As violent crime shreds our nation’s capital, next-door neighbor Northern Virginia is incubating its own anti-law-and-order haven, thanks to three district attorneys more interested in dramatic Democrat talking points than prosecuting criminals. A new organization is rising up to boot them out of office.
Virginians for Safe Communities, a 501(c)4 organization that launched Monday morning and aims at advocating for public safety and highlighting the pitfalls of leftist prosecutors, is leading the charge to remove Steve Descano, Buta Biberaj, and Parisa Dehghani-Tafti from their posts as district attorneys of Fairfax, Loudoun, and Arlington Counties, respectively.
Each of these social justice prosecutors, technically called “commonwealth’s attorneys” in Virginia but functionally local district attorneys, was elected in 2019 after campaigning on radical changes. They promised to get away from the death penalty, end cash bail, restrict their cooperation with immigration officials, and drop prosecutions for possession of marijuana.
2019 was also the Virginia election year in which Democrats took over the state legislature for the first time in decades. Descano, Biberaj, and Dehghani-Tafti all defeated much more traditional prosecutors in their Democratic primaries, no doubt thanks to George Soros’ involvement.
Through his political action committee, Soros, a billionaire and megadonor known for trying to dye America deep-blue by bankrolling radical candidates in local races, reportedly spent almost $2.1 million on ads, mailers, and polls in the primary and general election to get the three Virginia leftists elected. In Arlington County, for instance, the Soros-backed Dehghani-Tafti ousted Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos, who had been in that post for more than 30 years.
“Make no mistake these radical prosecutors are not an organic movement, they were picked, trained, and financed (very handsomely) to push an agenda,” Sean Kennedy, president and chairman of Virginians for Safe Communities, told The Federalist. “For too long, the pro-public safety forces have been in retreat in the face of this onslaught. Now, we stand and fight back.”
Other Soros-aligned political action committees have deployed similar tactics with much success, getting social justice Democrat prosecutors elected in Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston, and elsewhere. Although its targets are in the D.C. suburbs, Virginians for Safe Communities speaks to other locales too.
“Our message goes beyond Northern Virginia,” Kennedy continued, noting that law-abiding taxpayers across the whole country “expect our leaders to keep us safe in our communities. Those who can afford to hide behind gates and guards have no business undermining our public safety and justice system on a whim.”
The Northern Virginia candidates weren’t bluffing. True to their word, the prosecutors set their leftist agendas in motion. They eliminated cash bail, looked the other way on drug crimes (including remarkable leniency for a man accused of bringing 50 pounds of marijuana and 400 cartridges of hashish oil into the country through Ronald Reagan International Airport), failed to uphold victims’ rights, and dropped precursor cases, which can be vital to maintaining community safety, such as drunk driving, domestic violence, and cruelty to animals (something Descano’s office tried to walk back after backlash for not caring enough about Fido).
“These prosecutors were elected as the chief law enforcement officers of their counties — not lawmakers,” Kennedy said. “If they wish to rewrite the Virginia Constitution or enact statutory changes, run for the House of Delegates. They are not permitted, nor will they be allowed, to make law based on their own whim and political feelings. We are a nation and Commonwealth of laws, not men.”
Descano has also been accused of withholding exculpatory evidence, known as a Brady violation, in the case of Fairfax County Police Officer Tyler Timberlake, something the policeman’s defense attorney said has been a pattern for the commonwealth’s attorney.
“I have a great deal of concern regarding the reliability of and appearance of the misrepresentation of statements made by the Commonwealth to a circuit court judge as it relates to exculpatory evidence,” Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Brett A. Kassabian said of the Timberlake case, calling Descano’s conduct “disturbing.”
A different judge had previously rebuked Descano for a different Brady violation, wherein he didn’t turn over exculpatory evidence related to an 18-year-old defendant in a first-degree murder case.
“Virginians for Safe Communities is committed to telling the truth about these so-called progressive prosecutors and holding them accountable to the people of the Commonwealth,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy said his team are working to recall the three radical prosecutors by way of petitions, in keeping with Virginia law, and statements of cause, which function like indictments. State law requires that the petition be signed by registered voters who live in the officeholder’s jurisdiction equal to 10 percent of the number of votes cast in the last election for the office being recalled.
If the petitions are accepted, the prosecutors will have a right to trial by jury. Because the commonwealth’s attorney usually represents the state in Virginia recall cases, but the prosecutors would be the subject of removal in this case, the judge would instead appoint a special attorney to represent the state. Both parties have the option to appeal to the Supreme Court following trial court.
“Their policies and misconduct endangers the safety of Virginia families and shakes public confidence in the justice system,” Kennedy said of Descano, Biberaj, and Dehghani-Tafti. “Every Virginian deserves to feel safe in their home, at school, and on our streets.”
Polls show Americans feel the same way and are more concerned with law and order than leftist extremist rhetoric. According to a YouGov poll from the end of May, 49 percent of those surveyed identified “violent crime” as a “very big problem,” with 35 percent more saying it’s a “somewhat big problem.” Respondents were also more worried about crime in their communities than police brutality against minorities, by 48 percent to 38 percent.
Furthermore, 57 percent of respondents blamed “the racial justice movement” for increases in violent crime, with 32 percent of those polled saying law enforcers aren’t tough enough on offenders, compared to only 27 percent believing they’re too tough on criminals.
Many Americans are fed up with the left-wing imposing its extreme policies, especially in Virginia. Look no further than angry parents seeking recalls of radical school boards over critical race theory and equity initiatives in Loudoun County, or the disastrous police reforms of 2020 that ushered in a year of unrest and led to a 47.9 percent increase in the number of officers who left the Richmond Police department. Another organization, Stand Up Virginia, is also looking to help oust the egregious commonwealth’s attorneys.
A concern for law and order promises to be a key force in November elections, and Virginians for Safe Communities is one manifestation of backlash against the extreme leftist prosecutors of Fairfax, Loudoun, and Arlington Counties.