A recently formed organization called Central Virginia Community Justice can step in when a victim, such as Ford, permits it. The prosecutor must also agree to any plea agreement, and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon P. Neal made the motion Thursday to reduce the criminal charges.
The deal that Judge Quatrara accepted allowed Morris — originally charged with felony hit-and-run plus two other offenses — to plead guilty to a single misdemeanor count of leaving the scene of an accident. The penalty was set at 12 months with all jail time suspended, and this was greeted with acclaim by the victim, who is a lawyer with a nonprofit legal clinic focused on immigration, asylum and other human rights matters.
“I think this is great,” Ford told the court. “Punishment is not a big part of my approach to the law.”