The Virginia Fair Trial Project, an organization dedicated to improving criminal defense for the poor, will go out of business at the end of the month.
The group had hoped to continue operations with $100,000 in grant money from the Virginia Law Foundation. In an e-mail to members and others, VFTP director Betsy Wells Edwards explained that the grant did not come through.
“Unfortunately, the VLF grant was the only grant we had ‘on the horizon’ as we have exhausted all other grant opportunities,” Edwards wrote.
The VFTP project was created in 2002 when its parent organization became a state commission charged with oversight of public defenders and court appointed lawyers in Virginia. The VFTP has worked as an education and advocacy group for indigent defense. Working with the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association and the Virginia State Bar, the VFTP in 2007 won approval of limited waivers of fee caps for court appointed counsel.
By Peter Vieth