Even under normal circumstances, Virginia has extremely limited release mechanisms for elderly and sick incarcerated individuals. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this problem is especially acute, as individuals behind bars cannot physically distance or effectively sanitize spaces. There have been significant COVID-19 outbreaks at multiple correctional facilities in Virginia, including Augusta Correctional Center, Coffeewood Correctional Center, and Deerfield Correctional Center. As of January 6th, 2021, over 7,600 people incarcerated in Virginia’s correctional facilities have tested positive for COVID-19. Forty-seven incarcerated individuals and two staff members have died.
On April 22, 2020, the Virginia state legislature passed a budget amendment to grant the Virginia Department of Corrections the authority to release certain incarcerated individuals with less than one year remaining on their sentences. Soon after, NACDL mobilized Virginians to write to Governor Northam and urge him to release as many people as safely possible, part of a ongoing advocacy campaign through which individuals have sent over 250 messages to governors across the country, urging them to strategically decarcerate state and local facilities.
In May 2020, Governor Northam promised as part of a settlement agreement to prioritize and promptly review conditional pardon applications for medically vulnerable individuals. However, his office has consistently refused to provide any data regarding the number of applications filed, reviewed, and approved or denied. On NACDL’s Action Center, find our continuing campaign to keep pressure on Governor Northam to increase transparency and action around conditional pardons.
Since the early days of the pandemic, NACDL has been involved with the Virginia COVID-19 Justice Coalition, which is continuing to call for the swift release of as many incarcerated Virginians as possible and for accountability and data transparency around the release process. The coalition hosted a biweekly virtual town hall series throughout 2020, featuring state elected officials, advocacy organizations, family members of incarcerated individuals, public defenders, Commonwealth’s Attorneys, and others. Recordings of all previously live-streamed townhalls are available on the coalition’s Facebook page.
As of February 1, 2021, 960 individuals have been released from Virginia DOC facilities and 511 state-responsible individuals have been released from local jails.
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!