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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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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Commonwealth’s Attorney Deghani-Tafti Partners with Vera Institute of Justice

The Vera Institute of Justice announced that Arlington County and Falls Church Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti and St. Louis, Missouri Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner would be the first of ten new prosecutors in a program designed to provide support and training to cut criminal justice racial disparity by 20 percent.

“The Vera Institute of Justice will provide assistance with data analysis, staff training, community engagement, and policy support to expand the offices’ understanding of the criminal legal system’s history of racial injustice and guide them on a path toward a more equitable future,” a Vera Institute press release states.

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Arlington Prosecutor Deghani-Tafti Battles to Not Prosecute Marijuana Possession Violations

Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Deghani-Tafti is in an unusual battle for a prosecutor — she’s fighting for a lower penalty to be imposed on a defendant alleged to have been transporting 50 pounds of marijuana at the Reagan National Airport. According to reporting by the Washington Post, Judge Daniel Fiore II refused to accept a plea deal arranged by Deghani-Tafti, a move that also forced Fiore to recuse himself from further involvement in the case. Now, Deghani-Tafti is arguing to have the original deal applied — one that would give the defendant probation with a possibility of having his felony charges purged.

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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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