CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The University of Virginia has chosen to delay the findings of the external report conducted in response to the mass shooting that killed three football players on campus last November.
The University said after consulting with the Commonwealth’s Attorney they won’t release the report until the criminal trial is done.
University leaders said they are concerned it could have an impact on the trial against defendant Christopher Jones.
November 13 marked one year since Lavel Davis Jr, Devin Chandler and D’Sean Perry were shot and killed on a bus on UVA’s campus.
UVA leaders say they believe the report could interfere with the Commonwealth’s Attorney case or interfere with Jones's right to a fair trial with an impartial jury.
The report looked into the circumstances that led to the shooting, as well as the University’s response in the immediate aftermath.
In the statement released by UVA, the Commonwealth’s Attorney said they have not seen the report yet.
CBS6 Legal Expert Todd Stone said the prosecution or defense could subpoena it if they believe it is prudent to the criminal case.
He said the criminal case is focused on the defendant's mental state at the time of the shooting- not if he had mental health treatment available to him.
“If there is some information in this report that could help them in trial that information still has to be disclosed. They always have an ethical obligation to disclose any evidence that is favorable to the defendant to the defense attorney,” said Stone.
Virginia Coalition for Open Government Megan Rhyne believes it is up to a judge, not UVA to determine what could cause prejudice in a criminal defendant's trial.
“UVA’s duty is not dependent on a county prosecutor’s ability to bring his or her case. And by withholding the entire report for the benefit of the prosecution, the university is also concealing any other matters reviewed in this external investigation, including what the university knew about the shooter when they knew it, and how the university responded both before and after the shooting. The families, UVA students, and the UVA community and the entire Commonwealth are denied any kind of accountability separate and apart from the shooter’s actions,” she said.
The University says it did take the following steps to increase the handling of public safety threats and emergencies:
- Expanding the full-time, dedicated resources and capacity of the UVA Threat Assessment Team.
- Revising policy to require immediate notice to University Police Department of a firearm on Grounds.
- Results of a UPD review will be reported to the assessment team within 24 hours.
- Instituting new guidance on reporting to the assessment team or police matters deemed to have a potential risk of violence.
- Adjusting case-management practices to strengthen UVA’s ability to triage student cases more efficiently and comprehensively.
- Revising policies and procedures related to sharing sensitive information between units that provide services to students in need, public safety units and other university officials.
- Automatically enrolling students, faculty and staff in UVA Alerts text messages so all community members receive timely information in an emergency.
- Adding staffing for mental health counseling and psychiatric services for faculty, staff and students, including telehealth services and in-person staff.
- Improving and expanding telehealth therapy options for those affected by violent acts through UVA Student Health and Wellness in partnership with TimelyCare.
- Broadening leave-of-absence policies to provide more flexibility on course enrollment and actions for students who are victims of violent crime.
- Expanding mental health outreach efforts through efforts of Student Health and Wellness.
- Creating the Judicial Affairs unit to manage issues related to student conduct adjudication, including interim suspensions, arrest disclosures, hazing investigations and Title IX appeals.
- Forming a new Community Safety Working Group with Charlottesville and Albemarle County to identify gun violence reduction solutions, leverage resources and services.
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