On April 13, ACLU-VA Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastañaga sent a letter to Gov. Terry McAuliffe asking him to veto companion bills HB1856 and SB1285, which would require courts to put people ordered to pay restitution on indefinite probation and codify wealth-based discrimination in Virginia criminal justice system. The bills were returned to the governor by the General Assembly after rejecting his proposed substitute during the reconvened session on April 5.

This letter followed a previous letter to the governor detailing our concerns and opposition to these two deeply troubling bills. HB 1856 and SB1285 do not reflect Virginia's commitment to due process and equal justice under the law, nor do they guarantee to serve efficiently as a debt-collection tool. If this legislation becomes law, it could result in a double criminal justice system in which those with financial means can move on with their life while those living in poverty are continually punished solely because of their inability to pay.
You can read the letter in full here:

letter to McAuliffe payment of fees restitution (pdf)

 

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