ARE THESE QUESTIONS YOU WOULD LIKE THE CANDIDATES TO ANSWER? QUESTIONS FOR THE COMMONWEALTH’S ATTORNEY

Here are the questions we sent to the candidates running to serve as Prince William County’s Commonwealth’s Attorney. Note that the form (Commonwealth’s Attorney Survey, General Election) allows three answers: support, oppose, or undecided. When candidates respond, most insert a few comments in their replies to our questionnaire. We post the complete response, including comments, online. Unfortunately, due to space limitations, we cannot include comments in our voter guides. So we strive to avoid ambiguity.

  1. In our local justice system, there is rampant racial discrimination.
  2. The judicial system should make greater use of dockets that focus on certain types of offenses and/or offenders, such as “drug courts” “veterans’ dockets” or “mental health dockets.”
  3. The death penalty should be extraordinarily rare and reserved for crimes so egregious that life without parole would not do justice to victims and their families.
  4. In our local justice system, there is over-incarceration in prisons and jails.
  5. Limit the use of cash bonds and instead employ other methods of supervising individuals considered a flight risk.
  6. Disclose to defense counsel all evidence concerning the alleged crime, so long as there is no safety risk to witnesses whose identities would be disclosed.
  7. A police department should not be the lead investigative agency when one of its officers shoots someone.
  8. The police should be able to seize and sell assets of parties accused of a crime before they are found guilty.
  9. A commonwealth attorney should not threaten to charge a defendant with a crime with a higher penalty in order to persuade him/her to agree to plead guilty to the initial charges.
  10. Employees of the Commonwealth Attorney should be paid according to a classified pay schedule, rather than at whatever level the Commonwealth Attorney chooses.
  11. County cooperation with federal immigration enforcement under the 287(g) program has created a class too afraid to call upon police when they were victimized by crime.
  12. An aspirant to be a Commonwealth Attorney should have work experience as a criminal prosecutor.
  13. In most cases, do not prosecute non-violent, low level drug possession.
  14. Higher punishment for violent crimes is appropriate when the accused is a member of a gang.
  15. Building more jails and prisons is never the answer to rising crime rates.
  16. Avoid, when possible, branding a juvenile as a felon by diverting them away from the criminal justice system and providing services to them and their families.
  17. Establish a comprehensive non-discrimination policy in the office that includes sexual orientation and general identity, which are currently not protected under Virginia law.
  18. Endorse the McAuliffe order restoring voting rights to convicted felons who have served their time, without review of individual applications.

Neither of the two candidates has responded to the latest version of our questionnaire. When he was running in the primary, Mike May responded. However, we would appreciate a response to our updated questionnaire.

Why should you care? Read WOULD YOU BUY A PIG IN A POKE? — THE 2019 EDITION. If you care enough, please contact the candidates and ask them to respond to our questionnaire. Here is their contact information.

PWC Commonwealth’s Attorney

What’s our deadline? To get our voter guides printed and distributed in time, we must have candidate responses by October 11th. Otherwise, we will have to discern candidate positions as well as we can based upon their public statements.

When will we post the responses we have to our candidate questionnaires? We will post the responses when we start distributing our voter guides to local area churches.

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