Justice for All in Portsmouth
My mission as the Commonwealth’s Attorney is to increase justice in Portsmouth and and to make our community safe for all residents consistent with our laws and the constitutions of Virginia and the United States.
The status quo in our city is far from satisfactory – there is both too much crime AND too many of our citizens in jail and prison. Unnecessary incarceration wastes taxpayer dollars, damages families, divides communities, and does not reduce but can even increase crime. We can and must do better and I am committed to doing so. I plan to build on the progress of the past two and a half years (please see Achievements
) by instituting even more improvements in our office’s practices and supporting changes to our laws that achieve both safety and justice.
I commit to working together with everyone in Portsmouth to achieve:
- Fair and diligent prosecution and appropriate punishment;
- Heightened community engagement;
- Lower incarceration;
- Greater success in re-entry and reduced recidivism
To accomplish this, I pledge to:
- Free up prosecutorial resources to combat the most harmful crimes by materially reducing prosecution of nonviolent minor behavioral offenses.
- Find ways to lower the overall rate of incarceration in favor of other means of achieving justice and safety.
- Ensure office prosecutors commit to working with law enforcement, defense attorneys and the court in an effort to reduce trial delays so that those charged spend less pre-trial time in costly jails.
- Create mechanisms for a second look at charging decisions, plea bargains and convictions, because the consequences of rare mistakes are life-altering.
- Advocate for the right of free association and peaceful expression of dissenting views.
- Hold elected officials and public employees accountable for any violations of the law while treating all parties fairly.
- Continue to focus on the fight against violent crime not only by working diligently to prosecute homicides and other violent crimes that happened during my administration, but also by continuing to prosecute those that were previously not charged but where concrete evidence exists.
- Advocate for appropriate reforms of cash bail to ensure that non-violent offenders are not being detained pre-trial based solely on inability to pay, consistent with protection of the community and victims at all times, and for reform of civil forfeiture of assets prior to conviction in fairness to all parties.
- Support raising the Virginia threshold for non-violent larceny related felony offenses which is the lowest in the nation. Our state’s threshold of two hundred dollars leads to excessive felony charges, especially for juveniles and the mentally ill. Regardless of the status of the felony threshold, I will at all times remain committed to victim’s rights and to advocating for full restitution to protect business owners and other victims of monetary crimes.