Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ Services Council
Henrico Sheriff’s Conference Room
September 20, 2017
Council Members Present
Patricia T. Watson (Greensville Co./Emporia), Chairman
Jeffrey W. Haislip (Fluvanna County), Second Vice Chairman
James E. Plowman (Loudoun County), Secretary
Eric L. Olsen (Stafford County), Past Chairman
Council District Representatives:
1. LaBravia J. Jenkins (Fredericksburg)
4. Ann Cabell Baskervill (Dinwiddie County)
6. David L. Ledbetter (Waynesboro)
9. Charles H. Slemp, III (Wise County)
10. Marc H. Abrams (Winchester)
Other Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Present
Paul B. Ebert (Prince William County)
E. M. Wright (Buckingham County)
Michael R. Doucette (Lynchburg)
John L. Mahoney (Caroline County)
Colin D. Stolle (Virginia Beach)
Gregory D. Underwood (Norfolk)
C. Phillips Ferguson (Suffolk)
Susan O. Fierro (Prince George County)
R. Bryan Haskins (Pittsylvania County)
Marcia L. Garst (Rockingham County/Harrisonburg)
W. Lyle Carver (Amherst County)
Shannon L. Taylor (Henrico County)
Christian E. Rehak (Radford)
William B. Bray (Colonial Heights)
Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorneys Present
Betty Jo Anthony (Roanoke City)
CASC Staff Present
Jane Sherman Chambers
Call to Order
Ms. Watson called the meeting to order at 12:05 p.m.
The draft minutes from the August 3, 2017, and August 6, 2017, meetings were previously posted and circulated to Council. The minutes were approved as submitted.
Ms. Chambers reported that she and staff attorneys Elliott Casey and Nancy Oglesby spent an afternoon at the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys Office in Raleigh. North Carolina is a national leader in the area of prosecutor training and support, so the trip was made to learn more about their outstanding prosecutor training programs and prosecutor support initiatives.
2017 Curriculum Retreat Update
Ms. Watson reported that the Curriculum Retreat went very well and they came up with a lot of good ideas. They relied heavily on the recent curriculum survey in deciding what topics to include. Draft agendas were developed for the 2017 Executive Program, the 2018 Spring Institute and the 2018 Annual Summer Conference. Ms. Watson reviewed some of the highlights, including a presentation at the Executive Program by a former Colorado prosecutor who will talk about the impact of legalized marijuana on his state. Ms. Watson also reported that the committee talked about CASC offering more 1 day training programs on single topics.
Ms. Chambers reviewed the most recent CATF monthly balance sheet. She also provided Council with a copy of the CASC office budget that details how CATF funds are being spent.
2017 Executive Program Update
Ms. Chambers circulated the initial draft of the 2017 Executive Retreat agenda. Ms. Watson reviewed the proposed training items.
Meeting/Office Space Rental Proposal
Ms. Chambers reviewed the proposal of the CASC Finance Committee to investigate the possibility of leasing office and meeting space in Richmond with CATF funds. This space would be used to supplement existing CASC office space (where expansion is not an option) and to provide a convenient and dedicated meeting room for Council meetings, faculty meetings, committee meetings and small training programs. CASC also hopes to house a small recording studio for the production of distance learning materials. Ms. Jenkins suggested buying a building for this purpose. Discussion ensued about the benefits of purchasing property versus leasing property. Mr. Ferguson cautioned that a lot goes along with owning an office building, to include maintenance, utilities, etc. The consensus was to continue to look at leasing office space, at least in the short term, while maintaining the suggestion of purchasing property in the future.
Development of a CASC App
Ms. Chambers reported that CASC is in the process of developing a CASC app that will provide easy access to CASC program information, registration and materials, as well as links to the CASC website and a variety of prosecutor resources. The app is being developed by Capitol Impact and will tie in to CASC’s existing Capitol Impact software. Mr. Doucette inquired about security measures for the app. Ms. Chambers responded that those issues are being addressed but that she would have to get the specific details to report at the next meeting.
Impact of “No-Shows” at CASC Training Events
Ms. Chambers reported that even though CASC offers it members training free of charge, that doesn’t mean at no cost. CASC provides binders of written materials based on registration requests and provides food and beverage based on registration numbers. She asked that members stress to their staff the importance of keeping CASC accurately informed about attendance. Council members indicated that CASC would be entitled to bill “no shows” for the cost of unclaimed binders.
Training for Administrative Staff
Ms. Chambers reported that Mr. Slemp and she have discussed offering a training program for Commonwealth’s Attorney administrative staff. CASC has not done this in the past and she asked if that is something that members would be interested in. The CATF statutory language and MOU were consulted to see if this was an appropriate use of CATF funds. The conclusion was reached that the MOU allows for this type of expenditure. A motion was made, seconded and unanimously passed to allow CASC to provide training for administrative staff using CATF funds. Ms. Chambers reported that she envisions this training to be offered regionally.
Committee on Restitution
Mr. Olsen reported that he was appointed to the OES committee on restitution. They had their final meeting yesterday. He reminded members that there is a new 6-page restitution form that has to be filled out by Commonwealth’s Attorneys. One of the committee recommendations is that the CA or victim-witness fill out an optional form that itemizes each particular item of restitution so that the Virginia Victims Fund (formerly CICF) will know what they can be reimbursed for. Mr. Olsen reported that clerks will be sending the CA a list showing what restitution has been paid. Mr. Ledbetter reported that he has received one of these lists and it is extremely difficult to decipher. Mr. Olsen reported that this recommendation, among others, will be reported to the Crime Commission.
There being no further business before Council, the meeting adjourned at 1:04 p.m. The next regularly scheduled meeting is November 8, 12:00 noon, at the Henrico County Sheriff’s Office Conference Room.