There were several successes for youth in the Virginia Senate thanks to everyone who called or emailed Senators and attended committee hearings!
Both bills that could significantly improve Virginia’s system of trying youth as adults passed the Senate. SB 822 (Edwards) would allow circuit court judges to review a prosecutor’s decision to certify cases to adult court — just as they can now review decisions of juvenile court judges. SB 948 (Howell) would allow circuit court judges to give youth the opportunity to earn a juvenile delinquency adjudication upon successful completion of terms and conditions set by the judge. These bills will now move to the House of Delegates where the committee process will start over again. Be on the lookout for opportunities to advocate for the passage of these bills!
In addition to the passage of the two bills above, you prevented the passage of a bill that would have made it easier for youth to be tried as adults and increased the number of youth that would face trial in adult courts and possible adult criminal penalties. SB 914 (McDougle) would have expanded the categories of automatic transfer and prosecutorial certification by adding second or subsequent acts of violence to the list of offenses that may be automatically transferred and by adding gang participation and second or subsequent drug offenses to the list of offenses that may be certified. Your actions have saved so many of Virginia’s youth!
Thank you for your continued advocacy on behalf of Virginia’s youth! There will be more opportunities to take action in the coming month!