About

Introduction

Virginia Decoded is a private, non-governmental, non-partisan implementation of The State Decoded, an open source project that provides a platform to display state-level legal information in a friendly, accessible, modern fashion. Virginia is the first state to deploy the software.

Beta Testing

Virginia Decoded is currently in beta, which is to say that the site is under active development, with known shortcomings, but it has reached a point where it would benefit from being used by the general public (who one hopes will likewise benefit from it.) While every effort is made to ensure that the data provided on Virginia Decoded is accurate and up-to-date, it would be gravely unwise to rely on it for any matter of importance while it is in this beta testing phase.

Many more features are under development, including calculations of the importance of given laws, inclusion of attorneys general’s opinions, Supreme Court of Virginia rulings, extensive explanatory text, social media integration, significant navigation enhancements, a vastly expanded built-in glossary of legal terms, scholarly article citations, and much more.

Data Sources

The information that makes up Virginia Decoded comes entirely from public sources. All of the sections of the code are straight from the Virginia Code Commission, who provides SGML of the Code (via LexisNexis). Legislative data is from Richmond Sunlight. Court decisions are scraped from the Court of Appeals’ decisions webpage. Term definitions are from within the state code itself. Throughout the site, links are provided to original data sources, whenever possible.

API

The site has a RESTful, JSON-based API. Register for an API key and read the documentation for details.

Thanks

Virginia Decoded wouldn’t be possible without the contributions of the many dozens of people who participated in private alpha and beta testing of the site over the course of a year and a half, beginning in 2010. Specific thanks must be extended to John Athayde, James Alcorn, Josh Baugher, Clarissa Berry, Mark Blacknell, Jane Chaffin, Aneesh Chopra, Jeff Cornejo, Hawkins Dale, Lucy Dalglish, Max Fenton, Larry Gross, Alex Gulotta, Jay Landis, John Loy, Tom Moncure, Vivian Paige, David Poole, Megan Rhyne, and the good people of the Virginia Code Commission. This platform on which this site is based, The State Decoded, was expanded to function beyond Virginia thanks to a generous grant by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Colophon

Hosted on CentOS, driven by Apache, MySQL, and PHP. Hosting by Slicehost (Rackspace). Search by Solr. Comments by Disqus.

Disclaimer

This is not an official copy of the Code of Virginia. It is in no way authorized by the State of Virginia. No information that is found on Virginia Decoded constitutes legal advice on any subject matter. Do not take action (or fail to take action) on a legal matter without consulting proper legal counsel. The contents of this website are provided as-is, with no warranty of any kind, including merchantability, non-infringement, or fitness for a particular purpose. This website is not your lawyer, and neither am I.