The presumption of innocence is a core doctrine of our criminal justice system, yet in Virginia, individuals merely accused of an offense can sit in jail for days, sometimes longer, before appearing in court. And, when finally given the opportunity to see a judge, many are faced with confronting their charges alone.
In 2021, the Virginia Pretrial Justice Coalition, of which NACDL is a member, supported HB 2286, which would have guaranteed that all individuals detained pretrial have a lawyer at their first court appearance. NACDL provided verbal testimony in support of HB 2286 and facilitated contact with Virginia state legislators through a campaign on NACDL's Legislative Action Center. After the bill failed to report from House Appropriations Transportation & Public Safety Subcommittee, lawmakers approved a budget amendment to require the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court to consult with the Indigent Defense Commission, Virginia Community Criminal Justice Association, and other stakeholders to create a plan to implement the bill’s provisions and to estimate the costs and potential cost-savings of doing so.
In January 2022, the legislation was reintroduced as HB 369 / SB 475, sponsored by Delegate Angelia Williams Graves and Senator Jennifer McClellan. NACDL created a legislative action alert and executed out a social media campaign to provide information about the importance of counsel at first appearance and to promote the pending legislation in Virginia. A social media toolkit on counsel at first appearance, including graphics and accompanying text, was made available for public use. SB 475 passed the Senate Judiciary committee with strong bipartisan support but was then continued to the 2023 session. NACDL issued a new legislative action alert urging Virginians to ask their legislators to support a counsel at first appearance pilot program that was being considered by the Senate Finance and Appropriations committee. Unfortunately, the pilot program was not ultimately included in the budget.
Cross-Examination Trial Pack
NACDL’s new Cross-Examination Trial Pack includes three of our best-selling Cross-Examination resources: “Damage Control: Situational Cross-Examination Techniques Trial Guide”, "Ultimate Cross 2.0: Audio Recordings & Written Materials" and "Sample Cross-Examination Questions."
This masterful collection of cross-examination resources provide countless tips, techniques and strategies for a variety of criminal case-specific scenarios. Learn to cross-examine a variety of trial witnesses!
Death Investigation: Forensic Pathology in the Courtroom and Cause & Manner of Death (2022)
This unique program provides criminal defense lawyers with an accurate and clear overview of forensic pathology and the countless factors to consider in a death investigation and will methodically explain what happens during an autopsy to determine cause and manner of death.
You'll uncover the different types of medicolegal death investigations, what to request from your MDI expert, quality benchmarks for accreditation and certification, guidelines and standards, common terminology and frequently asked questions.
The Psychology of Persuasion & Storytelling for Criminal Defense Lawyers
This Trial Resource Guide is a masterful collection of practical tips, techniques and strategies focused solely on using the arts and sciences of persuasion to improve your storytelling skills at trial.
You'll learn how to master the ability to communicate with juries, deliver powerful openings and closings, perform convincing cross-examinations, use effective courtroom choreography and non-verbal communication, identify and develop the optimal theme and theory for your case, and offer compelling arguments during mitigation and sentencing.
Zealous Advocacy in Sexual Assault & Child Victims Cases (2022)
Defending charges of sexual assault and child abuse can be daunting — but with the right tools, it doesn’t have to be.
Every year, NACDL identifies the hottest topics and most pressing issues when defending these cases, and brings-in nationally-renowned lawyers and experts to help you prepare for battle. This year’s 13th Annual Defending Sex Cases training program is our best yet; packed with topics and speakers you won’t want to miss!