Prosecutors in Norfolk want the Norfolk Circuit Court to dismiss certain marijuana possession charges. The Virginia Supreme Court isn’t backing prosecutors. It says the court doesn’t have to do what prosecutors want.
The Norfolk attorney, Greg Underwood, says that he has the discretion to dismiss criminal charges, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He also claims that a constitutional separation of powers he should be allowed to use that discretion without interference from judicial entities. The attorney wants to be a positive force in reform, but officials are tying his hands behind his back.
The Virginia Supreme Court panel said, “We disagree on each count. As we have explained repeatedly, the act of rendering a binding judgment is a quintessentially judicial function that cannot be compelled.”
It’s argued that Underwood wanted to stop prosecuting marijuana possession cases due to the disproportionate effect it has on the African American community. But, the circuit court judges thought he was going too far. The judges hinted that Underwood was single handedly decriminalizing marijuana possession in Norfolk.
Virginia’s been a tough state to make any reform to marijuana laws in.