SB5030 (Locke-SD02) is a big omnibus police reform bill. It bans neckholds, bans no-knock warrants, makes sex with anyone in custody a crime, cuts funding to agencies participating in federal military weapons programs, reforms program for decertifying officers, and improves data, record-sharing and transparency.
SB5035 (Hashmi-SD10) gives localities the authority to create civilian police review boards that have the ability to receive complaints about police conduct, investigate (including subpoena power if needed), and make binding disciplinary determinations; also to review policy and budget.
SB5017 (Boysko-SD33) amends the definition of “local correctional facility” to include the Farmville Detention Center, to clarify Virginia’s authority to protect all people and communities within our borders. Over 75% of those detained there have tested positive for COVID-19.
HB5013 (Bourne-HD71) tackles qualified immunity by creating a civil action that can be taken if someone’s rights have been violated by a law enforcement officer, and they may be awarded compensatory and punitive damages.
SB5034 (Boysko-SD33 and Lucas-SD18) would give compassionate parole to geriatric and permanently disabled individuals and also establish an Earned Sentence Credit to enable those incarcerated to earn reductions in their sentence by participating in certain programs.
Criminal justice reform
SB5032 (Surovell-SD36) prevents cops from charging felony assault on a law enforcement officer for non-injurious assaults like spitting or throwing things, restricting assault to only those resulting in a “visible bodily injury;” and removes the mandatory minimum six month sentence–meanwhile, Republican senators Norment and Reeves fail to read the room and file bills to increase the mandatory minimum sentence for such assaults.
SB5029 (Lucas-SD18) eliminates pretextual stops by making violations for tinted windows, objects dangling from mirror, noisy exhaust, and marijuana possession all secondary offenses, which law enforcement can only issue citations for once stopped already for other reasons.
SB5033 (Surovell-SD36) makes explicit in the code that courts have authority to defer proceedings or entering a conviction on criminal cases. Also clarifies what constitutes “good cause” for a Commonwealth’s Attorney to decide not to prosecute cases, including non-deterring and resource constraints.
SB5007 (Morrissey-SD16) eliminates jury sentencing (unless requested by the defendant). Juries, not being experienced, often give highly unpredictable sentences, often much higher than a judge’s sentencing guidelines.