Office sought: Commonwealth's Attorney
Party Affiliation: Independent
Elected Commonwealth's Attorney in 1996
Education: Bachelor of Arts (B.A) Business Administration, Masters Degree in Business Administration (M.B.A )Business, Juris Doctor (J.D.)
ENDORSEMENTS: Endorsements have come from a wide range of county residents who have worked and contributed to this campaign, although I received political endorsements during the last two elections. I did not seek political endorsements this time. I believe the facts are over the last 8 years speak for themselves. Conviction rates for major felonies are extremely high. Public Safety transcends politics and politics do not play a role in this office.
Experience: Corporate experience with General Electric Corporation and I.B.M.
Private Practice as a partner with the firm of Moyes and Anderson
Commonwealth's Attorney for Loudoun County since 1996
1. Describe the top accomplishment of your last term.
This office demands jury trials for 1) Drug Distribution Cases, 2) Cases involving death or injury to a victim and 3) driving while Intoxicated cases (DWI) which are appealed from the lower courts. These are the facts: 1) Conviction rates are extremely high for major felony matters, 2) The Victim Witness Program in this office is second to none in the Commonwealth of Virginia, 3) This office is ranked #1 in the County in the area of employee motivation and morale and 4) the percentage of jury convictions as a result of jury trials in Loudoun County significantly exceeds the state average. Every aggravated manslaughter case involving DWI in this County in the last 12 months has resulted in a conviction with jury sentences ranging from 17 to 24 years in the penitentiary. This is the result of intense preparation starting with a presence by this office at the scene of every incident.
2. What are the top five problems facing your constituents and what approaches will you use to solve them?
Gangs: This element must be attacked in a certain way. I have worked with Congressman Frank Wolf to secure additional funding for the Top Gun Program, which teaches a theory of investigation/prosecution. Intense Communication, Coordination and Cooperation between this office and investigators will allow for more use of mob violence and conspiracy statutes in prosecuting not only the actors in a stabbing/beating/shooting but for the prosecution of behind the scene facilitators as well. Each incident then provides an opportunity to weaken the gang organization.
Continuity: This office prosecutes cases from 7 Loudoun County police agencies: 57% from the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office, 23% from Leesburg Police, 8% each from Dulles Airport and the Virginia State Police, with the remainder from the Towns of Middleburg, Purcellville and the Game Commission. This office has 2 investigators with over 50 years of police experience between them. It is important that they are paged to major crime scenes not only to provide continuity but to provide guidance and exchange of ideas. No one person at a crime scene has all of the answers.
Large Criminal Dockets: The large increase in population has produced a very large criminal docket which has increased both in numbers of cases and case violence. Over the last 2 terms this office has handled close to 30 murder/manslaughter cases with convictions in every case but two. We have addressed the problem of large case increases by implementing a policy which stresses trial preparation. Various pager response teams in the office are on call 24/7 to respond to a major crime scene for counsel, discussion of strategy and to view the scene. This has produced results the latest of which was life sentence. Virginia is a "no parole" state, therefore life means life.
Victims and Witnesses': Large criminal dockets produce a large number of victims and witnesses. The Victim Witness Program in Loudoun works within the Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney. We have organized that office such that is has been described as being the best in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Burn Out: This office deals with a high volume of incidents resulting in human tragedy and trauma. Working in such an environment requires a high degree of professionalism by everyone in this office. I have the privilege of working with people who function at a high level of professionalism and who are also good people. When working with people at that level sometimes it is necessary to give them the tools and not attempt to micromanage. In other words don't interfere or second-guess decisions. As a result, this department has been ranked #1 in the County in the area of employee motivation and morale. I am very proud of that accomplishment.
3. What qualities, qualifications and characteristics will you bring to this office?
Education, Experience, Integrity, Character and Justice. The most important is integrity because if that is lacking the other traits are less important. This is why I believe that Public Safety transcends politics because any overlapping or appearance of overlapping of these two elements produces a loss of integrity and trust in the office.
4. How will voters best distinguish between you and your opponent(s)?
I have managed over 10,000 felony files and have tried or been involved in all murder cases tried in this County over the last 8 years. I have implemented a charging policy, which provides flexibility throughout the life of a felony case. This policy has produced high conviction rates in all cases. Any suggestion the contrary is not correct and not supported by the record.
Comparing 1,000 bench trials in a traffic or misdemeanor Court with a high volume of felony matters is not a valid comparison. Loudoun County is now experiencing close to 50,000 of these traffic/misdemeanor cases in one year alone.
Politics do not play a role in this office. I ran as part of the Republican Committee ticket for the last two elections. I could have continued with that Committee and been unopposed for a third term. I decided to step back from that committee because I believed the politics had become too intense, to personal and too emotional. The Commonwealth's Attorney is a public safety position which can not be influenced or have the appearance of being influenced by such actions
5. Describe the current operations and staffing of the Commonwealth's Attorney's office. Is it sufficient for fulfilling its mission to prosecute criminal charges in the county? If not, what is needed and at what cost?
This office is composed of trial attorneys, staff support professionals, victim witness case management professionals and case investigator professionals. Budget increases are requested commensurate with case and docket demands.
6. What are your top three goals for the Commonwealth's Attorney Office?
This office needs intense Communication, Coordination and Cooperation at the highest levels of all 7 police agencies that bring criminal cases to the office.
7. Describe the role of the Loudoun County Victim Witness Office. What is
its current cost? How could it be improved?
The Victim/Witness office provides services to victims and witnesses of crimes from case origination to case resolution and beyond. Case Managers are on a page call 24/7 to respond and assist at a crime scene. Among the services which are provided include counseling, assistance in facilitating medical exams, resource referrals, and facilitating compensation for Victim Witness damages or costs incurred. The total Budgetary needs for this office which is part of the Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney is near $385,000. This office is one of the best Victim Witness programs in the State.
8. How difficult is it to recruit prosecutors? What is the ideal background for such recruits?
It is not difficult to recruit prosecutors for this office. I am amazed at the level of intelligence and talent of the young people coming into this office. The hiring pattern has involved lawyer/interns working for little or no compensation over a period of time waiting for a position to open. Recent hiring events have gone that route and every one of those trial attorneys have been exceptional.
9. Explain the current relationship between the Commonwealth's Attorney and the Sheriff's Office. How are the two agencies supposed to interact? In what ways can it be improved?
The office of the Sheriff is one of 7 police agencies which bring cases to this office. A high level of communication, coordination and cooperation is absolutely necessary at all levels within the agency to insure maximum effectiveness in the courtroom.