasibility of implementing an animal abuser registry in Virginia.

Barrier Crimes

The Commission on Youth requested staff to assess barriers to kinship care placements in Virginia and develop recommendations to address policy, training, and funding challenges which may impede the utilization of kinship care, as well as a review of Virginia’s statutes.

Campus Police/ Report of Certain Incidents HB 2490

Staff plans to review issues regarding the requirement of a chief law-enforcement officer of a public or private institution of higher education to report the death or an alleged rape of any person on campus property to the local law-enforcement agency of the locality in which the institution is located.

Cyberbullying

Delegate Robert Bell requested staff to examine certain aspects of cyberbulling and impersonating individuals on social media websites.

Disposition of Unrestorably Incompetent Defendants HJ 626

Staff plans to study the options available for the disposition of criminal defendants who are determined to be incompetent to stand trail and cannot be restored to competency.

DNA Notification Project SB 1391 (2009)

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.

Domestic Abuser Registry HB 1932

Staff plans to review the feasibility of implementing a domestic abuser registry in Virginia.

Inherent Authority to Defer and Dismiss a Criminal Case HB 2513

Staff will review the Supreme Court of Virginia’s ruling in Hernandez v. Virginia and current statues pertaining to deferred disposition.

Juvenile Records

The Commission on Youth requested staff to review existing juvenile record requirements and establish guidelines for the protection of and purging of juvenile records after the juvenile’s adjudication date.

Medical Fraud Control Unit - Appointment of Investigators HB 2454

Staff plans to review other states’ laws concerning law enforcement officers that are sworn in as investigators for Medical Fraud Control Units in the Attorney General’s Office.

Reckless Driving/Speeding HB 1993 and HB 2322

Staff plans to conduct a review of surrounding states’ laws on these issues.

Reporting Missing Children

In response to the verdict in Casey Anthony’s trial, there has been enormous public outrage over reporting a missing child. Many states are considering legislation that would make it a crime to fail to report a child missing. Staff plans to review any required statutory changes to address the reporting of missing children in Virginia.

Sex Offender Registry SJ 348

Staff was directed to study the federal requirements regarding Virginia’s sex offender registry, examine its effectiveness in preventing sexual victimization, and determine the feasibility of implementing a tiered system.

Synthetic Marijuana

Last year the General Assembly passed legislation that made it illegal to possess, distribute, possess with the intent to distribute, or manufacture several synthetic cannabinoid chemicals. The Commission plans to hear an update regarding the prevalence of these chemicals, as well as other chemicals identified by the Lab that are starting to be abused in Virginia.

Unlawful Solicitation of a Child by an Adult HB 2396

Staff plans to review current Virginia statutes and other states’ laws regarding an adult’s unlawful solicitation of a child.

2010 Studies

The Crime Commission was referred a number of studies from the General Assembly during the 2010 Session, unless otherwise noted, as follows:

DNA Notification Project SB 1391 (2009)

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.

Indecent Liberties/Prostitution HJ 97

Staff was directed to study the penalties for taking indecent liberties with children and prostitution-related offenses involving children.

Juvenile Transfer and Certification SB 205, SB 389, HJ 136 (2006), HJ 113 (2008)

This is an ongoing study from 2006 that was recently continued at the Crime Commission's December 2009 meeting with a request that staff focus its research on transfer and certification.
Commission-sponsored legislation

Law Enforcement Emergency Response SB 847 (2009)

This study began in 2009, but was deferred until 2010 due to an ongoing civil suit, which has now been settled. As a result of recent incidents around the state, the Crime Commission's Executive Committee decided to extend the study's purview to include police pursuits as part of this study. A Law Enforcement Work Group was created to assist staff in examining these issues.
Commission-sponsored legislation

Law Enforcement Officers Procedural Guarantee Act SB 287

This issue was studied by the Crime Commission over 10 years ago. Staff will be updating and reviewing this issue for any changes. 

Police Lineups HB 207

A Law Enforcement Work Group was created to assist staff in examining this issue.
Commission-sponsored legislation

Protective Orders SB 208, HB 164, HB 216, HB 285, HB 453, HB 656, HB 1156

This study is comprised of seven bill referrals. A Protective Order Work Group was created to assist staff in examining these issues.