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In two developments, I am pleased as a supporter of Del. Bell for AG, to report two items:

First, Delegate Bell’s bill to authorize multijurisdictional grand juries for human trafficking cases was signed by the governor.

“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.”

Other media sources are reporting favorably on this issue and Del. Bell’s (BTW, Del. Peace signed off on this bill, too) initiative on this serious social problem:

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.
I will say that there are various views on the death penalty, pro and con, and I am sure Del. Bell respects all those views.  But as long as it is on the books, no heinous crime ought not be prosecuted for the ultimate penalty when the issue is resources available.  The AG must follow and enforce the law as it is written.  Let’s get this done to help those in law enforcement do their duty.  I would prefer but I do not speak for Del. Bell to link this to the appellate defender’s office.



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)

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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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