Good review by Kenny Boddye of Wednesday’s Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney debate
I appreciate Prince William Times‘s coverage of Wednesday’s Commonwealth’s Attorney Debate.
At the same time, issues beyond 287(g) were discussed during the debate:
– The Republican candidate stated that during his time as Occoquan Supervisor, he supported the expansion of the Prince William-Manassas Regional Adult Detention Center. First a $2.1 million Phase I project, and now a $40 Million Phase II project. This came after he and his colleagues on the Board of Supervisors cut funding from schools, transportation and county services thousands of our county residents rely upon. We have found time after time that investments in prevention, education and other services are a better priority to public safety than expanding jails.
– This very same candidate indicated support of seeking the death penalty. In previous interviews, May has continued to dodge whether or not he would seek the death penalty more sparingly than our current Commonwealth’s Attorney. Our current Commonwealth’s Attorney has more death penalty sentences to his name than any other in Virginia.
– On the issue of cash bail, this very same candidate speaks about alternatives as he believes folks shouldn’t be incarcerated simply for being poor. When he was a Supervisor, he made little to no push for investment of local dollars into pre-trial services and local pre-trial monitoring programs. These are the types of programs that could be used as alternatives to cash bail.
– On marijuana possession, he rightfully pointed out that current law only allows full diversion on the first charge. He then went onto say that it’s up to the General Assembly to reform our laws surrounding repeated offenses. As a Supervisor, he never made it a point to include such reforms in the Board’s legislative agenda for our Richmond Delegation.
On issue after issue, we have a candidate for Commonwealth’s Attorney who had the opportunity to influence reform in the very same criminal justice system he now wants to be part of, but chose not to push for any of those changes when he had a chance to do so.
Finally, Amy Ashworth rightfully pointed out in her closing remarks that she is the only candidate of the two who has prosecutorial experience. She also has years of experience with special victims and has seen what needs to be changed from within the office she seeks to hold. That experience is invaluable; it will allow her to properly exercise her power as Commonwealth’s Attorney from day one, and provides her with the insight to show prosecutorial restraint and discretion as it is needed.
Amy is the clear choice for Commonwealth’s Attorney on November 5th.