One of the biggest stories in the Attorney General’s race is Ken Cuccinelli’s call for a special session to deal with the Melendez-Diaz v. Massacheusetts decision. While Shannon thought Cuccinelli was going to far, and wanted Kaine to find an administrative solution, it now appears that Tim Kaine agrees with Ken Cuccinelli.

The AP is reporting that a Virginia lawmaker says Kaine will call a special session to deal with the issue later today.

RICHMOND, Va. – A Virginia lawmaker says Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine will call a special session to deal with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that’s having repercussions in the state’s courts.

The legislator spoke on the condition of anonymity Tuesday night because he was not authorized to pre-empt the governor’s announcement. Kaine has scheduled a news conference for Wednesday, but his office says only that he will make two public safety announcements.

A second legislator, House Democratic Leader Ward Armstrong of Henry County, said Kaine has told him he’s leaning toward calling a special session.

The announcement is expected to take place sometime later today.
Cuccinelli was the person who realized how important this issue. He accurately predicted DUI cases would be dismissed, and made the difficult but correct decision. Once again he has stood up for what is best for Virginians, even if it may be politically difficult. Kaine’s decision to side with a candidate from the opposite party over his own candidate for Attorney General means that he realized administrative solutions were impossible, and the special session is what is necessary to fix this problem. His actions will validate Cuccinelli’s foresight, and accurate understanding of the law.
(Cross posted from VASocialConservative and also at Off The Trunk.)

“We Need to Protect Virginians From Drug Dealers and Drunk Drivers.”

FAIRFAX — Today, State Senator Ken Cuccinelli, (R-Fairfax), and Republican Candidate for Attorney General, called on Governor Tim Kaine to bring the Legislature back to Richmond immediately to address the problems created by the ruling of the United States Supreme Court in Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts.

This decision has begun forcing prosecutors to suspend drug and drunk driver prosecutions, “which is a situation that is bad and will likely get worse if we don’t act quickly,” said Cuccinelli.

“The first priority of Government is public safety.  It is with this in mind that I call on Governor Kaine to convene the General Assembly as soon as possible to fix the problem with our notice waiver statute in the Virginia Code.  While Virginia’s law was ruled constitutional by our Virginia Supreme Court, that ruling was a close 4-3 decision, and it is on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.  While I share our Attorney General’s opinion that Virginia should prevail under the current statute, the U.S. Supreme Court will not reconvene to hear this case until at least October, and the case is clearly a close call at best,” said Cuccinelli.

“Commonwealth’s Attorneys are on the front lines in the war on crime, they need to be secure in knowing that all Virginia’s statutes are constitutional and that their prosecutions will not be undone because of Melendez. And of course the state has an obligation to the defense, to ensure protection under the 6th Amendment. I believe the only way to ensure constitutionality is to conform Virginia’s notice waiver statute to Georgia’s, which the U.S. Supreme Court said is constitutional in theMelendez case.  Anything less I believe would be a disservice to Virginia’s Commonwealth’s Attorneys and its law enforcement community,” concluded Cuccinelli.

Until the ruling in Melendez-Diaz, the Virginia state forensic lab was able to submit a certificate of analysis of their findings for use in court in drug and D.U.I. cases.  Virginia law allows the certificate of analysis as proof of the drugs involved in the case or blood alcohol content.  “With the volume of cases analyzed, requiring court appearances by the scientist in every case has the potential to cripple the criminal justice system,” noted Cuccinelli.

Local prosecutors across the Commonwealth are also asking for a special session to fix the problem.  Louisa County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Garrett said, “Across the Commonwealth drunk drivers and drug dealers are going free in cases that would have been certain convictions two weeks ago.”

Senator Cuccinelli said, “A legislative fix would be much better than hiring 100-200 new scientists, which we couldn’t do now even if we tried.”

Senator Cuccinelli noted that under the Virginia Constitution, if the Governor does not act, the legislature can call itself into session if 2/3 of the Senators and 2/3 of the Delegates write to the Governor making such a request.  “We can call the special session now, before too much damage has been done, or we’ll end up doing it later, after hundreds or thousands of drug defendants and drunk drivers have gotten off spot-free.  I think we should act right now.”

(Originally posted at VASocial Conservative.)