Peace Bill to Aid Victims of Crime Passes House

-- Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund Reform Bill Passes House--

CENTRAL VA – House Bill 885, patroned by Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) passed the House of Delegates by a vote of 99-0.  The measure joins other legislative and budgetary efforts this session to provide aid and assistance to victims of violent crime.

HB 885 would make it the policy of the Commonwealth to allow the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund to extend the time for filing a claim, to innocent victims of crime, if the prosecutor submits written notice that the crime is being investigated as a result of newly discovered evidence.

Hanover County’s Commonwealth Attorney Trip Chalkley brought the proposal to Delegate Peace based on a cold hit rape case from 1984 which he subsequently successfully prosecuted. As a result of the new trial, the victim incurred costs associated with counseling services. Compensation for those services was denied based on case law and a gap in the statutes. Peace's legislation corrects this problem and will allow this victim and any future cold hit case victims to access justifiable restitution.

Speaking to the bill, “As technology catches up with our legal system, new scientific evidence may result in the successful prosecution of cold cases.  These injured victims should be afforded to opportunity to apply to the Fund for restitution for their injuries,” stated Peace.

Chalkley praised Delegate Peace on this bill, saying “I appreciate Delegate Peace’s leadership in sponsoring and ensuring the passage of this bill. It takes great steps in compensating victims in some way for the indignities and costs born by the attacks on them." He also said, “It is important that the legislature recognized that ‘cold case victims’ are as worthy of compensation as those previously covered under the statute.”

According to their website, the Criminal Injury Compensation Fund (CICF), was created in 1977 to pay unreimbursed expenses of victims who suffer personal physical or emotional injury or death as a result of a crime. The Fund receives no tax dollars from the citizens of Virginia.  CICF is funded by court fees, assessments on offenders, restitution, and a federal Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) Grant to supplement monies available to victims of violent crime.  To learn more about CICF visit their website at: http://www.cicf.state.va.us/aboutus.shtml