In two developments, I am pleased as a supporter of Del. Bell for AG, to report two items:
“Working with the attorney general’s office, I introduced HB 1870 to allow multijurisdictional grand juries to investigate additional types of human trafficking,” Bell said in a statement. “This is important because these crimes often stretch across multiple jurisdictions.”
Authorities believe 16-year-old Jennifer Romero has traveled from Augusta County to Arlington and throughout northern Virginia. She was originally reported as a runaway, until police found out she was lured into taking off with a man.
Now as authorities try to save this girl, a new law, just signed off by Governor Bob McDonnell, gives police new hope in cracking down on human trafficking crimes.
The other matter is one I have blogged on or discussed with with several people: The need to assist local Commonwealth’s Attorneys in capital cases when it is a death appropriate crime. The defense has many resources available but that can overwhelm a Commonwealth’s Attorneys office. Here is Del. Bell’s position on this question:
Dear Sandy:I would strongly support an effort to establish a Capital Litigation Unit that could directly assist prosecutors who are trying capital cases. Currently there is an advisory role, but no ability to be involved in a day-to-day way. As you know, many prosecutors, especially those in smaller jurisdictions, have never tried a capital case when one occurs in their county. They are forced to try what is of course the most serious — and also most complicated — criminal case without ever having done one before. Meanwhile, death penalty opponents are often very experienced and specialized. I think it would make sense to have the same level of specialization on the prosecution side, and it would make sense to organize this through the AG’s office.Rob