Monday, July 16, 2007

Profile of Virginia's "Writ of Actual Innocence"

This article reviews Virginia's statute providing an inmate the right to file a writ of actual innocence to the Court of Appeals. The article highlights the tension between the "need for finality" in court cases and the rights of innocents wrongly convicted. The article highlights that no writs have been issued either because a) we do not convict innocent people or b) the process is too complicated, depending upon which side of the issue you take. The petition is only available if the convicted person did not plead guilty. As the article highlights, at least two inmates cleared by DNA testing had pleaded guilty, which, but for the DNA testing, would have made this process unavailable to them.