Race to Become Lynchburg’s New Commonwealth’s Attorney
You have seen the signs in neighbors’ yards around town. You have probably received fliers in the mail. You have maybe had a knock at your door during the weekend by a volunteer. You might have even received a robo-call.
It is local election season.
Most people don’t vote in local elections, unless a national election is going on at the same time. The irony in that, however, is that votes count more in local elections – since far fewer people usually vote – and the impact of the elections is greater.
Race to Be Commonwealth’s Attorney:
Lynchburg will be electing a new Commonwealth’s Attorney on November 7 of this year. In the last month, though, you may have received all the forms of contact mentioned above. That is because there is first a Republican primary this month to see who will advance to the general election.
After the general election on November 7, Lynchburg will have a new Commonwealth’s Attorney.
The current Commonwealth’s Attorney is Michael Doucette. He has worked in that office since 1984 and has been in his current position since 2006. In January of this year, he announced his retirement, which created a contested election for the vacancy.
Does the Commonwealth’s Attorney Election Matter?
The first sentence on the “Office Overview” page of the Commonwealth’s Attorney website tells you all you need to know. “The Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney is responsible for the prosecution of all violations of the criminal law occurring in the City of Lynchburg.” While multiple Deputy and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys work to fulfill the duties of the office, the Commonwealth’s Attorney is an elected position that sets the pulse for criminal prosecution in the city.
This office works in conjunction with local police to prosecute crime in Lynchburg. If a criminal charge is being brought against you in court, it will usually be handled by an attorney in the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office (assuming it is not a federal crime). Knowing what they do is only part of the reason, however, why this upcoming election matters to you.
When someone new takes over the office in November, it is possible that the priorities of the office will also change. Now, that does not usually matter to most people. They do not care about the priorities of the Commonwealth’s Attorney; they only care about the charges they are fighting. However, in some cases, it will matter.
Whenever two candidates are arguing over who is the most "tough on crime", it should cause you to worry. This is because the over-politization of the position has the potential to result in the over-criminalization of the community.
A prosecutor is a minister of justice. His or her duty is to punish evildoers on behalf of the people. When the government loses sight of its goal, the people suffer. Sometimes, an innocent person will be charged and convicted of a crime. Other times, a guilty person may go free.
As we approach another election, one that matters for the type of work a criminal defense attorney does, know that help is near. If you are seeking competent and experienced counsel, call or e-mail today for a free consultation!
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