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Virginia Indigent Defense Commission

About Us

At the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission we strive to be dedicated to protecting the rights and dignity of our clients through zealous, compassionate, and high-quality legal advocacy.

As of July 1, 2004, all attorneys wishing to represent accused persons entitled to court appointed counsel must be certified by the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission.

Pursuant to Virginia Code § 19.2-163.01, the Virginia General Assembly established the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission to carry out the Commonwealth’s constitutional obligation to provide attorneys for indigent persons accused of crimes that carry a potential penalty of incarceration or death. The Commission is statutorily mandated to oversee the certification and recertification of all court appointed attorneys providing criminal indigent defense services, to enforce Standards of Practice and to directly oversee the state public defender offices. The Commission maintains a list of attorneys qualified to represent indigent persons.

1604 Santa Rosa Road, Suite 200
Richmond, VA 23229
(804) 662-7249
Fax: (804) 662-7359

Public Defenders

Local Public Defender Offices

Capital Defender Offices

The Commission provides training to its attorneys in a number of ways. Once a year, the Commission convenes a Public Defender Conference that provides six hours of training, including one hour of legal ethics. The Conference is held in Virginia and is staffed by high quality speakers and trainers who donate their time and expertise to improving the quality of Virginia’s indigent defense.

Support Staff

In order to assure the high quality of its non-attorney professional staff, the VIDC also sponsors training conferences for its office managers, investigators and sentencing advocates. Finally, the Commission provides funding each year for attorneys, investigators, and sentencing advocates to attend specialized training sponsored by agencies or organizations outside of the VIDC.

Private Bar

As a service to Virginia’s criminal defense bar, the VIDC also provides training opportunities for members of the private bar. The Commission co-sponsors with the University of Richmond’s T.C. Williams School of Law an annual Juvenile Law and Education Conference. Commission staff also assists the Criminal Law Section of the Virginia Bar Association with the planning of Virginia’s annual Capital Defense Workshop. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia also offers at no cost advanced trial skills training for Virginia’s court appointed counsel. Finally, individual public defender offices sponsor training programs for office staff and members of local bar associations.

2016 VIDC COMMISSION MEMBERS (Appointing Authority)

Judge Alan E. Rosenblatt (ret.), (Senate Committee On Rules, Chairman of VIDC)
Steven D. Benjamin, (Senate Committee On Rules)
Henry Chambers, (Governor)
Delegate Christopher E. Collins, (House Courts of Justice)
John G. Douglass, (Virginia State Bar)
Carolyn Grady, (Virginia State Bar)
Karl R. Hade, (Statute/Exec Sec Supreme Court)
Judge Edward W. Hanson, Jr. (ret.), (Senate Committee On Rules)
James Hingeley, (Governor)
Guy W. Horsley, Jr., (Speaker of the House)
Kristen Howard, (Designee, Crime Commission)
Senator Richard Stuart, (Statute, Senate Courts of Justice Chair)
David D. Walker, (Speaker of House)
Carmen B. Williams, (Speaker of House)


Executive Director, David J. Johnson
Deputy Executive Director, Maria Jankowski
Chief Information Officer, Jason Hodges
Chief Financial Officer, Angela Thompson
Human Resources Director, Cynthia Bullock


Copyright 2007 Commonwealth of Virginia, All Rights Reserved
Virginia Indigent Defense Commission
WAI Level A Compliant