Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Summary of 2003 legislation affecting Virginia's circuit courts

The Virginia judicial website has this memo describing new laws affecting the circuit courts. One statutory change reflects that "[a]mendments to the Rules of Court are placed on the Supreme Court's Internet site as soon as they are adopted and this is the primary source for the bench, bar and public to become aware of new Rules."

Among the many other items is the new crime of resisting arrest: "Any person who intentionally prevents or attempts to prevent a law-enforcement officer from lawfully arresting him, with or without a warrant, is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor." In the old days, my court-appointed clients often made a run for it, and would get charged with something, but the charge usually did not quite fit the facts, since under the old law mere flight was not a crime. Judge Flannagan wrote a letter opinion on this point in one of my big-money cases, where a fellow decided to hop out of a police car in which he was sitting to get out of the rain while the officer questioned him.

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