State Exploring Way to Help Victims of Wrongful Conviction

By: Brendan Ponton Email
By: Brendan Ponton Email

HARRISONBURG,Va. (WHSV) -- The Virginia State Crime Commission is looking at ways to help people who have been wrongfully convicted of crimes.

Under the current law, if a person has been convicted of a crime, but new evidence comes out showing innocence, it can take months for the person to leave jail while the court considers the evidence under what's called a Writ of Actual Innocence.

A law before the state legislature would change that and the idea is under review in the state crime commission.

Some would like to see a change where if new evidence comes out, while it's being considered, the person convicted could actually leave jail under the terms of a bond with a filing with a Commonwealth's Attorney's Office.

So the person wouldn't have to wait for months when something, such as DNA evidence or another form, clearly indicates innocence.

A local commonwealth's office thinks this makes sense.

"Our office certainly would be in support of any procedure that would expedite the innocence process for those who are found to be actually innocent of their crime, either through DNA evidence or other scientific analysis. A lot of that, which is available today that we did not have available to us 10 and 20 years ago," said Chad Logan, the Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney for Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.

Logan said he doesn't know of any cases in his office where something like this has happened in Harrisonburg or Rockingham County.

The state crime commission will now draft a bill about this for further consideration.

50 North Main Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801 540-433-9191 - Switchboard 540-433- 4028 - Fax 540-433-2700 - News Fax

WSVF Public Inspection File

Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 222363101 -