Letter to the Editor: Candidate would be good steward of public funds

Editor:

As a local attorney, and a native of Shenandoah County, I write this plea to my community to be aware of the reality of taxpayer money in the commonwealth’s attorney’s office.

If there is one thing Shenandoah County leaders, both local and statewide, have prided themselves in, and have been successful at, it is being good stewards of taxpayer money. Amanda Wiseley doesn’t fit that mold.

Mrs. Wiseley’s indictment rate, in comparison to her conviction rate, is simply unacceptable. In 2014, with a conviction rate of only 40 percent of the 1,127 indictments she brought, she cost taxpayers an estimated $200,000, not to mention time on already loaded dockets and paperwork.

Every time an indictment is brought, an indigent defendant has a right to a court-appointed attorney at a maximum payment of $420. Shenandoah County courts heavily rely on that system. Dropping cases is ultimately a cost to the taxpayer. The defendants only pay for court costs if they in fact are found guilty of the crime, or if they agree to pay as part of a plea deal.  That’s too big of a gap when it comes to taxpayer money.

The utmost care should be taken when spending taxpayer money. Our court system has major needs right now — from being under staffed, both in clerk’s offices and on the bench, to putting in systems for pretrial probation, mental health services and drug rehabilitation.

Shenandoah County has great leaders who have made an impact and progress without being wasteful.  I’m humbled that my grandfather, Senator Truban, started us on that path in 1971 and I would like to see it continue. Chad Logan comes from a long line of family members who were good stewards to our community and now Chad has started down that path. His conviction rate of 77 percent shows that he takes his job seriously as a steward of your money. His research on the rates in Shenandoah County shows that he cares. He wants to be here and he has shown he has the tools to do so. Next Tuesday, show up and vote. Your money depends on it.

Elizabeth H. Cooper, Woodstock

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