RSS Feeds

Assembly modifies standard for proving innocence

Thursday - 2/21/2013, 4:30pm  ET

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Virginia legislators have approved a one-word change in state law aimed at making it a little easier for wrongly convicted inmates to win exoneration.

The Senate voted 37-2 Thursday to pass the revision, which the House of Delegates approved earlier in the session.

Under the state's current law, an inmate can be exonerated based on new evidence upon a finding that no rational judge or jury could have found sufficient evidence beyond a reasonable doubt supporting a conviction. Critics say the standard is so strict that it's nearly impossible to meet.

The legislation approved Thursday changes the word "could" to the less-stringent "would."

Democratic Sen. Don McEachin of Henrico County voted for the bill, but said the legislature could have done more.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.