End Secrecy Around Criminal Investigative Records in Virginia

Photo of the Norfolk Four courtesy of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project.

Help add police transparency to the agenda

Virginia: Urge your lawmakers to support HB 5090 to make criminal investigative files public to prevent wrongful convictions.

Currently, Virginia state lawmakers are meeting for a special legislative session and are considering HB 5090 to make criminal investigative files public. Under Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act, the release of criminal investigation records is discretionary and difficult to access. As a result, organizations like the Innocence Project at UVA School of Law and the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project cannot fully investigate wrongful convictions. HB 5090 would add criminal investigative files to the types of records required to be released in accordance with the provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. 

In the infamous case of the Norfolk Four, four Navy sailors were brutally interrogated by Norfolk police until they falsely confessed to a rape and murder. The detective who led the interrogations, Robert Glenn Ford, was later convicted of federal corruption in 2011. Ford was also involved in four other wrongful conviction cases that are currently being litigated by the Innocence Project at UVA School of Law. Under the current law, innocence organizations cannot access important criminal investigative files to see if Ford was involved in any other wrongful convictions.

Call 276-378-9266 to be connected to your lawmakers and let them know that you support HB 5090 to lift the shield on criminal investigation records to prevent wrongful convictions. 

Read the recent op-ed in The Virginian-Pilot on why we need to fix transparency laws. 

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