Commission Members

The Virginia Indigent Defense Commission was established in 2004 replacing the original Public Defender Commission. This change was made after a number of studies on indigent defense in Virginia. Of the many changes that were made, the two most significant were the creation of the standard of practice for court-appointed counsel and the requirement that anyone representing someone in a court-appointed case undergo training and be certified.

Membership of the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission is established by Code of Virginia § 19.2-163.02.

Current Members by Statute:

The Chairman of the House Committee for Courts of Justice or his designee and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary or his designee who shall be members of the Courts of Justice committees;

  • Delegate Katrina Callsen
  • Senator R. Creigh Deeds

Chairman of the Virginia State Crime Commission (or Designee);

  • Charniele Herring

Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court (or Designee);

  • Karl R. Hade

Two (2) Attorneys Designated by Virginia State Bar;

  • Aaron L. Cook
  • Carolyn Grady VIDC Chairman

Two (2) Persons Appointed by the Governor;

  • Kristi Wooten
  • Sebastiano Mario Lorello

Three (3) Persons Appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates;

  • Guy W. Horsley, Jr.
  • Michael N. Herring
  • Steve Mutnick

and Three (3) Persons Appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules.

  • Steven D. Benjamin
  • Artisha Gregg
  • Manuel E. Leiva


Per statute, the Commission shall elect a chairman and a vice-chairman from among its membership annually. The chairman or his designee shall preside at all regular and called meetings of the Commission and shall have no additional duties or authority unless set by statute or by resolution of the Commission and annually confirmed by the Commission. A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum.  The Commission shall meet at least four times each year. The meetings of the Commission shall be held at the call of the chairman or whenever three of the members so request.