Virginia’s Political Class as Criminal Class


Del. Richard L. Morris, R-Suffolk, has been charged with 14 counts of violence against members of his household, including offenses of cruelty and injuries toward a minor, as well as assault and battery against a female relative, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Three of the charges stemmed from allegations that Morris had physically assaulted a boy relative Sept. 16, causing “injuries consistent with excessive physical discipline.” Suffolk police made contact with the boy, writes the T-D, after receiving a complaint from Child Protective Services. Additional charges arose from an alleged assault last year on an adult woman in the Morris household. The alleged victims were not identified by name or relation.

Morris is married and has nine children. Ironically, according to Morris’s website biography, he is treasurer and finance director of the Southeastern Hampton Roads CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), “a group of volunteers that represent abused and neglected children in court and advocates for their needs.”

I’m guessing these charges will make it hard for Morris to run on a family values platform.


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14 responses to “Virginia’s Political Class as Criminal Class”

  1. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    Dear Jim,

    With all due respect to you, I do not consider the headline you gave this piece appropriate. One cannot infer from one case, one that has not even gone to Court, that Virginia’s political class is criminal. Or at the very least give other examples for such a sweeping indictment of Virginia’s leaders. Even so, it is still not a responsible statement to make. Surely you can do better.



    1. Fair enough. I went overboard.

  2. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    The issue is particular to Del. Richard L. Morris, just as earlier it was particular to Delegate Joseph Morrissey. Morris should resign in any event.

  3. LarrytheG Avatar

    I do remember this phrase: ” “Which office do I go to get my reputation back?”

    but then again I remember others:

    “I am not a crook.”

    “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

    “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,”

    “Read my lips: no new taxes”

    ” I was out of the loop”

    and a few others.

  4. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    How about this one: innocent until proven guilty. Anybody remember that?

    1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

      Steve, there is a difference between being innocent until proven guilty and being a public official charged with violations – that is unless your last name is Clinton. We deserve better than Morris and Morrissey. And it’s why despite having his conviction overturned because of error on the part of the judge, we don’t need Bob McDonnell running for office again. Unless it can be shown that the charges are truly ginned up, elected officials charged with a crime after probable cause is shown should resign – period.

    2. LarrytheG Avatar

      unlike TMT -I agree with Steve. When we start convicting folks because we don’t like them – we’re done as a country.

      But I suspect for a lot of folks – if you are charged with a felony – your employer may well have some concerns…. depending on what you’re accused of.

      I imagine even at SCHEV if you were accused of murder or rape or something like that – it would be hard to continue in a normal employment status – no?

      and in a politicians case – the “employers” are the voters….

      1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

        Steve & Larry’s comments caused me to do a little research and reading. The Congressional Research Office prepared a paper in 2014 that addressed the status of a member of Congress who is either indicted or convicted. Unless and until there is a conviction, there are no rules or statutes that require an indicted member to resign. However, any committee chairman, ranking member or member of the leadership must give up that position pending trial. I haven’t researched Virginia law.

        Using the federal research as a guide, I change my vote to that of Larry & Steve. There is no reason for the criminally charged representative to resign from the GA unless and until convicted.

  5. For the record, I used the word “alleged” three times to make it clear that these are charges only.

  6. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    Not in the headline. These are both serious and truly disgusting allegations, but at this point he hasn’t even been arraigned. It also is clearly a domestic situation and details are lacking. Let’s see what evidence or testimony is produced under oath in court before demanding a resignation.

  7. Actually in defense of JB, I saw a lot of fact based statements. I saw alleged a lot too.

  8. LarrytheG Avatar

    well apparently – his fellow legislators have also “convicted” him:

    ” Va. House leaders call for resignation of delegate charged with assaulting relatives”

  9. Nobody cried “innocent until proven guilty” when NFL player Ray Rice was caught on videotape assaulting his then fiancee (now Wife). He was immediately dropped by the Baltimore Ravens. Nobody cried “innocent until proven guilty” when Adrian Peterson was charged with excessively beating his 4 year old son. He was immediately suspended.

    Both men ultimately plead to lesser offenses while admitting their wrongdoing.

    If it’s wrong for people to call for Rick Morris’ resignation based on allegations was it also wrong for the NFL to suspend Peterson and Rice before any court found either of them guilty of anything?

    Was it wrong for Teresa Sullivan to shut down all fraternity and sorority social events in the wake of the Rolling Stone article / hoax?

    I actually agree with the NFL and Teresa Sullivan. When significant allegations are made that affect the reputation of a public figure or organization the accused should be temporarily removed from their positions while the matter is investigated.

    Rick Morris should stand down from his official duties while the investigation is conducted. The investigating authorities should be sensitive to the situation and commit all necessary resources required to come to a speedy decision on the merits of the allegations.

  10. LarrytheG Avatar

    It’s another one of those misconceptions in the difference between the law itself actually works and society…. which has no such rules other than the belief by some that society should follow the “spirit” of the law that the accused be held harmless in all aspects until the legal verdict is arrived at.

    No such thing in reality – and what’s really changed is how fast and how wide an allegation can travel in the internet age – and in turn – the judgement of a bunch of folks… and in politics these days – certain kinds of taint will be dealt with early on – even if unfair – because the party does not want any of it to reflect on them.

    On the other hand – if you’re telling the Chef to steal food and equipment from the Kitchen and the like – folks will defend you to the hilt. Go figure.

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