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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
A group of Commonwealth’s Attorneys has released a letter to the General Assembly calling for more criminal justice reform. In the letter, the Virginia Progressive Prosecutors for Justice (VPPFJ) call for automated expungement of criminal records, ending mandatory minimum sentences, ending cash bail, abolishing the death penalty, and ending the “three-strikes” felony enhancement for petty larceny.Read More
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.Read More