Thursday, October 24, 2013

Mark Obenshain is right.

Rob Bell
Delegate, 58th District

Mark Obenshain is right. 

His most recent television ad discusses House Bill 2269

Mark Herring doesn’t want to talk about it, but on the crucial floor vote, Obenshain voted yes.  Herring voted no.
I know what was in House Bill 2269 because it was my bill.

When the rest of the General Assembly was voting to lengthen sentences for sex offenders – including those who produce child pornography – Mark Herring voted NO. 
House Bill 2269 was a truth-in-sentencing measure that addressed what happens when criminals receive more than one mandatory minimum sentence.  For example, professional child pornographers are often convicted of multiple charges for victimizing multiple children.   As amended, the bill made sure that these dangerous sexual predators would be required to serve all of their mandatory sentences, one after the other.  Fortunately, it passed and is now law.
But Herring voted no.  If he had had his way, these malevolent pedophiles could have been released after serving only one mandatory sentence, rather than all of them.

So what does Herring say about this?  He says he voted no because my bill “deprived judges of too much of their existing discretion and made the justice system less flexible.”  This is insufferable nonsense.  Herring had already voted for a smaller version of the bill -- one that only applied to the possession of child pornography.  Somehow it was acceptable to make these criminals serve their entire sentence, but when it came to those who made the pornography in the first place, it was important to allow the judge to be “flexible” enough to let them off early.
Herring claims to be concerned with public safety, but when the time came to actually vote on making convicted criminals serve all of their mandatory time, Herring voted no.  Virginia needs an Attorney General that will stand up for victims of child pornographers.

It’s no wonder that prosecutors, sheriffs, and crime victims agree that our next Attorney General should be Mark Obenshain.