Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner has asked the General Assembly to change a bill it passed so that people convicted of felonies would have a greater opportunity to appeal convictions based on new evidence of innocence, says the Washington Post. Warner, a Democrat, praised legislators for passing a bill to would remove Virginia’s 21-day limit on the opportunity to present new evidence of innocence after conviction. He asked legislators to remove a provision in the bill that gives felons only one chance to do that. Lawmakers get a chance to act at a special, one-day session Wednesday.
“This bill represents an extraordinary, and long overdue, step forward for the commonwealth,” Warner said. But “it makes no sense to eliminate one arbitrary deadline on justice — a 21-day limit — and impose yet another — a limit of one petition per conviction.” The proposed elimination of the provision was hailed by defense lawyers, who said that allowing felons only one opportunity to present new evidence could prevent some from proving their innocence.