Juvey video bill falls

The Daily Progress reports this morning that the General Assembly bill supported by the father of one of the teens imprisoned last year during the Albemarle school bomb scare was defeated yesterday. The bill, HB 1693, introduced by Arlington Democrat Al Eisenberg into the House Courts of Justice Committee, would have given all parents what this teen's parents received in Albemarle (minus the 60 days behind bars, of course): a copy of the videotaped interrogation of their juvenile child.

"We're living proof that it really made a difference," says the boy's father, a day before the measure was defeated. The father said he believed the video shot by Albemarle police was key in convincing an Albemarle jury last summer that his son had no knowledge of any conspiracy.

"They kept trying to lead him, kept trying to get him to admit something, to say what the other child said was real when he knew it wasn't real," says the father.

Although the measure fell, the idea of video trumping transcript won some respect. As reported by the Progress, subcommittee chair Delegate H. Morgan Griffith, a Salem Republican, recalled the scene in the 1992 film My Cousin Vinny when the Ralph Macchio character allegedly "confesses" merely by repeating the bogus charge against him: "I shot the clerk?!"

The boy and his father are not being publicly identified by the Hook due to the son's age, 13, at the time the charges were levied.

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2 comments

How about providing some info on how our local reps voted on this matter. Isn't Bell on the Courts of Justice committee? It would be good to know whether he supported this measure, though with his track record it would amaze the s*** out of me if he voted in favor of something that would - Heaven forbid - make the police accountable. Then again, this was probably one of those "unrecorded" committee votes supported by Republicans who don't want to be held accountable themselves.

Has this bill been covered ANYWHERE in the local media? I am truly sorry not to have known about it. I would certainly have written to our delegates in support. I know, I know, I should be following everything the state legislature does on a daily basis but the truth is that I rely on the media to identify stories of local interest. I suspect I am not alone.
Note to local media: Albemarle County parents have NOT forgotten last years "bomb plot" and we remain interested in any attempts to change the law which spring from that unfortunate story. PLEASE help us stay more informed!! (And thank you to the Hook for carrying this story, even at this late point in the process.)