Public Comments for: HB658 - Juveniles; appointment of counsel, indigency.
Last Name: McConnell Locality: Richmond City

I write today in support of Del. Hope's HB 658 to limit fines and fees in delinquency and CHINS cases in cases involving indigent families. Fines and fees keep these families in poverty and keep families from being able to move on after involvement with the court. These fines and fees do nothing to make the public safer or help the child learn anything from the court process. They simply create a difficult burden for families who are already struggling. In my experience representing children in this context, many of these families are struggling with homelessness, food insecurity, and other serious challenges. Please support this legislation for the good of the Commonwealth. Julie McConnell

Last Name: Stoutmiles Organization: Juvenile Law Center Locality: Silver Spring

Comments Document

Juvenile Law Center urges you to pass HB 658. This bill ensures the important right to counsel for youth in the justice system. The right to an attorney is a fundamental Constitutional guarantee. More than fifty years ago, the United States Supreme Court established that a criminal defendant who cannot afford to hire a lawyer must be provided one at no cost because “lawyers in criminal courts are necessities, not luxuries.” Just a few years later, the Court that ensuring the right to counsel for children in the justice system “is of the essence of justice.” Research further confirms that youth are particularly in need of counsel because they may have trouble understanding the court process or making measured decisions, especially when under stress. In our national survey of public defenders and other professionals working with youth, numerous respondents noted that costs related to court appointed attorneys led youth to waive counsel, or to plead to delinquency charges. In some cases, prosecutors used the threat of attorney fees to pressure youth to plead guilty. Unique problems can arise when parents are liable for costs, as they may pressure their children to waive counsel, but the child, not the parent, suffers the legal consequences. Ultimately the purpose of the juvenile justice system is to get young people back on track and charging them and their families for the cost of counsel further destabilizes the financial and emotional health of families, making it harder for young people who are in trouble to grow into successful adults. The state of Virginia can and should pass this bill to ensure all young people who are in trouble have adequate counsel. Submitting an attachment copy of my oral testimony in favor of HB 658 on behalf of Juvenile Law Center.

Last Name: Stoutmiles Organization: Juvenile Law Center Locality: Silver Spring

Comments Document

Submitting a written copy of my oral testimony in favor of HB 658 on behalf of Juvenile Law Center.

Last Name: Haywood Locality: Fairfax

Dear Sirs, Please do not undo the landmark legislation that limits raw based pedestrian or traffic stops. This is not a progressive or Democrat cause, it is a criminal justice improvement. I have bi-racial sweet teenagers that could be subject to these stops. They are innocents. Brown people are stopped too often. Let the legislation stand. Spend your time on other concerns. I am a republican from Great Falls Va. Thank you. Lois Haywood

Last Name: Stanley Locality: Harrisonburg. Past VA BCH

Not only is it minorities but also whites who seek justice for themselves as well as minorities. Originally from NC I moved to VA to finish a master degree at Regent University. Because of substance abuse and drug addiction off and on over the past 20 yrs, I have experience in both the criminal justice system and in areas of poor minority housing areas. What better way to show society I have been rehabilitated than stay sober and finish a master's degree I started in 2013. I also got involved with local African American pastors to try n change lives through love n hope. Not so fast . Instead only months after getting that masters degree and getting my NC k-12 teaching license reactivatd I was charged with 8 felonies for supposedly forging to checks from an elderly lady whom I was hired to give her dog diabetic shots twice a day everyday. I voluntary went to the investigating detective and gave an honest statement. A statement she supposedly " forgot to hit the record button on" . Add 8000 in attorneys fees and wat did I get. He's just a junkie who took advantage of an old lady. No showing my reformation. Instead 8 felonies with 5 years each felony all ran consecutive. 40 yrs 39 suspended. First felonies ever. No more school teacher possibilities or being a church worker+ masters in theology. All because I had a passionate voice for justice in a white privilege society while I myself lived in Newport news. And now I n my daughter ( who just got a BSN in nursing worries daily dad will have to do 39 yrs if he misses a po appt or has a relapse and gets a negative drug screen. (Especially in lieu he was victim of sexual assault by a retired naval officer which no one ever believe) The commonwealth is most oppressing state I have ever been in and having played div. one baseball in the early nineties I have been around the country. I gave since gotten more involved SO PLEASE DONT STOP THE MOMENTUM THAT THE COMMONWEALTH HAS MADE THE OAST 4 YEARS. VY PEOPLE WHO ARE BLIND TO THE REALITY IF SOME LAWS N POLICE BEHAVIOR. ALL BECAUSE THEY ABD THIER FAMILIES GREW UP PRIVILEGED. I AM UNIQUE IN THAT I AM EDUCATED BUT ALSO A ADDICT WHO GAS LUVED IN THAT WIRKD. A WORLD WGEN RECENT THE COMMONWEALTH JUST SAW MY OAST RECORD, REFUSED TO SEE MY SIVRYN ACCOMPLISHED THE LAST 5 YEARS AND DIDN'T EVEN CONSIDER REHAB ( THAT BASED ON THIER ARGUMENT IFME BEING AN ADDICT. NO KETS JUST THROW HIM IN A 6 × 9 FIR ONE YEAR N HE WILL THINK TWICE BEFORE HE USES AGAIN. HIW F ARCHAIC IS THAT THOUGHT PROCESS. WE AS FIRMER ADDICTS AND CRIMINALS ( 99% DUE TO DRUG USE) ARE WILLING TO ADMIT OUR MISTAKES REPAY SOCIETY N MOVE FORWARD BUT UNFORTUNATELY THIS REVERSAL IN LEGISLATION WILL ONLY ADD TO TGE ONCE ANE POSSIBLE SOON TO BE OPPRESSIVE COMMONWEALTH FOR THE POOR UNEDUCATED N THISE WHI STRUGGLE WITH ADDICTION. IN CLOSING I LIVE IN A CONSERVATIVE COUNT N CITY NOW BUT THEY SEEM TO GET UT. NOT LIKE SOME OF THE OTHER PRODOMIATELY WHITE COMMUNITY. I AM ALWAYS AVAILABLE TO SHARE MY EXPERIENCES W ADDICTION N THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM KEEP TGE MOMENTUM GOING FOR CGANGE HOPE N REHABILITATION. NOT INCARCERATION. SOMETHING WE WOULD NOT EVEN DO TO STRAY ANIMALS

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