SD14 - SJR 451 Final Report: Study of Crawford and Booker Cases
During the 2005 Session of the Virginia General Assembly, Senator William C. Mims introduced Senate Joint Resolution 451 (SJR 451), which directed the Crime Commission to study the implications of Crawford v. Washington, Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004). "United States v. Booker", "United States v. Booker", 125 S.Ct. 738 (2005). and other related United States Supreme Court cases on established criminal procedures in the Commonwealth. "Crawford v. Washington" raises issues on the constitutionality of crime lab certificates and uncontested affidavits used at trial. "United States v. Booker" calls into question the constitutionality of sentence enhancements based on facts that have not been found by a jury. Specifically, the SJR 451 directs that the Commission “shall determine the impact of these United States Supreme Court cases on Virginia’s statutes by surveying Virginia statutes and Rules of Court, and identifying those that may be in need of amendment or repeal.”
Findings and Recommendations
In response to staff’s analysis of the "Crawford" case and its implications on Virginia law, the Crime Commission determined that Virginia’s statutes and Rules of Court are in no need of amendment or repeal. Any action at this time would be premature, as the Supreme Court of Virginia and federal courts around the country have not yet had the opportunity to fully interpret the "Crawford" case.
Also, based on staff’s analysis of the "Booker" case and its implications on Virginia law, the Crime Commission determined that Virginia’s sentencing guidelines do not violate the mandates established by Apprendi v. New Jersey, Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000). "Blakely v. Washington", "Blakely v. Washington", 124 S.Ct. 2531 (2004). and Booker. As such, no change to Virginia’s sentencing procedures is necessary at this time.