The Virginia Association of Commonwealth's Attorneys has called on the General Assembly to strengthen the state's child abuse laws and make vehicular homicide a criminal offense.
At a recent meeting in Virginia Beach, the association also reaffirmed its opposition to Virginia's early release program and an overhaul of the state's rape laws.
Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. said child abuse laws should cover "crimes of omission," including deprivation of food and clothing.
Calling on the legislature to make vehicular homicide a criminal offense, Horan said, "It strikes us as ominous that running a red light and killing someone is treated the same way as running a red light."
The 371-member organization reaffirmed its opposition to Virginia's early release law, which permits the release of prisoners six months before their sentences end.
"We reward the worst prisoners in the Virginia system," Horan said. "All of those that can't make parole, we release six months early."
Horan said the group was unanimous in its opposition to efforts, made since 1977, to reform state rape laws. The most recent reform measure, introduced in the 1980 legislature, was effectively killed when it was carried over to the coming session.
The reform measure would have required rape victims to be questioned about their prior sexual experiences, Horan said.
"It's not going to help the victim, only those who commit these reprehensible crimes," Horan said.
The association has proposed that victims be questioned once about the rape in a closed-door preliminary hearing.