Jon Katz, P.C.

Virginia criminal law continues being backwards with crabbed discovery & low felony theft threshold

Virginia has long been backwards with crabbed criminal discovery rules and a decades-long $200 threshold to convict for felony theft.

In this year’s Virginia legislative session, the Commonwealth remains backwards in the above respects, as follows:

– The Virginia House of Delegates tabled the criminal discovery legislation, on February 15, 2017. This represents a huge reversal of the overwhelming Virginia Senate support for the same legislation. Apparently intervening was heavy lobbying against the bill by Virginia prosecutors. I admit that I did nothing to support this legislation beyond blogging about it and timely contacting my House and Senate members in support of the legislation.

– Thanks to the Virginia legislature’s patrons of legislation to increase the felony theft threshold from $200 to $500.00. However, the House Subcommittee for Criminal Law on January 30 recommended tabling the legislation, and the Courts of Justice on February 7 approved the tabling. This means that $200 value for stolen goods will mark the threshold between facing a misdemeanor conviction carrying up to one year in jail and a felony conviction carrying up to twenty years in the penitentiary.

To monitor criminal law and other actions in Virginia’s legislature, here is a helpful link.