Commonwealth’s Attorneys Services Council
Henrico Sheriff’s Office Conference Room
May 6, 2009
Joel R. Branscom (Botetourt County)
Neil S. Vener (Campbell County)
Robert B. Beasley (Powhatan County)
David N. Grimes (Pittsylvania County)
Richard E. Trodden (Arlington/Falls Church)
Michael R. Doucette (Lynchburg)
Alexander R. Iden (Winchester)
William F. Neely (Spotsylvania County)
Christian E. Rehak (Radford)
Other Commonwealth’s Attorneys
Robert L. Bushnell (Henry County)
Linda D. Curtis (Hampton)
James R. Ennis (Prince Edward County)
Wade Kizer (Henrico County)
William W. Davenport (Chesterfield County)
CASC Staff Present
Robert Q. Harris
Lisa O. Hillman
Robyn de Socio, Compensation Board
Francine Ecker, DCJS
Tom Shaia (Spotsylvania County)
Ken Nickels, Sr. (Chesterfield County)
Call to Order
Mr. Branscom called the meeting to order at 11:05 p.m.
Consideration of the Minutes
The minutes have been posted on line and distributed to Council. The minutes were approved as submitted.
Mr. Branscom deferred his Chairman’s report.
Geronimo / CaseFinder Update
Mr. Harris reported that CASC has a pending request with DCJS for asset forfeiture funding to continue the statewide Geronimo contract. As an alternative, Geronimo has offered to provide the same service to individual Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ offices as it provided under the statewide contract at the ‘single set per office’ cost. Other legal research service providers - Lexis and Westlaw – also have indicated plans to contact offices with offers they are developing. Mr. Harris reminded members that another alternative is the FastCase service offered to attorneys at no cost through the Virginia State Bar. Mr. Harris stated that the asset forfeiture request is expected to be presented at the May DCJS Board meeting.
This law encouraging sexual assault response teams comes into effect on July 1, 2009. Mr. Harris reported that the VSDVAA has offered assistance to Commonwealth’s Attorneys on organizing this new responsibility and Mr. Harris has provided contact information for that group to interested local offices. The coordinating efforts in the bill may be met on a regional basis, if desired. The VSDVAA is hosting a June meeting with representatives from law enforcement, victim advocacy groups and health care providers to look at the HB2400 process. Mr. Harris plans to attend.
Spring Institute Review
Mr. Harris stated that the bills are in for the 2009 Spring Institute and CASC was able to keep expenditures within the reduced amounts budgeted. Some costs were offset by grant funding for a training track. A review of evaluations shows a high level of satisfaction with the Spring Institute.
Mr. Harris noted that CASC has a contract to hold the 2010 Spring Institute at the Norfolk Marriott Waterside. Mr. Harris stated that in prior years there were few, if any sites, that could effectively host the Spring Institute. In order to explore the options available for this program, CASC plans to put the 2011 Spring Institute up for bids in the near future. Council directed staff to proceed with that process.
Curriculum Retreat Options
Mr. Plowman recently passed along information to CASC staff about the National Conference Center (NCC) in Loudoun County, as a possible site to consider for the Spring Institute. The VACA Executive Committee held a retreat at the NCC two years ago. Mr. Plowman previously had contacted the NCC for information about upgrades to meeting and accommodations facilities and the NCC offered to host another retreat to give the Commonwealth’s Attorneys an opportunity to assess the facility as a possible Spring Institute site. Council authorized Mr. Harris to contact NCC to explore holding the CASC Curriculum Committee retreat at that facility and give the curriculum committee an opportunity to consider it for a future Spring Institute.
VSTOP “Recovery Act” / “Stimulus” Grant Information
Mr. Harris stated that Jane Chambers previously prepared a memo sent to each Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office describing the funding available through VSTOP for positions involved in the prosecution of violence against women. Ms. Fran Ecker of DCJS was present and broadly explained the parameters of the current funding opportunity, the short turnaround time to apply, and that the life span of the funding was 18 months.
The meeting adjourned at 11:35a.m. The next regularly scheduled Council meeting is 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, June 17, 2009 at the Henrico Sheriff’s Conference Room.