My time as a prosecutor taught me that the one thing victims of violent crimes are desperate for is not to be forgotten.
Unfortunately, Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano and so many of today’s “social justice” prosecutors have forgotten our victims.
In Fairfax County, a defendant was charged with repeatedly raping and molesting a 5-year-old child and was eligible for a life sentence. Instead of demanding this life sentence, Descano arbitrarily reduced the charges and reached a plea deal, against the wishes of the victim’s family.
Descano felt that a life sentence was too harsh for a child rapist. The convicted felon in question is eligible for geriatric parole in 10 years.
Unlike Descano, I believe that those who commit heinous crimes against children deserve to be prosecuted to the fullest extent allowed under the law. Descano’s actions were so far beyond the pale that the judge told the victim’s family their “government has failed them.”
While far-left prosecutors may celebrate these actions as “progress,” I do not.
Telling law enforcement not to investigate certain crimes is not progress. Reducing a child rapist’s sentence against the victim’s wishes is not progress. Allowing children to be sexually victimized and then hiding it from the authorities is also not progress. Allowing violent felons out of prison early so that they can reoffend is not progress.
One of the government’s problems is the assumption that good intentions guarantee good results. The same liberal policies that led to the doubling of the murder rate in Fairfax since Descano took office are not “progress,” no matter how he justifies his naïve approach to prosecuting violent criminals.
Virginia is in the middle of a public safety crisis. That’s why Virginians elected pro-law enforcement statewide officials, to end the criminal-first, victim-last policies that have led to Virginia’s highest murder rate in decades.
As Virginia’s new attorney general, I want to restore accountability to the process and faith that prosecutors will do the jobs they were elected to do.
When an elected commonwealth’s attorney publicly states that he will not prosecute a crime, citizens should have a backup plan to ensure that victims get their day in court. I will work with law enforcement officials to prosecute criminals when commonwealth’s attorneys make pre-determined decisions not to prosecute particular types of violent crimes.
As attorney general, I will work on legislation inviting the attorney general to prosecute child rape and violent crime cases whenever a local prosecutor like Descano refuses to prosecute.
That’s not taking power away from elected officials but making sure that justice is served to the worst of the worst in our commonwealth, even when an elected local prosecutor decides not to do his job.
Virginia’s truth-in-sentencing, tough-on-violent-crime policies made our citizens safer. Now, without them, we’ve seen the dramatic impact that the far Left liberal pro-criminal mentality has had. Our crime rate skyrocketed, our murder rate is the highest it’s been in two decades, courthouses are backlogged, and law enforcement is understaffed. There appears to be a sentiment that “anything goes,” that there are no consequences to breaking the law.
The criminal justice “reforms” that have gutted Virginia’s public safety were not arrived at through “a painstaking and delicate process.” They were jammed down our throats over Zoom with limited public participation, using the pandemic as a distraction. We are now experiencing the consequences — just look at the Loudoun County’s schools, which apparently consider themselves above reporting sexual assaults to law enforcement.
As the attorney general-elect, I am proud to be supported by law enforcement officers across the commonwealth. They put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe, and attacking those brave men and women, calling them extremists, shows just how out of touch and radical some far-left prosecutors are.
On Jan. 15, I will work tirelessly to protect and defend every single Virginian and uphold the Constitution. My mission is to work with law enforcement to ensure they can do their jobs at the highest standard and bring a focus, a priority, back to the victims who have been ignored, brushed over, and forgotten by far-left prosecutors.
Jason Miyares, a Republican, is the attorney general-elect of Virginia. This Op-Ed originally appeared in the Washington Examiner.