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ALERT: Statewide Indigent Defense Bill UP Monday PM in Subcommittee 3!

It’s UP Monday!  The long needed correction to the Virginia justice system:  Each county or city will have a public defender office if HB 1296 passes.

HB 1296 talking points:

City of Richmond has a PD office but not Henrico, Hanover, Chesterfield, Goochland or Powhatan; no PD office west of Wythe County (neither Bristol nor Abingdon, nor the judicial circuits further west than I-81 have a PD office.

Some other reasons:

  • There is an institutional advantage to a PD office that individual court-assigned attys cannot meet – PD offices have or can have investigators, sentencing/juvenile/appellate specialists and support staff.  Also training and mentoring.
  • According to the 2012 Judicial Funding Resolution signed by seven statewide bar presidents the judicial branch earned $280m more than it needed (probably fines and costs) in support of more judges – so the money is potentially there.
  • The institutional advantage of PD offices in some jurisdictions and not others places the Commonwealth in danger of unequal justice under law.  This is aggravated by the rural/urban divide.


Can you come?  The subcommittee meets Monday PM 15 minutes after the full committee adjourns and the full committee meets 30 minutes after session adjourns for the day.  The bill is in the second group of bills and is 13th overall.

Subcommittee 3 of House Courts of Justice meets in House Room 3 of the Capitol but that is always subject to change.

If not, these nine legislators are on the subcommittee.  Let them hear from you.

Adams, L.R. (Chairman), Leftwich, Campbell, Collins, Miyares, Hope, Simon, Carroll Foy, Bell, Robert B.

If you click on the names, you’ll find their emails but a simple way to remember is this:

Del [first initial of first name] [last name] at

L Adams, J Leftwich, J Campbell, C Collins, J Miyares, P Hope, M Simon, J CarrollFoy, R Bell

Thanks for your support.




About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

3 Responses to “ALERT: Statewide Indigent Defense Bill UP Monday PM in Subcommittee 3!”

  1. Sandy Sanders

    URGENT NEWS – in case someone is coming to RVA for the hearing. The bill had to be withdrawn; more details perhaps later. Thank everyone for their support.


  2. GeneThePopulist says:

    URGENT BREAKING NEWS!—HB 1296 was literally “slaughtered” in commitee by a vote of 8-0 against. Apparently there was little appetite by members of either party to fleece the taxpayer with this nonsense bill.

    Now, the cookie jar has been taken off the counter, Sandy. Your credibility is now at an all time low.

    • Sandy Sanders

      I will discuss the details of this with the delegate but making sure the Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel applies equally to all Virginian regardless of where they are charged with a jailable crime is not nonsense nor is it a fleece of the taxpayer. But we’ll try again next year. Thanks Gene for being a regular reader!



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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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