Filed under: General Assembly | Tags: Crime, General Assembly, Law and Order, Todd Gilbert
Given his record as a true expert on criminal law and an advocate for prosecutors and law enforcement, Delegate Gilbert may have a claim on the title of “Sheriff of the General Assembly” (if only because Glenn Weatherholtz, the GA’s only actual sheriff, retired in 2005). Three laws the Delegate sponsored this session go into effect tomorrow (July 1st being the end of the Commonwealth’s fiscal year and the date on which almost all of Virginia’s legislation goes into effect). From the press release:
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.
In typical Gilbert fashion, Todd had this to say about some of his more liberal minded “colleagues:”
“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.”
Speaker Howell also had praise for the abilities of the sophomore legislator:
“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.”
Perhaps some day soon we could seen the Delegate from Shenandoah heading up the Courts of Justice Committee (which supposedly handles more legislation than any other committee at the General Assembly)? Or perhaps we could see Gilbert in an office with a higher profile.
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