Virginia AG is fighting for more lawyers as criminal complaints grow

The Virginia Attorney General has asked for additional funding to hire dozens of new attorneys to handle growing criminal complaints in the state.

The Attorney General of Virginia has asked for additional funding to hire dozens of new lawyers. It has to deal with growing criminal complaints in the state.

All because of a new law passed in 2021. The law, SB 1261 provides for an automatic right to appeal to defendants and participants in civil court and removed the petition-based process for the said appeal.

It came into force on January 1, and in all cases the state is represented by the Prosecutor General’s Office.

In a letter to the legislature, Attorney General Jason Miares wrote that the system had previously handled about 250 criminal cases a year. In January this year alone, the appeal group had more than 300 cases. The letter was first published in Virginia Mercury.

The law also added six more judges to the Court of Appeal. They were appointed in August 2021.

“The increased increase in the number of appeals should not be shocking, as the fiscal impact on SB 1261 is estimated to lead to legislation likely to lead to at least a 20% increase in the number of criminal complaints received,” Miares wrote.

He said there were only 30 lawyers in the team, but about 75 lawyers and staff were needed to handle the case. Miares has asked for additional funding for his office in the upcoming two-year budget.

Miares refers to the fact that former Attorney General Mark Herring anticipated the problem and requested funding for 54 new attorneys and 13 support staff. However, they received money only for 19 lawyers and eight support staff.

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