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Group of Virginia prosecutors opposes change to jury trials

Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 7:29 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - More than 60 Virginia prosecutors are urging lawmakers to think twice before they make a major change to jury trials in the state.

A measure that passed the Virginia Senate would allow defendants who are convicted by a jury to be sentenced by a judge.

That’s already the case in federal courts and more than 40 other states, but a bipartisan coalition of Commonwealth’s attorneys opposes the change here in Virginia.

Chuck Slemp is the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Wise County and the City of Norton.

“We believe in reforms,” Slemp told WDBJ7. “We want to support reforms, smart reforms, constitutional reforms that don’t leave the community voiceless when it comes time for a sentencing hearing.”

Senate Bill 5007 could come up for a vote in the House of Delegates as early as Friday.

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