Recently Judge Thomas D. Horne of the 20th Circuit chaired a special committee that forwarded recommendations to the Supreme Court of Virginia concerning the subject of discovery in a criminal trial. The report can be viewed or downloaded here. The following is a statement from Judge Horne in the report.
“Discovery provides a means to ensure that all parties are given the tools necessary to ensure the administration of justice is fair , open and efficient.”
If only Judge Horne practiced these type of recommendations in his Courtroom. Don’t get me wrong, the issue of discovery needs to be addressed in Virginia. I am encouraged that the conversation is taking place and that public comments are being solicited. As things stand now, the prosecutor holds all the power. The prosecutor decides what to release to the accused and their counsel. It is a very unfair advantage for the prosecution. This pertains to someone like Sandra Glenney , although she does not handle criminal cases, her cases have very high stakes; the parent child relationship. I am sure Glenney is not an advocate of any changes to discovery unless of course it is to restrict it.
Judge Horne, in my opinion, should not have been given the privilege to chair the committee. Judge Horne does not and did not allow full discovery in his Courtroom. If anyone questions this assertion, please take note of the memorandum at the top of the page submitted by Christopher Zveare (picture above far right) , of Sterling Virginia, in the Courtroom of Judge Thomas D. Horne. Judge Horne allowed no discovery or impeachment of this document. He showed no interest while being told of the multiple problems with the document. Almost as if taking instructions from the opposing attorney he sustained any objections that prevented the impeachment of the document.
Judge Horne afforded Zveare and his attorney every opportunity to pull off the fraud that Zveare attempted. Below is an additional hypocritical statement from Judge Horne in the report
“and where trial by ambush has been the norm there is no clarity and transparency”
Really Judge Horne, you have the gall to criticize “trial by ambush”. I find it strange that you would criticize “trial by ambush” when it suits your needs or those of your lackeys like Sandra Glenney or Lorrie Sinclair. Transparency, there is nothing about the document that Zveare submitted that was transparent. Judge Horne has a rather short memory.
In the matter regarding Christopher Zveare, Horne disallowed all impeachment of the document. He overlooked the unsigned document and the fact that its author could not be found. It is hard to ensure the “administration of justice” that Judge Horne refers to when Horne does not allow any discovery.
The proposed amendments to discovery are a start, more could be done. A better chair person than Judge could have been chosen.