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Video: Fairfax County Board Chair In “State of Shock” Over Commonwealth’s Attorney Presentation Asking For Massive Increase in Resources

C.A. Steve Descano argues that "resource shortage" leaves "no time for justice" in Fairfax

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See below for video of yesterday’s Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Public Safety Committee, during which Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano presented his request for a significant increase in resources to his office. As you can see from Descano’s slides, he argued:

  • His office is “facing a crisis,” “doesn’t have the resources it needs to do its work,” and the result is a “broken system” in which “potentially innocent defendants [are] going to jail,” and “victims [are] not receiving justice.”
  • That the Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office “has one of the lowest total budgets” compared to “immediate neighbors” and to “the largest jurisdictions in Virginia,” and that per capita support for the Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office is by far the lowest among major Virginia jurisdictions, something Descano calls “disturbing.”
  • That “Fairfax County’s prosecutors office has not grown in the past half century to keep pace with its growing workload.”
  • That the result of all this “resource shortage” is “no time for justice,” and that the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office needs a massive boost — 15 new positions in “carry over” and 137 new positions total by next year “to fix a broken system and bring Fairfax County in line with the services our community expects.”

In response, Fairfax County Chair Jeff McKay said that the Board was in “a little bit of a state of shock,” that the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office is “50% larger today that it was 10 years ago,” and that Descano’s request would increase the budget “in one action by 40%,” something he called “unprecedented” during “carry over.” McKay added that “we’re not going to be able to respond to [this] in an emergency way,” that Fairfax needs “a coordinated plan” to deal with this situation, referred to a “constrained fiscal environment” due to COVID-19.