Experienced Leadership – Why it Matters
Why do you need an experienced leader filling the role of Commonwealth’s Attorney? To answer that it might be helpful to ask, what does a Commonwealth’s Attorney do and what should you expect out of me as your Commonwealth’s Attorney?
What does a Commonwealth’s Attorney Do?
1. The Commonwealth’s Attorney Makes the Final Decisions.
The buck stops at the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s desk. When a critical decision needs to be made it is the Commonwealth’s Attorney who makes it. Do we have enough evidence to charge this person? Should we obtain a warrant at this time? What tactic should we take when talking with this witness to ensure that they want to cooperate with us? Should we seek the death penalty for this crime?
These decisions can have major consequences for an individual case. When these decisions add up over time, they can have major consequences for the safety and security of the community. As a resident of this city you deserve a Commonwealth’s Attorney with the knowledge and experience to make the right decisions when the big issues come across the desk. As your Commonwealth’s Attorney, I will have the foundation of knowledge and experience to make the tough decisions and have those decisions respected.
2. The Commonwealth’s Attorney is a Leader to Seasoned Prosecutors and a Mentor to Inexperienced Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys.
The Commonwealth’s Attorneys office has 11 attorneys and 19 support staff members who are supervised by the Commonwealth’s Attorney. That’s 30 employees in all. Add it all up, and the Commonwealth’s Attorney is responsible for being the boss of one of the largest law firms in the area.
The leadership role of the Commonwealth’s Attorney is most important when it comes to supervising the other 11 attorneys in the office. Many of the Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys here in Lynchburg are career prosecutors who have over 10 years of experience themselves. For a leader to command the respect and the attention of those seasoned employees they must have confidence that the boss is competent and experienced and knows what she is talking about when direction is given.
While several assistants are career prosecutors, several of the prosecutors are younger attorneys with less than 5 years of experience. The field of criminal law is complex. There are countless investigatory, procedural, legal and tactical rules and strategies to be aware of. Quite often the legal doctrines a prosecutor uses and the arguments and tactical decisions a prosecutor makes will be the difference in a criminal being convicted or walking free back into the community. Young inexperienced attorneys are constantly seeking advice and mentorship from the Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney and the Commonwealth’s Attorney.
As the current Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney, I already have the respect and the trust of those who call upon me to help with these decisions.
3. The Commonwealth’s Attorney Must Be Capable of Taking The Biggest Cases To Trial and Be Willing To Share the Load.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney should be one of the finest trial attorneys in the office. When the most significant case happens, the Commonwealth’s Attorney must have the trial experience and ability to head into the courtroom and try the case. It inspires confidence within the office and within the community to see the Commonwealth’s Attorney step into the courtroom and orchestrate a successful trial presentation. It also inspires respect and confidence to see the Commonwealth’s Attorney sharing the burden and continuing to do work in the courtroom. She should not reserve her courtroom work for only the most sensational cases.
What Can You Expect From Me?
As your Commonwealth’s Attorney I already have the knowledge, experience, and qualifications to make the tough decisions that need to be made. As my career has progressed and I have prosecuted increasingly difficult and significant cases, I have gained the confidence and knowledge to make the right decisions when the chips are down. My experience informs my decision making. When those critical decisions hit the big desk, you deserve someone sitting in the chair who has the ability to make the right call. I am that person.
As your Commonwealth’s Attorney I will have the respect of my assistants and the ability to lead them. I am already supervisor over 9 Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys. This includes both the seasoned prosecutors and the junior prosecutors with fewer than 5 years experience. I have their trust and I have their respect. I am ready to lead them on day one.
As a prosecutor I have prosecuted over 2,400 cases. Many of these cases have been significant charges that presented unique challenges. I have the experience and ability to step into the courtroom at any time and prove a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. As your Commonwealth’s Attorney I won’t spend my time being a politician or a glorified office administrator. I will lead by example.