The endless parade of humanity that passes before the benches of Virginia's general district courts accused of minor offenses presents to those charged with deciding these cases one of the most challenging judicial tasks of our day. The challenge in addition to deciding guilt or innocence is also determining what to do with those judged guilty. Those decisions influence to one degree or another the direction of peoples lives for their own and society's good or ill. Most of the offenders appearing before these courts are young people, often first offenders. The behavior patterns of their lives are not yet firmly set. The introduction of a positive influence at this stage of their lives still has the potential for shaping attitudes and behavior toward constructive, law-abiding lifestyles.
Jose R. Davila Jr. & Robert L. Mordhorst,
Sentencing Alternatives for Virginia General District Courts,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol11/iss4/4