NewsProsecutors will be able to drop marijuana cases – and others – under new law inspired by Norfolk – The Virginian-Pilot

October 22, 20200

Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday signed legislation requires judges to dismiss a charge if both the prosecution and defense agree. The bill was inspired by last year’s state Supreme Court case when the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney requested that the court compel local judges to dismiss misdemeanor marijuana cases. Judges typically grant prosecutors’ requests to drop or dismiss charges, but Norfolk Circuit Court judges blocked prosecutors from doing so in the misdemeanor marijuana cases.

At the time Ramin Fatehi argued in court that “this is an exercise of our discretion.” In 2016 and 2017, more than 1,560 people have been charged with first- or second-offense marijuana possession in Norfolk. Of them, 81 percent were black in a city that’s 47 percent white and 42 percent black.

The legislation was supported by the Virginia Progressive Prosecutors for Justice, which Ramin Fatehi is a member.




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