Thank you for taking the time to allow me to tell you about myself and the Goochland County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office. It is generally known that the responsibility of the Commonwealth's Attorney is to prosecute criminal offenses. With that said, the role of a prosecutor is not to merely seek convictions. In defining the functions and duties of a prosecutor, the American Bar Association has established that:
(a) The prosecutor is an administrator of justice, a zealous advocate, and an officer of the court. The prosecutor's office should exercise sound discretion and independent judgment in the performance of the prosecution function. (b) The primary duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice within the bounds of the law, not merely to convict. (Standard 3-1.2 Functions and Duties of the Prosecutor)
As your elected Commonwealth's Attorney since 2016, I embrace the rigorous demands attendant to the Office in furthering a demonstrated commitment to duty and service. Having the privilege of experiencing and encountering many diverse and rewarding criminal justice opportunities I offer a multi-faceted perspective in continuing as the chief prosecutor for Goochland County.
EXPERIENCED LEADERSHIP DELIVERING RESULTS FOR OUR COMMUNITY
The opportunities I have been afforded throughout my years of experience within the judicial system provide the foundation on which my commitment to the citizens of Goochland is based. Having experience as a law-enforcement officer, criminal law defense attorney, and prosecutor provides a unique and valuable perspective in assessing an investigation while considering potential defense arguments and factual challenges.
While there is no substitute for the day-to-day interaction with law-enforcement officers, lay witnesses, defense attorneys, and judges, formal training plays a major role in ensuring a prosecutor maintains competence. Some of the most recent training courses I have attended are:
DEFCON: Digital Evidence, Forensics, Computers & Networks, National Domestic Communications Assistance Center
NDAA Multidisciplinary Conference on Domestic Violence, SanDiego, CA (Out-of -state training award from the Commonwealth's Attorney's Services Council)
When called upon as defense counsel, I never avoided the cases which were difficult, unpleasant, or unpopular. While challenging, those were the types of cases that provided an unparalleled immersion into the intricacies of trial advocacy, case preparation, and case presentation. Protecting victim's rights, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of a case, preparing witnesses for trial, and successfully presenting evidence to a judge or jury come only with years of experience.
The abilities of the attorneys in your Commonwealth's Attorney's Office are well known. We are frequently appointed by the Circuit Courts of other jurisdictions to act as Special Prosecutor where the elected prosecutor is unable to act due to a conflict.
These cases are rarely minor traffic matters or misdemeanors. I have handled numerous cases for the City of Richmond involving last year's riot activity as well as many riot-related cases for the City of Charlottesville in "Unite the Right" prosecutions. I have also prosecuted manslaughter, rape, murder, malicious wounding, and drug distribution cases for other jurisdictions. I take it as a source of pride that I and my attorneys are entrusted to represent the citizens of other localities.
I am most proud of our office in protecting the rights of our most vulnerable and marginalized citizens, children and domestic violence victims. We have a fully functional Multidisciplinary Team, a fully functional Sexual Assault Response Team, experienced and dedicated victim/witness coordinators, and participate in the regional Human Trafficking Collaborative.
One of my first priorities when I was elected in 2016 was to become a member of the Southern Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. I am proud to say that every individual charged in Goochland County with possession of child pornography has been convicted.
We routinely work with local, state, and federal law-enforcement agencies as well as other prosecutors' offices. Just to name a few, we have had cases involving the FBI, DEA, Postal Inspection, Border Patrol, U. S. Attorney's Office, Office of the Virginia Attorney General, Office of the Inspector General, Virginia Department of State Police, Virginia Parole Board, Virginia Department of Corrections, Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Goochland County Sheriff's Office, and the Office of Goochland County Animal Protection. Ultimately, it is my responsibility and authority to consider the evidence and the law and make a determination as to whether a case goes forward as a misdemeanor, a felony, or doesn't go forward at all.
While I doubt that Shakespeare was ever a prosecutor, he was never more insightful when, in Henry IV, Part II, he writes "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." I can attest that there have been many "uneasy" nights staring at the ceiling at 3:00 a.m. trying to work through a particularly difficult case to ensure justice.