Fairfax County

Stand Up Virginia Seeks Recall of Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney

Critics say progressive agenda puts people in danger

Steve Descano

A group in Virginia wants to remove the Fairfax County commonwealth’s attorney from office, saying he is putting people in danger.

Stand Up Virginia says Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano's progressive agenda gets in the way of punishing criminals.

A woman who wanted to remain anonymous says the commonwealth has changed prosecutors three times in the case of her daughter, whose father is charged with sexually assaulting her.

“Our cases should be prepared for, at a minimum, at the same level the defense is having their cases prepared at," she said.

She worries the case won’t be prosecuted.

Her story is one of a handful alleging Descano is not looking out for victims, including stories of domestic violence cases that Descano doesn't assign a prosecutor to and the case is dropped.

Stand Up Virginia launched a recall campaign to remove Descano from office.

“When we found out about what was happening to victims, that's when we decided we can't stand back anymore and be silent," said Brenda Tillett of Stand Up Virginia.

Virginia code allows voters to petition for a recall for several reasons, including:

  • Neglect of duty
  • Misuse of office
  • Incompetence in the performance
  • Conviction of a misdemeanor related to drugs
  • A hate crime.

Only registered voters in that jurisdiction can sign the petition, which needs the signatures of at least 10% of the number of votes cast in the last election for that office. In this case, that’s more than 29,000.  

Descano said his office needs more funding to staff all of these cases.

“The thing that keeps me up at night more than anything is the fact that my office doesn't have the resources to be involved in every single case," he said.

"While I appreciate Mr. Descano wants to make this about money, it's about his agenda, and his agenda does not represent the needs or the interests of victims here in the commonwealth or in Fairfax County," said Mehagen McRae, an attorney who represents victims of domestic violence and works with Descano's prosecutors on behalf of the victims.

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