Va. Lawmakers Likely to Examine Innocence Law

(AP) RICHMOND - Virginia's procedure for exonerating wrongly convicted inmates is expected to get a close look in the 2013 General Assembly.

The so-called "21-day rule" says only an appellate court can consider new evidence of innocence presented three weeks after sentencing. The law is getting extra scrutiny because of the Johnathan Montomery case.

Montgomery spent four years in prison for sexual assault before his accuser recanted. A circuit court judge exonerated Montgomery, but Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said the judge overstepped his authority. Montgomery spent 12 more days behind bars before receiving a gubernatorial pardon.

A Cuccinelli spokesman says that even before the Montgomery case, the attorney general was working with lawmakers and advocates on draft legislation to make the process a little easier.


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