Miyares Wants Authority to Override Commonwealth’s Attorneys If Requested by Law Enforcement

Miyares holds press conference

Attorney general-elect Jason Miyares wants the General Assembly to authorize him to get involved in local prosecution if the top local law enforcement officer says the Commonwealth’s attorney isn’t doing their job. In a press conference Thursday, Miyares specifically called out progressive prosecutors in northern Virginia.

“Right now, the way it works is if a sitting Commonwealth’s attorney requests it, we can come in and prosecute a case on their behalf,” Miyares said. “We’re going to be seeking a legislative change, and the governor-elect Glenn Youngkin has already indicated that he would sign that into law.”

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Despite Soft-on-Crime Approach, Progressive Prosecutor Wanted to Throw Loudoun County Dad in Jail for Disorderly Conduct

A Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney, known for her soft-on-crime approach to prosecuting, reportedly want to throw Scott Smith in jail for two misdemeanors after he was arrested at a June 22 Loudoun County School Board (LCSB) meeting. 

Smith, who was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, was protesting anti-transgender bathroom policies in the Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS).

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Recall Effort Against Loudoun School Board Member Beth Barts Clears Initial Hurdles

Fight for Schools PAC had three minor wins in court this week in the effort to recall Loudoun County School Board Member Beth Barts. In a Tuesday hearing, the circuit court judge denied Barts’ motion to dismiss the recall petition, agreed to appoint a special prosecutor, and granted the PAC’s motion to intervene.

“Today was a very good day in court for Fight For Schools and a bad day for Beth Barts and her efforts to silence and criminalize parents in Loudoun County. Beth Barts tried to get all of the signatures that we have collected thrown out, the judge ruled against her and in our favor. The case will proceed,” Fight for Schools said on Facebook.

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Recall of Loudoun School Board Member Beth Barts Has Hearing Set for October

Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge Jeanette Irby declined Wednesday to recuse herself from the recall case of School Board Member Beth Barts. Barts’ attorney Charles King had motioned for local judges to recuse themselves, arguing that an outside judge is necessary to consider testimony from local officials. On Monday, Judge Stephen Sincavage said he would recuse himself, saying he has children in the school district, according to Loudoun Now.

“I am not recusing myself from this matter,” Irby said, according to The Loudoun Times-Mirror.

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Another Group Aims at Northern Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorneys for Recall

Another group is targeting northern Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorneys Buta Biberaj, from Loudoun, and Steve Descano, from Fairfax. This week, Virginians for Safe Communities (VSC) announced recall efforts against Biberaj and Descano, already the targets of a separate organization Stand Up Virginia (SUV). VSC is also targeting Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Deghani-Tafti, from Arlington and Falls Church.

“Northern Virginia deserves honest, hard-working, and effective Commonwealth’s Attorneys who seek accountability for criminals, protect our communities, and uphold the law without reservation or ideological blinders,” VSC President Sean Kennedy said in a press release.

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Northern Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorneys Seek Big Budget Increases

Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano’s (D) office is getting more funding, after the Board of Supervisors adopted a budget for 2022 on Tuesday, according to the Tysons Reporter. The budget includes $8 million for Descano’s office, about 27 percent more than $6.3 million for fiscal year 2021. But that’s far less than the $19.1 million budget Descano has said his office needs.

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Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Follows Through on Threat to Only Grant Small Budget Increase to Commonwealth’s Attorney

Buta Biberaj

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors has followed through on plans to grant Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj a smaller funding increase than requested. On April 6, the supervisors finalized the budget that only approves adding four positions for the office. Biberaj had asked for up to 12 new positions, but supervisors worried about high turnover within the office and said their constituents were complaining about Biberaj not taking enough domestic violence cases to trial, leaving women victim’s in danger.

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Loudoun Board of Supervisors Criticizes Commonwealth’s Attorney for Handling of Domestic Violence Cases

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors has decided to give Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj a smaller budget increase than requested amid concerns over high turnover in Biberaj’s office and her handling of domestic violence cases. In recent budget work sessions, supervisors cited a statistic that out of 735 cases, Biberaj’s office dismissed 491 cases. As an elected official, Biberaj herself is not under the authority of the board, but the county contributes a significant portion of her office’s budget.

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New Wave of Prosecutors Pushing to Ignore Sections of Law

Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill on Wednesday requiring judges to dismiss cases when both prosecutors and defense attorneys agree. The bill was born after Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Greg Underwood (D) announced that he would not be prosecuting misdemeanor marijuana cases, according to The Virginian-Pilot. The bill is an example of a national push to allow prosecutors discretion to ignore whole sections of law, according to Heritage Foundation Legal Fellow and former prosecutor Zack Smith.

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Eight Commonwealth’s Attorneys Pledge to Not Enforce Pro-Life Laws

Eight Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorneys pledged that they will not enforce any laws criminalizing abortions. The pledge was signed by over 60 prosecutors and state attorneys general and expresses concern over attempts to pass laws limiting abortion. The Fair and Just Prosecution (FJP) organization published the pledge on October 14, as Congress holds confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

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