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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cuccinelli Stands With the Tim Kaine and Democrats on Capital Punishment and the Triggerman Rule

I first blogged about this back in January - Brownlee & Cuccinelli - Capital Punishment. I said then this would be a huge issue and it is becoming one. Cuccinelli issued a statement, see Mason Conservative, complaining that his record is being held up to him. Brownlee has issued the following statement - Emphasis mine.

As John Brownlee has travelled across our Commonwealth, he has been very clear that he believes in Ronald Reagan's 11th Commandment: "Thou shall speak no ill of a fellow Republican." The Brownlee campaign for Attorney General highlights the strengths of our outstanding candidate and focuses on the issues that are important to Virginia voters.

We also believe it is important to respectfully and factually inform our fellow Republicans about genuine issue disagreements among the candidates, and especially about issues that will affect our chances to succeed in November. One such issue occurred on January 27, when Senator Ken Cuccinelli once again voted against repeal of the "Triggerman Rule."

The Triggerman Rule is an anti-justice rule, and its repeal has been called necessary "...for prosecutors in the commonwealth to bring co-conspirators in murder cases to justice." The Triggerman Rule prevents prosecutors from seeking the death penalty against an accomplice to a violent murder - even though the accomplice has the same intent as the person who pulled the trigger and may be more criminally responsible for the killing. The Triggerman Rule complicated Virginia's effort to try Washington area sniper John Allen Muhammad on a capital offense because it was in dispute whether he or his juvenile accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, fired the Bushmaster .223 caliber rifle during their 2002 killing spree. Muhammad was the mastermind of a plot who murdered ten people and critically wounded three others in Northern Virginia and along Interstate 95 in Virginia. Because of the Triggerman Rule, prosecutors were forced to use our terrorism statutes to bring Muhammad to justice.

In response to the Sniper case, Republicans in the Virginia House and Senate, as well as a few right-minded Democrats, voted in 2007 to abolish the Triggerman Rule. The Virginia Sheriffs Association, the Virginia Association of Commonwealth's Attorneys, Virginia's Crime Commission, the Attorney General's Office, Attorney General Bob McDonnell, and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling all supported repeal of the Triggerman Rule. They know that this rule is a detriment to the cause of justice in Virginia. Despite this overwhelming support for its repeal, Cuccinelli voted against the bill.

Unfortunately, Gov. Kaine vetoed the bill. Gov. Kaine is opposed to the death penalty. Nevertheless, the Republicans attempted to override the veto and every Republican in the House and Senate but Sen. Cuccinelli voted to override the veto. A majority of the Democrats and Cuccinelli prevailed, and the Triggerman Rule remains the law in Virginia.

The most troubling aspect of this case is Sen. Cuccinelli's comments after his vote. A Washington Post reporter asked Sen. Cuccinelli why he voted against all other Republicans and with the Democrats on this important criminal justice bill. Cuccinelli responded, "We're killing enough people in Virginia." Cuccinelli's comment in the media gives the appearance of equating murder - the killing of the innocent - to the legal application of the death penalty. John Brownlee would never suggest such a moral equivalency.

How far outside the mainstream is Cuccinelli on this issue? Consider the following, as reported by the Washington Post's Marc Fisher: "Interestingly, all four of Virginia's gubernatorial candidates, Democrat and Republican alike, this year not only favor the death penalty, but would approve its expansion. Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrats Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds favor expanding capital punishment by scrapping the triggerman rule; Democrat Terry McAuliffe would "not oppose" such a move, according to his spokesman."

Cuccinelli has been consistent over the years in his opposition to this important bill. Both in committee and on the floor of the Senate, Senator Cuccinelli has been the sole Republican vote against the measure. He has opposed this bill every time it has come forward, and even voted to sustain Governor Tim Kaine's veto of the measure.

We sincerely believe that Cuccinelli, a patent lawyer, is a talented and capable attorney who will deserve the support of all Republicans should he win the nomination for Attorney General. However, Democrat Steve Shannon - his party's almost certain nominee for Attorney General -- is a former prosecutor. Shannon also stands with law enforcement - and most of our fellow Republicans - on the triggerman issue. Against a Republican nominee who - alone among Republican legislators -- agrees with Tim Kaine on this death penalty vote, Steve Shannon is well-positioned to cross-pressure our base, as well as law enforcement and independent voters who care about criminal justice issues. This is simply a fact that Republicans must take into account as they choose their nominee for Attorney General.

As you have undoubtedly heard us say before, the voters of Virginia vote for prosecutors for their Attorney General. Mary Sue Terry, Jim Gilmore, Jerry Kilgore and Bob McDonnell all had prosecutorial experience. Every time during the last 25 years that a prosecutor has faced a non-prosecutor for Attorney General, the prosecutor has won. John Brownlee is the only prosecutor running for the Republican nomination.

Please take a look at some of the following links. We believe you will agree that this is a real and relevant difference between the campaigns, and we hope you will take it into consideration as you decide who to support for our Party's nomination:

State Legislative Information System: SB 961 History

Capital News Service Report on this year's Senate Vote

Washington Times Report on this year's Senate Vote

Washington Post Report on the 2007 Bill

Here is the story from Brownlee himself.

The bottom line here is - The Virginia Sheriffs Association, the Virginia Association of Commonwealth's Attorneys, Virginia's Crime Commission, the Attorney General's Office, Attorney General Bob McDonnell, and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling all supported repeal of the Triggerman Rule. Ken Cuccinelli stood with Tim Kaine and the democrats. I find it amusing Ken left that part out of his statement.

Comments on "Cuccinelli Stands With the Tim Kaine and Democrats on Capital Punishment and the Triggerman Rule"

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:49 PM) : 

Ken Cuccinelli just got spanked

 

Anonymous Alpha Miner said ... (4:55 PM) : 

"I find it amusing Ken left that part out of his statement."
After reading his rant over at mason conservative i find it deceitful of Ken.

 

Anonymous Loudoun Insider said ... (11:54 PM) : 

Cuccinelli and his supporters deceitful? Unfortunately par for the course.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:01 AM) : 

You might think that at first, except ken has supported relaxation of the triggerman rule in just the areas Mr. Brownlee tries to describe. The ONLY thing he has ever opposed, it COMPLETE REMOVAL of the triggerman rule which would vastly increase the likelihood of someone who in fact did not intend someone to be murdered to be executed for it.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:56 AM) : 

No, it's actually deceitful for Mr. Brownlee to put out an ad that uses a false strawman example to criticize Ken's opposition to completely repealing the triggerman rule when in truth Ken has already voted in favor of exemptions to the triggerman rule that cover the very example Mr. Brownlee puts in his ad.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:40 AM) : 

n response to the Sniper case, Republicans in the Virginia House and Senate, as well as a few right-minded Democrats, voted in 2007 to abolish the Triggerman Rule. The Virginia Sheriffs Association, the Virginia Association of Commonwealth's Attorneys, Virginia's Crime Commission, the Attorney General's Office, Attorney General Bob McDonnell, and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling all supported repeal of the Triggerman Rule. They know that this rule is a detriment to the cause of justice in Virginia. Despite this overwhelming support for its repeal, Cuccinelli voted against the bill.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:00 AM) : 

In response to the Sniper case... You mean the case where the man was convicted under one of the exemptions to the Triggerman Rule that Ken supported???? Try again friend...

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:54 AM) : 

There is nothing to try. Ken VOTED against The Virginia Sheriffs Association, the Virginia Association of Commonwealth's Attorneys, Virginia's Crime Commission, the Attorney General's Office, Attorney General Bob McDonnell, and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling...and was the ONLY republican to vote on the side of Tim Kaine. No wonder all the Commonwealth Attorneys and Sheriffs are backing Brownlee

 

Blogger NavyWings said ... (12:54 PM) : 

You know, this is a prime example of posting "half truths" to support a particular position. You should post the entire truth, not just what you wish to portray. Here is what Ken said in his own words in an email:

"Explanation for Ken's vote on the Triggerman Rule:

The triggerman rule in Virginia says that the individual who "pulled the trigger", i.e. committed an act of murder, is eligible for capital punishment. In other words, individuals who did not directly commit a murder are not eligible for the death penalty.

Ken supports commonsense exceptions to this rule that would allow accomplices to be eligible for the death penalty.

These exceptions include cases of 1) terrorism (including the Beltway sniper case), 2) murder for hire and 3) gangs and other criminal enterprises.

Completely eliminating the triggerman rule would allow for people who did not actually commit murdersto be punished by death.

This is an expansion of the death penalty that goes far beyond any of Ken's previous votes. Unlike the previous expansions of the death penalty noted above, Ken sees this as too broad of an expansion of the death penalty."

So to say he "sides" with Democrats on the death penalty is like asking someone if they've stopped beating their mother today.

 

Blogger Carl Kilo said ... (5:37 PM) : 

Navy Wings, Every thing you just wasted space in writing was linked to in my post above. "Click Mason Conservative". I presented both sides of the story so you my friend are wrong.

Feel free to support Ken's support of the democrats.

"The bottom line here is - The Virginia Sheriffs Association, the Virginia Association of Commonwealth's Attorneys, Virginia's Crime Commission, the Attorney General's Office, Attorney General Bob McDonnell, and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling all supported repeal of the Triggerman Rule. Ken Cuccinelli stood with Tim Kaine and the democrats."

You can take Ken. Kaine, and the Dems. I support the opinions of The Virginia Sheriffs Association, the Virginia Association of Commonwealth's Attorneys, Virginia's Crime Commission, the Attorney General's Office, Attorney General Bob McDonnell, and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling thank you.

 

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