What is Going On?

Can someone from Northern Virginia please tell me what is going on when almost a million dollars is being raised in each of two primary contests for Commonwealth’s Attorney?  I can understand the money being raised, as reported by VPAP, in the primary for chairman of the Fairfax Board of Supervisors.  That is a political position and there are four candidates.  But, the money being raised for Commonwealth’s Attorney, a supposedly nonpolitical position, with only two candidates in each election, is astounding.

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13 responses to “What is Going On?

  1. Arlington’s race has the stench of George Soros all around it …


    My assumption is that the Commonwealth’s Attorney could be a firewall against an Alabama – like anti-abortion bill in Virginia. If such a bill was ever to pass and be signed into law (extremely unlikely) then the Commonwealth’s Attorney could declare that the bill was unconstitutional and refuse to enforce the criminal penalties against abortion doctors.

    • A Commonwealth’s Attorney could not declare a bill unconstitutional and refuse to enforce criminal penalties. However, he/she always has the discretion to prosecute or not prosecute, for various reasons, persons arrested for committing a crime.

  2. First, look at the huge size of the county wide electorate in both of those. Second, they have become so blue that the primary is the election, with November meaningless. Third, what Don says – a growing attitude that the way to override the General Assembly is to elect prosecutors who ignore the law. The question is coming up some places – if VA passed an Alabama style law, with criminal penalties for physicians, would you enforce it? The same question could come up with marijuana prosecutions or other laws that Jim’s favorite Social Justice Warriors feel are unfair to the downtrodden. Prosecutorial Nullification.

    But mainly, see one and two.

    In what universe are those jobs non-political, Dick? I mean, how blind can you be? Byrd Machine? Those courthouse jobs have been key in Virginia partisan politics since the beginning. Should they still be elected? Debatable, but for now they are.

    • “Second, they have become so blue that the primary is the election, with November meaningless … a growing attitude that the way to override the General Assembly is to elect prosecutors who ignore the law.”

      Goodby America.

    • I am certainly aware of the Byrd machine and courthouse politics. Both my father and uncle were deputy and then clerks of court. Bill Tuck grew up not far from where I grew up and was a friend of my father and grandfather. But the Byrd Machine has mostly disappeared. There may be some remnants in rural counties, but certainly not in Fairfax and Arlington, if it ever was a viable presence there.

      As for the Commonwealth’s Attorney, certainly in the Byrd years, that position was a stepping stone. Several governors from that era started out as Commonwealth’s Attorneys. But, again, that is no longer true. Occasionally, there will be a contested race based on policy, primarily whether one is tough enough on crime.

      Most political fights at the local level involve development and taxes and the Commonwealth’s Attorney is not involved in those issues. That is what I meant by that office being a nonpolitical position.

      Reading the link provided by Don (thank you, Don), it seems that the race in Arlington is one the Soros people have targeted as part of their campaign for criminal justice reform. I am surprised that there is that much difference between the two candidates in Arlington. My feeling is that the Soros money could have made a more substantive difference in another part of the state.

      I had not thought of the bulwark-against-abortion prohibition issue. It is true that one of the major decision points in the criminal justice system is the decision by the Commonwealth Attorney’s office whether to prosecute. This discretion is exercised frequently and how it is exercised may become political. Is there a difference between the candidates on this issue?

      • Maybe Soros has read V.O. Key, too.

        At first I was thinking that was Fairfax and Loudoun. But after my first comment I realized that is an outrageous amount of money for Arlington. Clearly somebody cares about something other than picking a fair and competent prosecutor. There is more to the agenda.

  3. Oh geeze. If the conservatives we’re in charge of NOVA, Va would be like RoVa…..

  4. It’s insurgency, Dick. Stamos and Morrogh are long-timers with solid but dated track records. My sense is they have many loyal supporters after all those years and large new-generation factions in both counties that see them as VOG – very old guard – and wish to see them replaced. Why? Well, as one friend related to me, her son with bipolar disorder and repeated incidents was thrown in jail, then charges were dropped on condition that he was sent to a group home where he was harrassed, when what she needed for him was another round of treatment; Stamos took the unsympathetic hard line there and brushed her off. I saw this as simply another case of limited County resources and staff strained by the numbers; she took it personally; but after enough time and enough such experiences there is polarization out there about the incumbents. Both sides are well organized and have credible candidates. Is it any surprise the money has resulted?

    • Credible candidates? DesCano says he will not prosecute crimes that he thinks should not be prosecuted, including marijuana possession. While I think legal reform should come in this area, the state supreme court just said a prosecutor cannot unilaterally dismiss these cases. A prosecutor is not with the power to decide what laws shall be enforced and what laws will not. It’s usurping the authority of the General Assembly.

      • This is the absolute worse kind of law breaking. Criminal conduct of worst kind, this public refusal by a law enforcement officer to enforce laws he is duty bound to enforce on taking office, corrupts all and everyone it touches. These deeply corrupt acts poisons society, rendering it lawless, unless and until evil doers are swiftly confronted and brought to justice.

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