Lawyers in Richmond’s public defender’s office, in the midst of a campaign to increase their salaries, say they’re paid so much less than the prosecutors they face in court that it raises questions about whether low-income defendants are getting a fair shake at justice.
State officials got their first look Monday at a fleet of modern new SUVs that will begin to replace the police cars that currently transport subjects of involuntary mental health detentions to psychiatric hospitals around the state.
The boxes, a relatively new addition that relies on infrared and ultraviolet beams to test individual vehicles’ exhaust as they pass, serve a dual purpose: if a car passes the sniff test, it can count as the required emissions inspection.
The state forensic science lab plans to distribute 15,000 field tests to police departments around Virginia that will help officers distinguish between hemp and marijuana plants, which can appear identical but carry very different legal implications.
Finding state money to address the issues, remained a tough sell in the General Assembly, where Gov. Ralph Northam had proposed a $20 million increase in funding but ended up barely eking out a $4 million boost.
The legislation requires the Department of Corrections to submit an annual report detailing the age, sex, race, ethnicity, mental health status, medical status and security level of each inmate held in solitary confinement.