Commonwealth’s Attorneys sign letter supporting criminal justice reform

Updated: Jul. 13, 2020 at 10:23 PM EDT
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ALBEMARLE Co., Va. (WVIR) - Calls for criminal justice reform are growing louder in Virginia as the push for change has gained momentum since the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of police in Minneapolis.

Now a group of Commonwealth’s Attorneys, including Albemarle County’s top prosecutor, are voicing support for new criminal justice reform measures.

This comes after the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus released the list of bills it will introduce in the special session.

“This has been an issue for decades, if not centuries, but this is the moment where the momentum is there for us to make significant change,” Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Hingeley said.

Hingeley was one of 11 Commonwealth’s Attorneys who signed the letter to democratic leadership in Richmond,which you can read here.

The letter is “a statement of our commitment to these changes and meaningful reforms and of our willingness to be partners by offering our assistance to you and to your colleagues as you propose and implement these critically needed reforms.”

“This is an effort of like-minded prosecutors in Virginia to come together to push for serious and meaningful criminal justice reform in Virginia,” Hingeley said.

The attorneys signed their support for all measures of police accountability, including use of force. They also want to see the removal of mandatory minimum sentencing, and the addition of the ability to expunge convictions.

Hingeley says the time is right to support these measures.

“What feels different is the death of George Floyd, the murder of George Floyd, and the resulting outpouring of concern from across the country that we need to address systemic racism,” he said.

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