In today’s Cuccinelli Compass, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli reports on the General Assembly from a different perspective.
Dear Friends and Fellow Virginians,
I wanted to give you a short update on a few of my legislative plans after last week, which was the first full week of the General Assembly Session.
Writs of Actual Innocence
Last Wednesday I testified at a House Courts subcommittee meeting on Writs of Actual Innocence. The bill was approved by the subcommittee.
I’m supporting legislation to amend the actual innocence law to ensure Virginia has a formal judicial process to exonerate those who have been convicted but later evidence is discovered which could prove them innocent. This legislation does two important things:
- Changes the standard the defendant must satisfy to be exonerated/win exoneration. The concern is that the current law is so stringent that even people who are innocent may not be able to get relief. The standard should be difficult to meet, but not impossible.
- Formally allows the attorney general to provide the court with evidence of innocence not just guilt, which is the way the law is currently written.
My firm belief in erring on the side of innocence has often confounded those that try to pin me down as strictly partisan as evident by this article posted on Bacon’s Rebellion. I am very sensitive to the mistakes that are possible in our criminal justice system, and we have to be vigilant to preserve liberty and justice.
Restoration of Rights
Earlier last week I testified in front of both House and Senate subcommittees on restoring voting rights to some non-violent felons.
In my more than 10 years in Richmond as a State Senator and Attorney General, I’ve never seen a penalty for any crime come down – they only go up. We all want to be tough on crime, and I have done that as Attorney General, but for our criminal justice system we need to be seeking out the proper balance between offenses and punishments (also keeping in mind what all of this costs).
What it means to be a felon today is just not as high a threshold as what it used to be - either 20 years ago or 200 years ago. Stealing is wrong, but should you lose your voting rights for life for stealing $200? Be subject to a year in prison for stealing $200? That’s the state of the law in Virginia right now.
I stand alongside Governor McDonnell in fighting to restore the civil liberties to nonviolent felons that have served their time. Luckily, this legislation barely advanced through a Senate subcommittee. I’ll continue to keep working on this issue.
When I was elected attorney general, I made fighting human trafficking a priority. This crime is an egregious human rights violation, and it is happening right in our back yard.
If you missed my Op-Ed published in the Washington Times last week, please click here to read it.
This has been a problem for a long time, but appears to have been growing worse in recent years. One of the key things we’ve done in our office is train our law enforcement officials on how to identify victims of forced labor, sexual exploitation, or involuntary domestic servitude.
I’ve been working in all of these areas for many years. It’s part of why I have often confounded liberals. But, when you’re focused on advancing principle, you do things simply because you believe they’re right. Long before I decided to run for governor, was elected attorney general, and even before I chose to run for state Senate, I’ve fought based on principle.
I will continue to do the same if elected governor.
Ken Cuccinelli II
Attorney General of Virginia
Want Cuccinelli to be our next governor? Then don’t count on the news media. If you like the man, spread the word. And make certain you attend the 2013 RPV Convention. To win, Cuccinelli will need good running mates, the best nominees we can get for Lt Governor and Attorney General.
Of course, even a good candidate needs to be reminded that compromises with Democrats are at best dubious propositions. As this article notes, Virginia Democrats assail Republican redistricting plan as ‘plantation politics‘, the Senate Republicans manage to pass a Senate redistricting plan without compromising with Senate Democrats, and Senate Democrats are very unhappy. So they have threatened our governor’s transportation plan which includes tax increases.
Here is D.J. McGuire‘s take.
I write this post more in sadness then in anger. Yet I am compelled to write it all the same. I have been patient, regarding Ken Cuccinelli and his position regarding the transportation tax increase. I have been patient since exactly two weeks ago when Cuccinelli’s first response came to light – a maddeningly vague paragraph that did not even address the increase in taxes, let alone oppose it.
During those two weeks, of the nine other Republican candidates for statewide office in Virginia, six of them have spoken out against raising taxes for transportation (including both candidates for Attorney General and four of seven candidates for Lieutenant Governor)…
…and I have waited…
…until today, when Cuccinelli responded to Dick Saslaw’s angry insistence that his party will not pass any transportation tax increase with the following: