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Frequently Asked Questions: Legal Assistance

  1. What is the role of the Attorney General's Office?

  2. I need assistance in locating a private attorney.

    The Virginia State Bar (VSB) is the state agency responsible for regulation of the legal profession. In addition, the VSB offers the Virginia Lawyer Referral Service (VLRS). By calling the VLRS, you can be given the name and phone number of a Virginia attorney who practices in the area of the law with which you require assistance. If you are referred to an attorney through this service, you are entitled to an initial consultation of up to 30 minutes for no more than $35.00. The VLRS requires prepayment for a referral and initial consultation.  Get more information about the Virginia Lawyer Referral Service or calling 1-800 552-7977.

  3. I need a private attorney but can't afford one.

    Legal assistance may be available to you at no cost if you meet certain income guidelines or other criteria and your legal problem does not involve a criminal matter. Get a directory of Legal Aid offices in Virginia.

  4. I am the spouse of an active duty military member, and I need to talk with an attorney about a civil matter, but I can’t afford one.

    Military legal assistance services are available at most military installations for military members, their eligible family members, and military retirees. You may go to http://legalassistance.law.af.mil/content/locator.php to find an office near you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Victim Notification: Contact Information

Victim Notification
Office of the Attorney General
202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone:1-800-370-0459
Fax: 804-786-0991
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Kyanna Perkins, Director
Victim Notification Program
804-786-5284
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Andi Martin
Senior Victim Advocate
804-786-3344
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Nicole Phelps
Victim Advocate
804-692-0483
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Mary Sharpe
Victim Advocate
804-692-0555
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Victim Notification:  What is Habeas Corpus?

Defendants who are in custody because of convictions of crimes frequently try to overturn their convictions by filing petitions for a writ of habeas corpus. These petitions are civil suits, technically brought against the state official who has custody of the defendant, usually the prison warden or the Director of the Department of Corrections. They can only raise claims that the pretrial, trial, sentencing, or appeal were not properly conducted; they cannot simply claim that the defendant is innocent. The major difference between habeas corpus review and direct appeals is that habeas corpus petitions can and for the most part must raise complaints based on facts which do not appear in the written record of trial. Examples of such claims are allegations of errors by defense counsel or misconduct by the prosecutor in suppressing evidence favorable to the defense or coaching witnesses.

 

Although such suits are usually not brought until after the direct appeal has been concluded, they are sometimes filed before or during the direct appeal, or even in cases in which no direct appeal has been pursued. Habeas corpus petitions can be filed in either state or federal courts, but federal courts will generally not consider claims that have not previously been considered by the Supreme Court of Virginia, either in a direct appeal or in a state habeas corpus proceeding. In all habeas corpus proceedings, except those brought against a local sheriff by a defendant who has only been sentenced to serve time in the local jail, the Attorney General's Office will represent the state official and the interests of the Commonwealth.

 

It is the unusual habeas case which results in any relief in favor of the prisoner. Of the ones that do, the most common form of relief is to order only that the prisoner be allowed a new direct appeal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Victim Notification Program

The Office of the Attorney General Victim Notification Program ensures Virginia's victims their right to be notified of any appeal or habeas corpus proceeding involving the case or cases in which such person was a victim.

About the Victim Notification Program
What is Habeas Corpus?
Victim Information Sheet - English
Victim Information Sheet - Spanish
Contact Information
National Center for Victims of Crime
Victim Services Unit

Appeal Process for Virginia

Non-Capital Conviction
Capital Murder Conviction

 

If you decide that you would like to be notified of an appeal or a habeas corpus proceeding in the case or cases in which you are a victim, please fill out the Victim Information Sheet and return it to the Attorney General's Office (see address below).

 

Please fill out the form as accurately as possible. If you are unsure about any of the information we are requesting, please call our Office for assistance at (800) 370-0459.

Office of the Attorney General
Victim Notification 
202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, VA 23219

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.