Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ Services Council
Henrico Sheriff’s Department Conference Room
May 7, 2008
Council Members Present
Harvey L. Bryant, III (Virginia Beach)
Joel R. Branscom (Botetourt County)
John R. Doyle, III (Norfolk)
David N. Grimes (Pittsylvania County)
Michael R. Doucette (Lynchburg)
Wade A. Kizer (Henrico County)
Christian E. Rehak (Radford)
Richard E. Trodden (Arlington County)
Other Commonwealth's Attorneys Present
Robert L. Bushnell (Henry County)
Charles S. Sharp (Fredericksburg)
Linda D. Curtis (Hampton)
Neil S. Vener (Campbell County)
Donald S. Caldwell (Roanoke City)
James R. Ennis (Prince Edward County)
John C. Singleton (Bath County)
Patricia Watson (Greensville County/Emporia)
Call to Order
Mr. Bryant called the meeting to order at 11:07 a.m..
Consideration of the minutes
Mr. Doucette moved to approve the minutes of the April 6, 2008 Council meeting, Mr. Sharp seconded the motion, and the minutes were approved unanimously.
Mr. Bryant deferred his report.
Mr. Harris stated that the preliminary summary of evaluations for the 2008 Spring Institute was attached to the agenda. Mr. Harris thanked Ms. Hillman for reviewing hundreds of evaluations and preparing the summary for the meeting; the full evaluations report with a listing of all comments on the program should be completed by the time of the June Council meeting. Mr. Harris stated that generally positive responses were received for the program. Mr. Harris also specifically referenced the question asked regarding the amount of MCLE credits received from CASC programs. Mr. Harris stated that 182 prosecutors out of 225 completing the evaluation survey question receive all of their required MCLE credits from CASC programs and the rest receive at least half of their credits from CASC programs.
Mr. Sharp asked about complaints. Mr. Harris stated that several complaints regarded issues CASC could not control: the hospitality room being too small; the training room temperature was too cold and the lighting was dim; paying for parking, and requests to move the Spring Institute to a location nearer the middle of the state. Mr. Harris stated that he plans to include some of the comments in the CASC Weekly Update and address some issues raised so prosecutors know what CASC can and cannot do about them.
CASC staff already has spoken to hotel contacts about a larger room to be made available for a hospitality room next year. Mr. Harris noted that there are few venues in the state that can handle training space for 700 prosecutors and provide lodging for a majority of them. Mr. Harris stated that CASC has not yet completed the 2010 contract with the Norfolk hotel. Mr. Harris stated that hotel construction in Richmond should be completed soon and CASC will be able to investigate holding the Spring Institute in the Richmond area. Ms. Curtis stated that she would be reluctant to leave Norfolk for another location without a clear idea of what we could expect. She suggested waiting until the construction in Richmond is complete before that area is considered. Members of Council discussed some changes in future contracts with the hotel. A motion was made (Mr. Grimes) and seconded (Mr. Doyle) to authorize Mr. Harris to finalize the 2010 contract with Norfolk. The motion passed.
Mr. Harris asked the members to review the Spring Institute costs as set out in materials attached to the VACA Board agenda.
Mr. Bryant recognized the CASC staff for having an excellent program. Mr. Bryant stated that the class subjects were great and overall everything went well and was organized. Ms. Curtis agreed with Mr. Bryant.
Mr. Harris stated that Ed Hibbard is assisting Larry Martin with coordinating the Spring Programs. Mr. Harris stated that the teams for the Top Gun program are set. The registration for Trial Ad was to close on Friday, May 9, 2008, but will remain open until 48 registrants have paid the $250 fee to guarantee attendance (refunded after the program).
Mr. Harris stated registration for the Homicide program has closed with 51 teams applying for 20 slots. The Homicide faculty has picked the teams. Mr. Harris stated that there is a preference for jurisdictions that have not attended for a while and geographical diversity is encouraged. Mr. Vener stated that the budget for this program should be expanded. Mr. Harris stated that the faculty has allowed 4 commuting teams to participate in the program, but there is still a waiting list. This year the class will be based on a Richmond case and the program is bringing in the police investigators and forensic specialists who worked the case. Mr. Harris encouraged interested prosecutors to become involved with the program faculty and consider bringing a case to the Homicide Program.
DCJS State Plan Committee
Mr. Harris stated that he has agreed to work with this committee that is following up on input received from regional focus groups DCJS sponsored last year. Mr. Harris stated the meetings are on Tuesday afternoons until June. Mr. Harris will keep Council advised of the progress of the committee.
Law Enforcement Training
Mr. Harris stated that the information for this training was sent via email. He can mail a disc to offices if needed. Mr. Harris stated that Professor Bacigal’s materials are on the Resource Center, but can be emailed if needed. Mr. Vener asked if information on the Resource Center can be posted to the Yahoo forum. Mr. Harris noted that CASC does not maintain the forum, but materials can be posted at both places.
Mr. Harris stated that he, Mr. Bryant and Mr. Branscom recently had been contacted separately by the Lexis Nexis representative who would be coming in after the meeting to talk to members.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 11:46 a.m.. The next Board and Council meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 18, 2008 at 11:00 a.m.at the Henrico Sheriff’s Office Conference Room.