Criminal Law Section

by Richard E. Trodden, chair

With more than 2,400 members, the Criminal Law Section remains one of the largest and most active sections in the Virginia State Bar. Consisting of prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, and professors, the section represents and brings together every aspect of this area of law in a spirit of camaraderie.

The Fortieth Annual Criminal Law Seminar in February 2010 continued to be one of the highlights of the section activities for the year. Due to severe weather conditions, the Charlottesville session was canceled for the first time.  However, the Williamsburg session and the videotape replays were very well attended. This seminar offers excellent continuing legal education presented by some of the most respected practitioners and legal scholars in the state, and at the same time affords practitioners and judges the chance to connect in a relaxed setting. 

The section presented its Carrico Professionalism Award during the 2010 Williamsburg Seminar to the Honorable Jere M.H. (Mac) Willis Jr., of Fredericksburg, who retired in 2002 as a judge for the Virginia Court of Appeals.

The section sponsored a well-attended seminar, “Melendez-Diaz and Confrontation: Practicality and Efficiency versus Constitutional Guarantees,” during the Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach. “The program featured panelists Steven D. Benjamin of Benjamin & DesPortes PC in Richmond; Dean John G. Douglass of the University of Richmond School of Law; and Stephen R. McCullough, opinions counsel and senior appellate counsel for the Virginia Office of the Attorney General.  Immediate Past Chair David P. Baugh served as moderator. Board members Nina J. Ginsberg and Claire G. Cardwell assisted in organizing this interesting program.

During the section’s annual business meeting, the following officers were elected for the 2010-2011 bar year: Carolyn V. Grady of Richmond, chair; Casey R. Stevens of Woodbridge, vice chair; and Lisa K. Caruso of Dinwiddie, secretary. The following attorneys were elected to the section board of governors for four-year terms: Joel R. Branscom of Fincastle; Linda D. Curtis of Hampton; Andrea Moseley of Alexandria; and Circuit Judge Charles S. Sharp of Stafford.  Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, was also elected to serve as an ex officio member of the board.

On a personal note, my experience of serving on the board has been an enriching one.  There is a great amount of wisdom and insight in the collective board. The dedication of my fellow board members richly deserves praise.  They are each dedicated to a just and fair criminal justice system.  A special shout-out is required for Reno S. Harp III for his steady hand and good judgment and to VSB staff members Elizabeth L. Keller and Theresa B. Patrick for their generous service to the board and the section membership.

Updated: Mar 08, 2011