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According to a report recently published by Virginia Lawyers Weekly, Virginia Senator Creigh Deeds (D-Bath Co.) has introduced a bill that calls for the abolition of the Virginia Court of Appeals.
The bill, Senate Bill 630, would do away with the Commonwealth’s intermediate appeals court starting October 1, 2012, thereby restoring the Virginia Supreme Court’s authority to hear all criminal, traffic, domestic and administrative appeals. Deeds’ proposal is in direct opposition to House Joint Resolution 111, a piece of legislation introduced by Del. Sal Iaquinto (R-Virginia Beach) calling for an expansion of the Court of Appeals’ authority.
Though some see this piece of legislation as an attack on the court, Deeds has been adamant that his actions were not prompted by any ill-will toward the Court, but rather by a desire to promote fiscal responsibility. According to Deeds, the abolition of the Court of Appeals would save the Commonwealth 8 million dollars annually, a significant sum for a state in the midst of wide-spread budget cuts.
The bill has been referred to the Senate Courts committee.