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Offered January 19, 1996
A BILL to amend and reenact 16.1-285.2 of the Code of Virginia, relating to release and review hearing for serious offender; use of two-way electronic communication.

Patrons-- Earley, Bolling, Newman and Stolle; Delegates: Bryant, Rollison, Stump and Weatherholtz
Referred to the Committee for Courts of Justice

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That 16.1-285.2 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

16.1-285.2. Release and review hearing for serious offender.

A. Upon receipt of a petition of the Department of Youth and Family Services for a hearing concerning a juvenile committed under 16.1-285.1, the court shall schedule a hearing within thirty days and shall appoint counsel for the juvenile pursuant to 16.1-266. The court shall provide a copy of the petition, the progress report required by this section, and notice of the time and place of the hearing to (i) the juvenile, (ii) the juvenile's parent, legal guardian, or person standing in loco parentis, (iii) the juvenile's guardian ad litem, if any, (iv) the juvenile's legal counsel, and (v) the attorney for the Commonwealth who prosecuted the juvenile during the delinquency proceeding.

B. The petition shall be filed in the committing court and shall be accompanied by a progress report from the Department. This report shall describe (i) the facility and living arrangement provided for the juvenile by the Department, (ii) the services and treatment programs afforded the juvenile, (iii) the juvenile's progress toward treatment goals and objectives, which shall include a summary of his educational progress, (iv) the juvenile's potential for danger to either himself or the community, and (v) a comprehensive aftercare plan for the juvenile.

C. The appearance of the juvenile before the court may be by (i) personal appearance before the judge, or (ii) use of two-way electronic video and audio communication. If two-way electronic video and audio communication is used, a judge may exercise all powers conferred by law and all communications and proceedings shall be conducted in the same manner as if the appearance were in person, and any documents filed may be transmitted by facsimile process. A facsimile may be served or executed by the officer or person to whom sent, and returned in the same manner, and with the same force, effect, authority, and liability as an original document. All signatures thereon shall be treated as original signatures. Any two-way electronic video and audio communication system used for an appearance shall meet the standards as set forth in subsection B of 19.2-3.1.

D. At the hearing the court shall consider the progress report. The court may also consider additional evidence from (i) probation officers, the learning center, treatment professionals, and the court service unit; (ii) the juvenile, his legal counsel, parent, guardian or family member; or (iii) other sources the court deems relevant. The hearing and all records relating thereto shall be governed by the confidentiality provisions of Article 12 ( 16.1-299 et seq.) of this chapter.

E. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court shall order (i) continued commitment of the juvenile to the Department for completion of the original determinate period of commitment or such lesser time as the court may order or (ii) release of the juvenile under such terms and conditions as the court may prescribe. In making a determination under this section, the court shall consider (i) the experiences and character of the juvenile before and after commitment, (ii) the nature of the offenses that the juvenile was found to have committed, (iii) the manner in which the offenses were committed, (iv) the protection of the community, (v) the recommendations of the Department, and (vi) any other factors the court deems relevant. The order of the court shall be final and not subject to appeal.