Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ Services Council
Henrico Sheriff’s Office Conference Room
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Council Members Present
Neil S. Vener (Campbell County)
Robert B. Beasley (Powhatan County)
Michael R. Doucette (Lynchburg)
Nancy G. Parr (Chesapeake)
David N. Grimes (Pittsylvania County)
Joel R. Branscom (Botetourt County)
Donald S. Caldwell (Roanoke City)
Christian E. Rehak (Radford)
Alexander R. Iden (Winchester)
Other Commonwealth's Attorneys Present
Paul B. Ebert (Prince William County)
Richard E. Trodden (Arlington/Falls Church)
Robert L. Bushnell (Henry County)
Gregory D. Underwood (Norfolk)
James R. Ennis (Prince Edward County)
Gary Close (Culpeper)
Linda D. Curtis (Hampton)
Wade A. Kizer (Henrico County)
Robert D. Hicks (Gloucester County)
E.M. Wright (Buckingham County)
CASC Staff Present
Robert Q. Harris
Lisa O. Hillman
Call to Order
Mr. Vener called the meeting to order at 11:07 a.m.
Consideration of the Minutes
The draft minutes for the April 11, 2010 meeting, previously were posted and circulated to Council. The minutes were approved as submitted.
Mr. Vener welcomed Council and the Commonwealth’s Attorneys to the meeting and deferred a Chairman’s report.
Mr. Harris addressed the agenda items.
Spring Institute Recap
Mr. Vener stated that the 2010 Spring Institute went well. Mr. Harris stated that 650 people attended. Mr. Harris updated Council on the costs associated with the Spring Institute and that CASC expects the costs to be covered by the budgeted funds and registration fees. Mr. Harris stated that CASC is planning the 2011 Spring Institute for Williamsburg and is anticipating a further decline in attendance due to local office budget issues.
Capital Litigation Resources
Mr. Vener reviewed the circumstances concerning capital murder case prosecutions in Virginia and noted the wealth of resources provided to the defendant in these cases while prosecutor offices receive no additional resources for these difficult and time consuming cases. Mr. Vener is aware that other states have additional assistance to help with prosecuting capital cases and would like to investigate the possibility that additional resources and assistance could be made available in Virginia. Mr. Vener stated that there are 13 capital murder cases pending in Virginia and most in smaller jurisdictions. Council discussed options for grant funding to fund a position that could help local prosecutors similar to way capital defender offices have been created to help the defense bar. Mr. Harris reported on how other states receive funding. A motion to have Mr. Harris search for grants that will provide a Capital Litigation Resource person was made and unanimously passed.
Asset Forfeiture funds
Mr. Harris stated that CASC has asked DCJS to authorize CASC to repurpose previously awarded asset forfeiture funds to go toward funding future training programs, including the next Annual Meeting, Spring Institute and Executive Programs. DCJS has authorized the funds for these training purposes.
Curriculum Retreat Options
Mr. Harris reminded Council that CASC no longer has budgeted money to fund a Curriculum Retreat. Mr. Harris stated that there is no set date for the Curriculum Retreat, which is normally held in September. Mr. Harris stated that the 2009 retreat was funded by contributions from 4 offices and cost $2,000. Council discussed options for a retreat for this year, including dispensing with a separate meeting. Mr. Bushnell suggested having CASC staff solicit ideas, prepare draft programs and then arrange a conference call to discuss the proposed programs, or discuss via emails. Discussion also included asking committee members to cover their own expenses for travel and accommodations, and meeting at a cost-free location; or having a meeting during the VACA Annual Meeting. Mr. Harris will explore funding possibilities and provide further information to the Curriculum Committee.
Mr. Vener asked for a relaxed dress code for all functions at the Virginia Beach Annual Conference. A motion was made for casual attire and no neck ties, and unanimously passed.
Mr. Harris stated that the video taping of the Ethics portion at the Spring Institute was flawed and would not be usable for replay at the Annual Meeting. CASC staff has arranged for Rodney Leffler, Esq., to present 2 hours of live ethics at 9:00 a.m., on Friday, August 6, 2010.
There being no further business before Council, the meeting adjourned at 11:39 a.m. The next regularly scheduled meeting of Council is Wednesday, June 16, 2010, 11:00 a.m. at the Henrico Sheriff’s Office Conference Room.