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Actual innocence bill clears House

The House of Delegates Tuesday gave unanimous approval to a plan for subtle but effective changes in Virginia’s actual innocence process.

The actual innocence reform bill had been sent back to the House Courts Committee Jan. 28 after delegates voted against a floor amendment that would have allowed a second petition for actual innocence in non-DNA cases.

The committee again reported House Bill 1432 without any changes on Feb. 1.

With House passage, the bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

The Senate, meanwhile, has unanimously passed a bill to provide a second avenue of relief from Virginia’s 21-day rule, which bars reconsideration of a criminal conviction three weeks after a final order.

Senate Bill 840, approved Monday, would allow a judge to vacate a criminal sentence based on fraud or perjury if the state agreed. The bill is a response to the situation faced by Johnathan Montgomery who faced difficulties winning release from prison after his accuser admitted she lied about a childhood sexual assault.

One comment

  1. This is a good move in the right direction. The 21 day rule that mandates lose of jurisdiction by a Circuit Court to allow for finality is unbalanced with the prejudice it can create for someone that is innocent.

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