Today in a 37-2 vote, the Senate passed a bill that would make it easier for those wrongly convicted of a crime to bring up new evidence to prove their innocence. This includes 21 days after conviction.
This is an amendment to Virginia’s Writ of Actual Innocence law to change the standard defendants have to satisfy to be exonerated.
Lawmakers were concerned that the current law made it hard for those who were innocent to get relief.
This bill will also allow the attorney general to provide the court with evidence of innocence instead of just guilt.
The bill passed the House with a unanimous vote and is now headed to the governor’s desk to be signed.
“I am gratified for the passage of the amended Writ of Actual Innocence bill today. This is a critically important bill, one that ensures that justice will prevail, especially when the law has failed and the innocent are wrongly punished for crimes they did not commit,” said Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. “Today, we are one step closer to ensuring that our justice system works as smoothly and clearly as possible, including the recognition that when a mistake has occurred, a meaningful judicial remedy should be available. I would like to thank Delegate Albo for shepherding this important legislation through the General Assembly.”