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Virginia murder convictions to no longer get death row

Virginia murder convictions now will face life without sunlight at worst Virginia murder prosecutions had a high rate of prosecutors seeking the death penalty when I started law school in 1986, making Virginia and three other states leaders in pursuing capital punishment. Those efforts included...

Killing conviction upheld despite delay- Fairfax criminal lawyer weighs in

Killing convictions can be an extra challenge to obtain for prosecutors, because the victim is never available to testify in court. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I find this week's Warnick v. Virginia appellate opinion affirming a Northern Virginia murder conviction to be instructive for criminal defense...

Fairfax Criminal Lawyer on need to attack chain of custody

Chain of custody involves the chronological movement, treatment, and physical changes of criminal case evidence from the time it comes into existence, and then is collected, packaged, transported, opened and repackaged. The importance of reliable chain of custody includes such factors as assuring the correct...

A self defense claim requires being in imminent danger of harm

When a homicide defendant knows s/he will be found to have caused the decedent's death, the defendant often finds himself or herself pursuing a self defense claim, or else a claim of a lesser level of culpability than first degree murder (for instance manslaughter or...

Virginia criminal defense- Preserving double jeopardy protection

Any time a criminal defendant is charged with multiple offenses, it is time for the defendant's lawyer to check for double jeopardy issues. Double jeopardy protection not only applies against being tried twice on different occasions for the same offense -- U.S. Const. Amend. V...