Letter to the Editor: Too many deals keeping cases from going to trial
I’m writing this letter because I’m concerned about the state of criminal prosecution in Shenandoah County. As a longtime member of the law enforcement community, I’ve had dealings with the prosecutor’s office my whole career. Over the last few years, I have noticed a disturbing trend.
I’ve noticed a general lack of willingness of the prosecutors to take cases to trial, including a trend of cases routinely getting plead down to crimes less serious than those originally charged or getting dismissed outright. Personally, I feel that when cases are routinely pleaded out in this manner, this shows a lack of respect for the long hours law enforcement works to put these cases together. I can’t recall the last time a jury of our peers determined the guilt or innocence of a defendant.
Because practically no cases go to trial, the results of the criminal justice system are plea agreement after plea agreement. The number of cases that are dismissed or reduced, often leave me scratching my head and wondering why our chief prosecutor, Amanda Wiseley, would routinely allow large number of felonies to be dropped or pleaded out in plea agreements that victims aren’t happy with, and which don’t serve justice for our community. I’ve also heard reports that victims and witnesses are not receiving timely communication about their cases.
I believe it is time for a change in Shenandoah County. I’ve spoken with candidate Chad Logan. He is enthusiastic about the job and he has a desire to turn things around. He is an excellent prosecutor with a strong record and will bring a fair, but tough approach. His experience and strong record of success before judges and juries speaks for itself.
Charles M. Dellinger, Edinburg