Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ Services Council
Crowne Plaza – Richmond, Virginia
February 20, 2014
(rescheduled from February 13, 2014, due to snow)
Council Members Present
Raymond F. Morrogh (Fairfax County), Chairman
Nancy G. Parr (Chesapeake), First Vice Chairman
LaBravia J. Jenkins (Fredericksburg), Second Vice Chairman
Eric Olsen (Stafford County), Secretary
Michael R. Doucette (Lynchburg), Past Chairman
Council District Representatives:
- LaBravia J. Jenkins (Fredericksburg)
- Colin D. Stolle (Virginia Beach)
4. Wayne Famer (Isle of Wight)
5. Denise Lunsford (Albemarle County)
6. Donald S. Caldwell (Roanoke City)
7. William W. Davenport (Chesterfield County)
9. Christian E. Rehak (Radford)
11. Raymond F. Morrogh (Fairfax County)
Other Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Present
Joel R. Branscom (Botetourt County)
Paul B. Ebert (Prince William County)
Robert B. Beasley (Powhatan County)
Nathan R. Green (Williamsburg/James City County)
Eric L. Olsen (Stafford County)
Gregory D. Underwood (Norfolk)
C. Phillips Ferguson (Suffolk)
Patricia T. Watson (Greensville/Emporia)
Jeffrey W. Haislip (Fluvanna County)
James R. Ennis (Prince Edward County)
John C. Singleton (Bath County)
William F. Neely (Spotsylvania County)
Theo K. Stamos (Arlington/Falls Church)
Roy F. Evans (Smyth County)
E. M. Wright (Buckingham County)
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys Present
Lori DiGosia – Stafford County
Lethia Hammond – Botetourt County
Deana Malek – Henrico County
Linda Bryant – Deputy Attorney General
CASC Staff Present
Jane Sherman Chambers
Call to Order
Mr. Morrogh called the meeting to order at 12:10 a.m.
The draft minutes from the January 21, 2014 meeting were previously posted and circulated to Council. The minutes were approved as submitted.
Spring Institute Update: Ms. Chambers reported that 2014 Spring Institute has over 600 registrants with a month still to go to register.
Vendors at 2014 Spring Institute and Annual Summer Conference: Ms. Chambers reported that vendors have expressed an interest in attending Spring Institute and the Annual Summer Conference. She had to make a unilateral decision as to Spring Institute to charge the same fee as last year, which was $1000/table. A discussion ensued concerning vendor table fees. It was suggested that the fee increase for the 2014 Annual Summer Conference. It was agreed that the $1000 rate would apply at Spring Institute, but that the vendor fee issue would be revisited regarding the Annual Summer Conference.
New Council Staff Attorney: Ms. Chambers announced that CASC has hired a new staff attorney, Shannon Weist. Ms. Weist is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Wake Forest Law School. In addition to her regular staff attorney responsibilities, she will serve as the Violence Against Women Resource Prosecutor.
Abbott Lab Settlement Update: Linda Bryant, Deputy Attorney General, introduced herself and gave a brief description of the OAG’s role in the Abbott Lab asset forfeiture settlement. She explained that the Abbott Lab funds came through the OAG as a federally approved pass-through agency and that CASC and other Virginia law enforcement agencies were federally approved pass-through recipients of the funds. The OAG was never in control of the funds because the recipients already had been designated by the U.S. Treasury. She referenced the asset forfeiture regulations as set forth in §2.2-611. Mr. Caldwell explained that Council’s request for a share of the funds followed the same 80%-20% formula that Commonwealth’s Attorneys follow with Virginia State Police asset forfeitures. Mr. Caldwell reported that under their proposed budget amendment, House Appropriations will take all CASC’s Abbott Lab asset forfeiture funds and put the funds into law enforcement retirement programs. The Senate’s proposed budget amendment, on the other hand, eliminates $250,000 from CASC’s budget with the notation that that money can be replaced with interest from the Abbott Lab asset forfeiture settlement funds. Neither of these proposals complies with federal asset forfeiture requirements. Discussion ensued as to the best strategy to use to preserve Council’s full budget and its share of the Abbott Lab funds before the budget goes to the conferees. All present were asked to contact their Senators and Delegates to inform them of federal requirements and guidelines that govern asset forfeiture funds. Ms. Bryant reported that House Appropriations has filed another proposed budget amendment that would restrict the future authority of the OAG to disburse federal asset forfeiture funds.
Proposed changes to Council Constitution & By-laws: Ms. Chambers reported that more than 2/3 of Council members were present. She reminded attendees that only Council members can vote on proposed changes to the Council Constitution and By-laws. The proposed changes, as prepared by Mr. Wright: 1) establish a Standing Committee on Finances to handle the Abbott Lab settlement funds, 2) eliminate the requirement that at least one member of the Standing Committee on Prosecutorial Ethics be a part-time Commonwealth’s Attorney, 3) clarify that changes to the Constitution and By-laws must be accomplished with a 2/3 vote of Council members (not just those present), and 4) update the sections of the Virginia Code governing Council’s functions. Mr. Doucette made a motion to amend the proposed amendments as follows: Article IV, Elections, Officers and Committees, Section 1, last sentence, “The Administrator of Council shall be the Treasurer of Council.” The motion to amend the proposed amendment was seconded and passed unanimously. A motion to adopt the proposed changes to the Constitution and By-laws, as amended, was made and seconded. The motion passed unanimously on a roll call vote.
There being no further business before Council, the meeting adjourned at 1:40 p.m. The next regularly scheduled meeting is Sunday, March 30, 2014 at 1 p.m., Norfolk Marriott Waterside.