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May 04, 2020

Virginia Supreme Court vacates death sentence for Daryl Atkins

On June 4, 2009, the Supreme Court of Virginia ruled by a 5-2 vote to dismiss Virginia’s petitions for writs of mandamus and prohibition. As a result, the circuit court's order sentencing Daryl Atkins to life imprisonment will stand. This life sentence was ordered after significant prosecutorial misconduct was revealed during a hearing to determine whether Mr. Atkins was mentally retarded.  Many lawyers worked tirelessly on this case, including Mark Olive, Dick Burr, Lisa Greenman, Cynthia Ayres, Jim Ellis, Marc Tasse, and Dale Watson. The Project recruited Rich Parker and his colleagues at O’Melveny & Myers to provide important assistance on this case. This talented team is to be commended for their efforts to “directly and indirectly uncover and tell the truth of his case, [Mr. Atkins’] life, and the important issues at the heart of both,” stated Rob Lee of the Virginia Capital Resource Center.  Congratulations!