CRIMINAL JUSTICE + POLICING

Virginia lawmakers sent legislation to Gov. Ralph Northam Friday that for the first time will provide a path to seal past criminal convictions, records lawmakers and advocates say can make it impossible for people to rebuild their lives."Millions of Virginians with criminal histories will gain the ability to potentially...
The controversy surrounding the Virginia Parole Board has centered largely around the case of Vincent Martin, a man freed last year at 64 after serving more than 40 years in prison for murdering a Richmond police officer in 1979.Martin’s release drew outsized attention due to complaints from law enforcement...
With a Saturday deadline approaching, state lawmakers in the House and Senate are still working to resolve differences over landmark legislation that would legalize recreational marijuana in Virginia.As of Thursday evening, it was unclear whether the two chambers would be able to reach an agreement on the bill, which...
Two Virginia senators are asking for a “clear and transparent” General Assembly investigation into alleged wrongdoing by the Virginia Parole Board, which is under scrutiny for failing to follow state law and its own procedures by releasing violent offenders without properly notifying victims’ families or the prosecutors who represent the...
A dental hygienist who says she was fired by the Virginia Department of Corrections after a body scanner detected she was wearing a tampon can proceed with a sex discrimination lawsuit against the state, a federal judge ruled this week.The employee, Joyce Flores, alleged she was interrogated for hours...
Virginia lawmakers gave final passage to legislation abolishing the death penalty Monday, sending the bill to Gov. Ralph Northam, who has said he'll sign it.Northam's signature would make Virginia the first state in the South and the 23rd in the nation to end capital punishment. "This legislation says a lot...
Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler, D-Virginia Beach, decided there was a problem that needed fixing after hearing what was happening to her fellow real estate agents, whose work requires publicizing a cell phone number.Because the state already has a law against indecent exposure, she thought, there should be an equivalent ban...
Democrats in the House and Senate have been at odds for more than a year over dueling proposals to allow people convicted of certain crimes to have their criminal records sealed.On Wednesday, lawmakers in the two chambers announced they’d finally resolved their differences.“We’ve come to a strong compromise that...
Virginia has a law on the books that requires the state Department of Social Services to seek child support payments from parents of juvenile offenders in custody, ostensibly to help cover the costs of housing and educating incarcerated youth.It only brings in about $300,000 to $400,000 per year, a...
Virginia State Capitol
The General Assembly broke from its staid and often secretive approach to making judicial appointments this week when a hearing to interview candidates devolved into a spectacle that prompted one exasperated senator to let loose a string of expletives.Lawmakers from the House and Senate were interviewing Katie Uston, the...