CIRCUIT COURT OF THE CITY OF RICHMOND
Cornelius M. James, et al
Division of Consolidated Services
Case No. LT 2443-2
February 18, 1992
By Judge Robert L. Harris, Sr.
On January 13, 1992, Mr. James forwarded correspondence to the
court. He stated that the case was mature for a hearing, and
requested that the case be placed on the next available docket. I
have reviewed the pleadings, and shall rule on the Demurrer and
Motion to Strike without oral argument.
Defendant has filed a demurrer to the Petition for Writ of
Mandamus. The first ground for demurrer raised is a misjoinder. Mr.
James and Mr. Robinson each made separate requests for copies of
forensic records in specified files. Mr. Jones requested the
information from FS LAB #86-05361, 86-03104, and 86-0345. Mr.
Robinson requested information from FS LAB #80-1737 and
There has been a misjoinder of plaintiffs, as each plaintiff is
interested in securing different information. Plaintiffs are not
interested in the same subject matter. Virginia Code section
8.01-5(A) states as follows:
No action or suit shall abate or be defeated by the nonjoinder
or misjoinder of parties, plaintiff or defendant, but whenever such
nonjoinder or misjoinder shall be made to appear by affidavit or
otherwise, new parties may be added and parties misjoined may be
dropped by order of the court at any time as the ends of justice
In the case before the court, it is impossible to determine
which plaintiff was misjoined as plaintiff's causes of action are
entirely separate. As this matter shall be dismissed for the
substantive reasons discussed below, it is unnecessary to determine
which party should be dropped from the suit.
The second ground put forth in the demurrer, is the information
requested by plaintiffs is excluded from the Freedom of Information
Act. Defendant argues that the information requested by plaintiffs
may be disclosed by the custodian at his discretion. A review of
Virginia section 2.1-342(B)(1) substantiates defendant's argument.
section 2.1-342(B)(1) excludes from the Freedom of Information Act
evidence related to a criminal investigation. The information may
be disclosed by the custodian at his discretion. A Writ of Mandamus
shall not be granted to compel the performance of a discretionary
Virginia section 2.1-434.11 does not apply to the instant case.
This statute provides that persons accused of a crime, or such
person's attorney, shall upon request receive the results of any
criminal investigation. The court is inclined to interpret
"accused" as a person not yet convicted of an offense. This statute
would enable such an accused person to prepare for his or her
In the matter before the court, plaintiffs have no criminal
charge pending. The information is not needed to prepare for a
criminal defense. Plaintiffs are not accused within the meaning of
the statute. To decide otherwise would prove burdensome to
defendant, as it would be compelled to provide copies of its
records for every person making a post conviction request.
The above ruling are reflected in the enclosed order dismissing