RD144 - Virginia State Crime Commission 2012 Annual Report

Executive Summary:
Throughout 2012, the Commission held four Commission meetings: September 5, October 2, November 13, and December 5. During the 2012 General Assembly Session, a total of one mandated study and two bill referrals were sent to the Commission and approved for review. The Commission also reviewed several other issues. The Department of Criminal Justice Services requested the Commission to determine if the current regional training academy model used to train law enforcement officers is the best model for Virginia. As part of this study, the issue of law enforcement officer decertification was also reviewed. During the study year, the Commission also decided to review the issues of financial crimes against incapacitated adults and texting while driving. Additionally, the Commission requested a report from the Department of Forensic Science concerning the growing problems surrounding synthetic marijuana and research chemicals. The Commission continues to be involved in the Forensic Science Board’s DNA Notification Project.

The Commission was mandated by Senate Joint Resolution 21 to study the issue of illegal cigarette trafficking, specifically: why illegal cigarette trafficking occurs; methods and strategies used by smugglers; financial impacts on state and local governments, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers; prevalence, availability, and methods used to counterfeit cigarettes and cigarette tax stamps; beneficiaries of cigarette trafficking; statutory options; uses of technology to prevent and assess costs and benefits; policy and legislative recommendations; and public health implications of illegal non-regulated cigarettes.

Throughout the year, staff reviewed two study issues as a result of bills being referred to the Commission during the 2012 Session of the General Assembly: Senate Bill 205, which dealt with the collection of forensic evidence in cases of suspected sexual assault where the alleged victim cannot give consent and House Bill 923, which proposed a reorganization of the concealed weapons statute without any substantive changes. Detailed study presentations can be found on the Commission’s website at: http://vscc.virginia.gov.

In addition to these studies, the Commission’s Executive Director serves as a member of the Forensic Science Board pursuant to the Code of Virginia § 9.1- 1109(A)(7). The Executive Director also acts as the Chair of the DNA Notification Subcommittee, which is charged with the oversight of notification to convicted persons that DNA evidence exists within old Department of Forensic Science case files that may be suitable for testing.

In accordance with the Code of Virginia § 19.2-163.02, the Commission’s Executive Director also serves on the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission, specifically as a member of the Budget Committee and the Personnel and Training Committee.