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Stamos for Commonwealth’s Attorney

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Here’s my recent Letter to the Editor of the Northern Virginia Sun Gazette.  It is definitely not my headline though – my point was the race is about experience, not the death penalty.

Candidate for Top Prosecutor Is Pandering to Democrats
(Created: Monday, June 13, 2011 7:57 AM EDT)

Editor: The recent article regarding the commonwealth’s attorney race between Theo Stamos and David Deane [“Death Penalty Could Take Center Stage in Prosecutors’ Race,” June 9] does not give the voters complete information.

The article states that “Stamos has spent most of her legal career in the commonwealth’s attorney’s office, while Deane moved from a job in the Fairfax prosecutor’s office into private practice.”  The whole story is that Stamos has been a prosecutor in the Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office for 24 years, served as the chief deputy for almost 10 years, prosecuted thousands of cases, and supervised other attorneys in that office.  In contrast, according to his firm’s Web site, Deane worked in the Fairfax office only from 1998-2000.  Experience is the most important thing in choosing a chief prosecutor, and no one comes close to Stamos.

Moreover, the death penalty is not an “issue” in this race. The General Assembly determines what crimes are punishable by death. The commonwealth’s attorney no doubt has to make the difficult decision to seek that penalty in a specific case, but is guided by specific criteria, which don’t include personal moral views. Deane’s effort to try to make the death penalty an issue seems like a transparent effort to pander to a liberal Democratic electorate. It won’t work, because Arlington’s voters will recognize the importance of experience, judgment and quality and choose Theo Stamos.