By Kindler (please check out my Substack)
Renowned criminal justice reporter Radley Balko recently posted a brutal, detailed takedown of Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares for the ways in which he has abused the public trust and sacrificed the freedom of innocent people in order to raise his political profile – taking every opportunity to demagogue on Fox and other right-wing outlets. I encourage every Virginia voter and political actor to read this piece to understand both the depths of Miyares’ cynicism and the human costs of his actions.
Balko focuses particularly on Miyares’ disbanding of the AG Office’s Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU), “the office charged with investigating and rectifying wrongful convictions,” and firing of all of its employees. As the author notes:
“[A]t risk of stating the obvious, there’s nothing ‘law and order’ about remaining willfully ignorant of wrongful convictions. Leaving people in prison for crimes they didn’t commit is not only unjust and unfair, it’s an assault on the rule of law. It often also means perpetrators go unpunished — or remain free to commit other crimes…
’I think he did it because he has a simplistic, binary view of the justice system,’ one public defender told me. ‘He just thinks more people behind bars is good, and fewer people behind bars is bad.’”
Imagine having a loved one stuck in jail for years for a crime they didn’t commit while a public official with the power to investigate their case and free them refuses to do so just so he can go around bragging about being “tough on crime.” Simply inhuman behavior.
As Balko details, Miyares replaced the CIU with a new office whose obvious mission is “raising the attorney general’s profile by waging culture war battles.” His targeting of Loudoun County School officials is a prime example. By claiming that a boy at a county school who attacked a girl in the girls’ restroom was trans (he wasn’t), Miyares and Governor Youngkin were able to gain much right wing cred by making an example of the school systems’ policy of being accepting of LGBTQ students.
Ultimately, Miyares’ cases on this issue have crumbled like the driest of cookies. One of the targeted school administrators was acquitted of a bogus charge of lying to a grand jury after just two hours of jury deliberation. Miyares himself had to eat crow and drop his libel case against the school superintendent due to the minor detail that he didn’t have any evidence to prove the charge.
Another topic on which his office has wasted gobs of taxpayer money and harassed innocent people is in investigating “voter fraud” which, as everyone who has examined the topic knows, is so miniscule as to be nearly non-existent in the U.S. But it’s a topic that Trump and the MAGA base love to talk about, so you can count on Miyares to milk the (non-) issue.
Bottom line: please read Balko’s unflinching piece on how awful Jason Miyares really is. The AG is on a predictable track to move ahead in right wing GOP politics and will almost certainly be a top candidate to replace Youngkin in the governor’s chair next year. So, it’s by no means too early to understand and spread the word about what a terrible job Miyares has done and why a promotion is the last thing that this man deserves.