RD247 - Virginia State Crime Commission 2018 Annual Report

Executive Summary:

Staff studied three new topics during 2018, including fingerprinting of defendants, the pre-trial process, and sex trafficking. As part of the pre-trial process study, staff and numerous other stakeholders began work on the Virginia Pre-Trial Data Project. Additionally, staff continued work on two previously authorized studies: pretrial services agencies and the DNA Notification Project.

The Crime Commission held three meetings to review and discuss study findings: October 11, November 8, and December 3. At its December meeting, the Crime Commission endorsed numerous legislative and administrative recommendations from staff related to the fingerprinting of defendants, pre-trial process, and sex trafficking studies. Additionally, as a result of last year’s study on the DNA Databank (Expansion of Misdemeanor Crimes), members endorsed a technical amendment relating to the collection of DNA samples for convictions under local ordinances. As a result of efforts by the Crime Commission and other stakeholders, legislation was enacted during the Regular Session of the 2019 General Assembly to:

• Combat commercial sex trafficking in Virginia through a proactive, collaborative, and multi-disciplinary approach;

• Address the significantly large number of criminal offenses identified by staff that have not been applied to criminal history records in Virginia;

• Implement various measures throughout the criminal justice process to ensure that fingerprints are consistently collected and submitted to the Central Criminal Records Exchange so that offenses can be applied to criminal history records;

• Create a specific contempt of court charge for failure to appear so as to more accurately track appearance rates across the Commonwealth;

• Improve the collection and retention of information obtained (i) during bond hearings before magistrates and (ii) when a surety is requesting a capias to have a defendant returned to custody; and,

• Require the collection of a DNA sample upon conviction of any local ordinance that is similar to any state law for which collection is mandated.

The Executive Director of the Crime Commission serves as a member of the Forensic Science Board pursuant to Virginia Code § 9.1-1109(A)(7) and acts as the Chair of the DNA Notification Subcommittee. The Executive Director also serves on the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission in accordance with Virginia Code § 19.2-163.02 and sits on its Budget Committee. Additionally, the Executive Director serves on the Advisory Committee on Sexual and Domestic Violence pursuant to Virginia Code § 9.1-116.2.

Staff presentations to Crime Commission members are available under the “Meetings/Presentations" section of the agency website at: http://vscc.virginia.gov.