Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

You don't have to 'fight the good fight' alone. Join VACDL today.


    If you are a full-time Virginia Public Defender, make sure to take advantage of your VIDC group rate VACDL membership! Joining VACDL is super easy online [just click the "Sign up" button on this page!], and once your application has been approved by the VACDL Executive Director (she will confirm your employment with the VIDC), you can be added to the VACDL List Serv. We value your point of view and experience, so join today!

Board of Directors Elections

We welcome these new and returning Directors to the

VACDL Board of Directors:

Alan Polsky, District 1

Lauren Whitley, District 4

Richard Johnson, District 7

Douglas Ramseur, At-Large Seat #2

David B. Hargett, At-Large Seat #3

And congratulations to H. Eugene Oliver, III who will serve VACDL as President-Elect in 2019/President in 2020!

VACDL honors our new Life Members:

David M. Lee

Matt C. Pinsker

Upcoming events


The Office of the Federal Public Defender, Western District, announces an open Assistant Federal Public Defender position open in the Abingdon office (full-time with federal salary and benefits). Applicants must be in good standing with the VSB and eligible for admission to the Western District of Virginia.  

N.B. Priority will be given to applications received by November 20, 2019.

VAW-2020-01 AFPD Job Listing_ABG_November 2019.pdf

Department of Forensic Science seeks cases eligible for Serology Case Review

 The Department of Forensic Science is seeking eligible cases for the DFS Serology Case Review which meet the following criteria:

   a. A DFS examiner conducted serological testing (i.e., ABO blood typing or secretion typing) in the case;

   b. the DFS examiner testified to the results of the serological     testing at trial; AND

   c. the defendant was convicted.

 For cases that meet the above criteria, please send the following information, if known, to DFS at

     -Defendant's name

     -Victim's name (if applicable or known)


     -Date of offense (at a minimum, year of offense)

     -FS Lab number (if known)

DFS Serology Case Review Request 8-28-19.pdf

"Off-season" Lobbying with Justice Forward Virginia

Partners in Justice,

Now that we have our list of 2019-20 legislative priorities, Justice Forward hopes to get an early start on legislative advocacy. Along those lines, we're preparing to meet with key legislators to start discussing the types of reforms that could help repair our broken justice system.

We'll be sharing more about the legislation we hope to propose in the near future -- we know that we'll be advocating for bail reform, discovery reform, and to end the "trial penalty" or "trial tax" in Virginia. In the meantime, we're signing up volunteers to help with our pre-season lobbying push. If you've attended one of our lobby days, this will be familiar to you -- we're doing essentially the same thing, except meeting with legislators in their district offices rather than in their Richmond.

If you're interested in joining us before the GA session begins to lobby for criminal justice reform, please let us know. Send an email to Ashley Shapiro at: . Include in your email the following information:

- Name

- Address (home and office)

- Phone number

- Email address

- If an attorney, social worker, or other type of community advocate, the areas you serve

- Whether you have any prior lobbying or legislative advocacy experience

- If a Virginia resident, the names of your state delegate and state senator, if you know them

Let us know if you have any questions! 


Justice Forward Virginia

    JFV/NACDL/VACDL Lobby Day 

   Planning for Lobby Day in January 2020 will begin in the next few months. Check back  soon for details! 

 If you aren't familiar with Justice Forward Virginia or what they have on their "to do list", please click the link below:

JFV 2019-2020 Justice Reform To Do List

 *UPDATE: On January 29, 2019, the Supreme Court of Virginia entered an Order to delay implementation of the new Discovery rules until July 1, 2020.  While the Court reiterates that "reform of the criminal discovery rules is long overdue," they desire to coordinate and cooperate with the other branches of government. The letter from Chief Justice Lemons is found below:

SCV Delays Discovery Rules Implementation

  On September 5, 2018, the Supreme Court of Virginia approved new rules regarding criminal discovery. After many years of work by VACDL members and our allies advocating for reform, a new playing field will emerge when these rules go into effect. To read the letter from Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons and the new rules, click below:

Supreme Court of VA adoption of discovery rules 9-5-18.pdf

Quote of the Quarter: 

      "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice"

-Martin Luther King, Jr.



Thank you to everyone who attended our Fall CLE! We hope you learned a lot, and had a great time as well! Copies of the seminar materials are available for purchase.

SAVE THE DATE: April 17, 2020

 for VACDL's Spring Seminar at George Mason University (Arlington campus). More details to come, but mark your calendars now!


Have you paid your dues? Please make sure to remit payment online or by check ASAP to avoid being removed from the List Serv

And, if you've never been a VACDL member (or you'd like to come back!) get rolling for the second half of 2019 by joining the only voluntary Virginia bar organization exclusively focused on criminal defense!


VACDL endorses the following sponsors and partners:

VIDC Initial Certification Training Class (2019)

  • November 21-22, 2019
Registration is through the VIDC, and there is no cost. 

VIDC Initial Certification

The VIDC website ( provides an overview of the court-appointed counsel certification process. We encourage all VACDL members to become certified to take court-appointed cases, and we offer a mentorship program to assist with the trial requirements for felony case certification. 


 We support the efforts to reform discovery rules in Virginia to ensure just and fair trials for all accused of criminal offenses. If you'd also like to support this initiative, click on the link below:

Virginia Fair Trial Coalition Support Agreement.pdf

Not a VACDL member?

VACDL List Serv

Our List Serv is hosted through Yahoo Groups. If you are a VACDL member and you wish to be added to the List Serv, please send an email to

or contact Executive Director Danielle Payne at *You can chose to receive a Daily Digest of List Serv postings, or individual delivery of messages once your access has been enabled.*

VACDL Newsletter

 Each quarter, VACDL sends a newsletter, The Virginia Champion, to active members. Recent past editions are available in the Member's Only Section. 

*Members can now choose electronic or mailed delivery for The Virginia Champion. In your Member Profile, click "Edit Profile" and select your preferred delivery option!*

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