Criminal law

Commonwealth’s Attorney Candidates Spar Over Criminal Justice in Tysons

Different takes on the position of prosecutors in the justice device took a center level in rare combat for the Democratic endorsement for the commonwealth’s attorney function in Fairfax final week. While the applicants inside the Board of Supervisors chair race that observed agreed on maximum troubles, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Katherine Stott — status in for incumbent Raymond Morrogh who became out with bronchitis — and challenger Steve Descano sniped backward and forward continuously closing Friday (May 24) at Valo Park (7950 Jones Park Drive).

Descanso’s campaign is part of a broader push across Virginia from left-leaning applicants arguing prosecutors must take an active position in such things as functionally decriminalizing marijuana and removing coins bonds. “That’s the principal motive force of this campaign,” Descano stated. “Cash bonds turn this into a two-tier device of justice. Cash bail doesn’t do whatever however punish humans for being bad. What happens while we preserve humans in prison? Because they couldn’t pay method, they could lose their jobs or lose their residence. It drives up their recidivism price. We’re paying $225 a day to build more crime down the road. I will train my prosecutors. If there’s no chance of protection or flight, eliminate coin bonds.”

But Stott said Descano’s goals are pushed by using naivety. “[Descano] suggests his inexperience with the Virginia country gadget,” Stott said. “There are legislative code systems that define how coins bail is used and a judicial detail. In the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, we do not ask for a cash bond. Defendant appears earlier than a magistrate, which sets bond. If they’re held overnight, they see a decision day after today. So we don’t ask for cash bail.”


The combat is similar to a race in neighboring Arlington and ongoing warfare between the Norfolk commonwealth’s legal professional and neighborhood judges. They also clashed over capital punishment and marijuana enforcement — especially over whether or not the commonwealth’s lawyer’s workplace needs to determine an overarching coverage or address the instances, in my opinion. Descano said he might by no means pursue the demise penalty, even as Stott said the cases must be reviewed on a person foundation.
For small amounts of marijuana ownership wherein there may be no goal to distribute, Descano stated he would flow the court docket to brush aside the instances.

Stott said Morrogh supports decriminalization of marijuana but argued it’s not as much as the commonwealth’s legal professional to decide that. “Descanso’s reaction is some other instance of the way he crosses out of his lane,” Stott said. “[He says] that he’s a member of the govt branch and doesn’t need to put into effect the regulation from the legislative department. When you grow to be a commonwealth’s legal professional, you’re taking an oath to uphold the legal guidelines of the Commonwealth, and that’s a critical oath.”

The applicants also faced off on statewide issues regarding the application of justice, troubles that put Descano on the facet of defending the democratic established order. For example, Gov. Ralph Northam had vetoed a degree that would price drug sellers with 2d-degree homicide for opioid deaths. Descano argued the measure targeted fanciful drug kingpins whilst maximum opioids had been obtained from buddies who wouldn’t come forward to get assistance with their addiction if they can beat the hook for murder. But Stott argued it became naive to push aside that some humans and institutions profited from those deaths.

Morrogh had expressed competition to former Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s blanket restoration of rights to felons, and Stott argued the difficulty had been that restoring balloting rights had additionally restored gun rights, which enabled convicted MS-thirteen contributors to petition the court to get gun rights returned.
But Descano argued that Morrogh’s actual purpose for opposing the recuperation of voting rights become trying to preserve former inmates out of jury obligations and that the gun manages argument became a misdirect.

“If anyone thinks Terry McAuliffe — Mr. F rating from the NRA — made it easier for people to get admission to guns, I even have a bridge to sell you,” Descano said. “My opponent didn’t want them serving on juries. We know this turned into a vestige of Jim Crow. Anybody who knew anything approximately this knew this changed into approximately preserving humans of color from balloting.” One of the few topics Stott and Descano agreed on was transferring forward with the implementation of frame-worn cameras.

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