An Oct. 8 letter to the editor (“Lunsford is the experienced pick,” The Daily Progress, online) omits and distorts key aspects of my professional record in an effort to elevate my opponent’s.
Like her predecessor, Denise Lunsford never prosecuted a criminal case in state or federal court when she first sought office. In contrast, I was a special assistant U.S. attorney from 2008-09 and 2009-12. In this post, I prosecuted cases (including those applying Virginia law) on matters including crimes against children, narcotics and firearms violations, assault, drunken driving, wire fraud, computer crimes, white-collar crimes, witness tampering and murder for hire.
The assertion that I was never compensated as a SAUSA is false. Not all SAUSA positions are unpaid, and I received compensation from the department when I was detailed from the Department of Justice in 2008.
Moreover, the work and sacrifice of unpaid SAUSAs must not be denigrated. Several assistant commonwealth’s attorneys made vital contributions to justice as unpaid SAUSAs during my time in that office; implying that their contributions are inferior demeans their sacrifice and that of others.
The writer next wrongly claims that my experience as deputy assistant attorney general and chief legislative counsel and parliamentarian to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee was “merely administrative.” I managed more attorneys in both positions than Ms. Lunsford now does, and these senior positions require uncommon legal acumen, analytical discipline and substantive expertise of criminal law and procedure.
While true that “we have a suspect in custody” charged with two murders, any effort to politicize the Matthew case or any other is inappropriate. As we know, Jesse Leroy Matthew was recently sentenced to three life terms without the possibility of parole by a Fairfax court. The commonwealth’s attorney has an obligation to seek fair and speedy justice in all cases before the office, and that will be my charge if elected to serve.
Finally, contrary to the writer’s claim, a prosecutor is measured by his or her commitment to justice, not by the number of cases tried. Among a prosecutor’s special obligations is “timely disclosure to the defense of all evidence or information known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused.”
I not only “possess a law license,” as the letter writer says, but also the experience and integrity to restore public confidence in the Albemarle commonwealth’s attorney’s office.