HD38 - HJR 225 Final Report: Study on Commonwealth's Attorneys

Executive Summary:
During the 2004 Session of the Virginia General Assembly, Delegate Robert F. McDonnell introduced House Joint Resolution 225 (HJR 225), which directed the Crime Commission to study the operations of all Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ offices. Specifically, the objectives of the two-year study were to:

• Examine the quality of prosecutorial representation;
• Assess the efficiency by which prosecutorial services are provided;
• Determine the impact of existing workloads;
• Identify any disparity in workload per attorney;
• Examine training and technical support services provided;
• Review opportunities for continuing legal education;
• Assess the ability to hire and retain qualified prosecutors;
• Determine reasonable caseload per attorney;
• Determine the appropriate role of localities in providing support for Commonwealth’s Attorneys;
• Identify disparity among offices in the ability to provide quality prosecutorial representation to each locality; and,
• Examine considerations that would, if implemented, reduce pre-trial delay and minimize the costs of pretrial incarceration.

Crime Commission staff utilized several methodologies to address the directives of the two-year study mandate, including telephone interviews with other states’ statewide prosecutor agencies and coordinators, analysis of 50 states’ enabling statues and regulatory codes, review of relevant literature, survey of all elected and assistant Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorneys and compilation of all relevant statutory references to Commonwealth’s Attorneys responsibilities in the Code of Virginia. A legislatively mandated presentation to the Crime Commission was at the January 10, 2006 meeting.

[See interim report: HD43 (2005)]