Creating a Community-Focused Justice System
The decisions made by the Commonwealth’s Attorney often have a direct and substantive impact on the lives of those that call Fairfax home. With this responsibility in mind, the Commonwealth’s Attorney MUST be a constantly visible and easily accessible fixture in the community. As your Commonwealth’s Attorney, Steve will be at your community forums, block parties, and HOA meetings. He’ll invite you to tell him your experiences with the criminal justice system and your ideas to improve it. He’ll engage honestly with everyone regardless of their skin color, their zip code, or how much money they make.
Being the Commonwealth’s Attorney isn’t just another legal job. The job of the Commonwealth’s Attorney is to represent the community and ensure the criminal justice system reflects the community’s values. Steve will do that. He doesn’t want to be just a Commonwealth’s Attorney; Steve wants to be YOUR Commonwealth’s Attorney.
Too few people know what happens in our criminal justice system. Steve thinks that needs to change. Our criminal justice system affects too many lives and too much of our community to be shrouded in mystery. As a member of the Fairfax County Police Civilian Review Panel, Steve fought to bring greater transparency and attention to the County’s criminal justice system. He’ll do the same as your Commonwealth’s Attorney. Steve will collect and distribute information regarding the statuses of his office’s priorities. With Steve as your Commonwealth’s Attorney, you’ll know exactly what the office is trying to achieve and how close it is to meeting its goals.
Moving Past “Tough on Crime” Policies
“Tough on crime” policies are short-sighted and hurt our community. They create a community-wide cycle of decreased opportunity, increased poverty, and increased crime. People unnecessarily criminalized and incarcerated lose their jobs. If they are supporting a family, their loved ones will inevitably fine it harder afford their homes and reliably put food on the table. Even after they’re released, the unnecessarily jailed will be foreclosed from finding decent work, making it that much difficult to make an honest living.
The hardships resulting from “tough on crime” policies don’t fall solely on the people unnecessarily incarcerated. “Tough on crime” policies feed multiple generations of hardships. Kids who have a parent in jail are worried about where their next meal is going to come from, not their schoolwork, their community, or their future. Due to the increased community poverty caused by “tough on crime” policies, even kids in the community whose parents are not involved with the criminal justice system will be living in higher-crime neighborhoods and attending overburdened schools. The tough-on-crime ethos snuffs out those kids’ futures before they can even get started. Those are kids with talent who should be the next generation of leaders in Fairfax County, but they will never have a decent opportunity to reach their potential because short-sighted “tough on crime” policies decimate opportunities in their community.
Steve will work to create a smarter criminal justice system that will produce the just, equitable, and forward-looking Fairfax County we want. A smarter criminal justice system will allow our neighbors to reach their full potential, regardless of the color of their skin, where they live, or how much money they have. The activation of talent that would be wasted in a “tough-on-crime” administration will drive Fairfax County forward and benefit all of us. This smarter criminal justice system will also keep us safe because it is true justice—the kind of justice that breeds opportunity and rebuffs the inequality and poverty that create crime.
Fair and Transparent Law Enforcement Oversight
Protecting Immigrant Communities
Break Down Barriers to Smart Reform
Reforming the Cash Bail System
Combating Racial Inequality
Ending Trial by Ambush
Seeking Justice, not Statistics
Ending Mass Incarceration
Ending the War on Drugs
Focus on Serious Crime
Stop the Unfair and Ineffective Death Penalty
True justice for murder victims gives their families and their communities what they need to heal; it doesn’t give into the base instincts that manifest in the wake of great tragedy. Victims’ families need closure. Communities need outcomes that accord with their values. The death penalty provides neither. The lengthy trial and appeals process designed specifically because of the high risk associated with the death penalty means it takes years for a victim’s family to gain closure: every court proceeding and appeals hearing forces a victim’s family to relive their trauma. The barbarism inherent in the state using its power to take a life and the racial discrimination that typically accompanies the application of that power is an affront to the just, equitable, and forward-looking ideals Fairfax County holds dear.
The death penalty is also ineffective at stopping crime, in addition to being prohibitively expensive. There is no link between the death penalty and community safety. Use of the death penalty is simply an old-school prosecutor’s way to signal to voters that they’re “tough on crime.” Prosecutors who are smart on crime know that the money wasted on securing and defending death-penalty sentences would be better used treating drug addicts, providing mental-health services, and funding diversion programs. As a smart-on-crime prosecutor, Steve won’t waste your money. He’ll make sure it’s spent on things that actually increase community safety.