We had an interesting conversation the other day with a person involved in department store security in a local mall. It seems that quite a number of the foreign nationals in our area get caught for shoplifting offenses. You wonder what happens with these wonderful people?
The poor, indigent defendants some how get representation much better than that the local public defender can provide. The larceny charges get dropped down to something that won’t threaten immigration status. Many local judges, both in the adult and juvenile court, go along with dismissing cases or convictions on these reduced charges.
Where does the fault lie? It seems to be the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office that is not very aggressive about these cases. In addition, we have some judges who are quite soft on crime. Someone is paying money for some good legal help for these defendants. Is that all worth investigation?
The store security person felt quite intimidated by the system, and didn’t want to rock the boat. Since this is a big election year, it might be a good opportunity to bring this sort of thing to some of our candidates. Chris discussed the candidacy of Patrick McDade for Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney, a guy I also met and think has good ideas. For those of you who live outside of Virginia, you might want to look into the process involving things like shoplifting arrests and prosecutions to see what the heck is really going on.