Monday, June 30, 2008

Shenandoah: Del. Todd Gilbert's bill becomes law July 1st

Tough new criminal justice laws sponsored by Delegate C. Todd Gilbert (R-Woodstock) which passed the 2008 session of the Virginia General Assembly and were signed into law by Governor Timothy M. Kaine will take effect on Tuesday, July 1st. The laws include the following measures:

* No bail for illegal alien criminals: Persons illegally present in the United States who commit serious crimes in the Commonwealth of Virginia will be presumed to be ineligible for release on bail pending their trials. No longer will such criminals be routinely put back into the community to pose a further threat to public safety and to be at risk to flee from prosecution. This measure, first conceived and offered by Delegate Gilbert in the 2007 session of the General Assembly, was adopted by House and Senate leaders as part of the 2008 Republican legislative package on illegal immigration.

* Mandatory minimum sentences for methamphetamine dealers: Higher level dealers of the dangerous and highly addictive drug methamphetamine will face mandatory, minimum prison sentences, even for first-time offenders (at least three years for selling one ounce and at least five years for half a pound or more). This bill co-sponsored by Senator Mark Obenshain was the only new criminal law funded in the cash-strapped 2008-09 budget in order to provide for the fiscal impact of the potential increase in prison populations.

* Elimination of parole loophole: Misdemeanor offenders sentenced to more than twelve months in jail for multiple misdemeanors will no longer be eligible for early release. Delegate Gilbert’s bill closed this loophole which eliminates the last vestiges of Virginia ’s once liberal parole calculations which ensured that prisoners served only a fraction of their sentences before parole was abolished for felonies in 1995. Under the now closed loophole, many prisoners sentenced to serve more than twelve months in jail on multiple misdemeanors were actually serving less time than prisoners sentenced to less than twelve months.

Delegate Gilbert stated the following:
“Many members of the General Assembly quickly find those areas in the legislative arena where they can best contribute. As a career Virginia prosecutor, I found that being the ‘tough on crime’ delegate is a perfect role. I am pleased to sponsor strict measures aimed at those who break the law. I am also proud to stand in the gap against my colleagues who would routinely weaken our criminal laws and vote to shorten prison sentences. I hope these new laws will go a long way toward making not only my constituents safer, but the people of Virginia as well.”
House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) added, "Todd Gilbert is a hard-working, no-nonsense and highly effective delegate. On many important issues, Todd is out front making necessary improvements -- nowhere more so than criminal justice and public safety. Because of his active leadership for law-abiding citizens and against criminals, Virginia will be a safer place to live, work and raise a family."

-- Press release from Del. Todd Gilbert's office

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Todd has proven once again that he's part of the new generation of Republican leadership that relies on core principles yet realizes that key to staying in power is to find pragmatic solutions that don't betray those fundamental conservative values that we as Virginians hold.

That's why I'll never stop being proud of the man.

-Craig Orndorff