Show off your holiday lights and you could win an iPad! Enter your photo by December 13. Winner will be selected by popular vote.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
As a career prosecutor, I was disturbed, although not surprised, to see The Roanoke Times ignore the facts and join the chorus calling for sentencing reform, by which it means: leaving repeat offenders on our streets to the detriment of law-abiding citizens (“The high toll for ‘tough on crime,’ ” Aug. 29 editorial).
This is part of a recent nationwide effort to characterize criminals as victims of the system and to ignore the real victims of crime.
I frequently hear complaints from my constituents wanting to know why the criminal who broke into their house, stole from their small business or sold drugs on their street corner was sentenced to little or no period of incarceration.
Under our current sentencing guidelines, we are often faced with the absurdity of a recommended sentence of probation as a punishment for violation of probation.
It is unclear what the editors mean when they talk of re-examining mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders. I would certainly agree that a minimum sentence of 20 days in jail for a repeat drunken driver or 60 days for repeatedly ignoring a protective order in a domestic violence case needs to be re-examined.
I suggest that our legislators’ increasing reliance on mandatory sentences is not, as your paper argues, so they do not appear soft on crime, but instead is a reaction to the public perception that some judges, and in particular the current Virginia sentencing guidelines, give criminals repeated chances at rehabilitation at the expense of public safety.
I am proud to serve as one of 120 elected commonwealth’s attorneys in Virginia. We would welcome a debate on reforming the state’s criminal justice laws. As a starting point, any reform must focus on protecting our communities, meeting the needs of victims and holding offenders responsible for their actions.
Weather JournalPossible scrape with snow Tues