Who’s up for having a Level 3 sexual predator run for public office — while being too dangerous to release? Thanks to Gov. Terry McAuliffe, that brave new world has arrived. The Washington Post’s Laura Vozzella calls this an “unintended consequence,” but many Virginians might call it a disaster:
Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s sweeping order to restore voting rights to ex-felons may have had another unintended consequence: giving the right to vote to at least 132 sex offenders who have finished their sentences but remain locked up because they have been deemed too dangerous to release.
In Virginia, such individuals can be sent through a civil court proceeding to the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation in Nottoway County, southwest of Richmond.
Nottoway Commonwealth’s Attorney Terry J. Royall said Wednesday that 176 of the center’s 370 residents have regained the right to vote, run for public office and serve on a jury.
She said she was told by the facility director that there are 176 residents who “meet the governor’s criteria for restoration . . . Today his staff ran those 176 names through the database and 132 came up as having actually been restored.”
Bear in mind that they can only exercise these civil rights from their detention facility. If they choose to vote, they will either have to do so by absentee ballot or the facility will have to provide transport and security to the precinct. If they get a jury summons, they’ll have to go to court under guard to serve on the panel. (The likelihood of them getting picked for a jury would be slim, to say the least.)
Perhaps one might run for governor, and Virginia taxpayers can pay for the necessary security to barnstorm the Commonwealth for months on end. It’s not as if the current governor takes his job seriously, right?
Let’s get back to Vozzella’s assumption. Was this really an unintended consequence? McAuliffe could have taken his time and reviewed cases on an individual basis, applying some sort of rational markers for approval or denial of executive clemency. That, however, wouldn’t have gotten Democrats a windfall of voters in the presidential election. That was all McAuliffe wanted, so who cares if a few sexual predators who can’t safely be released can now run for office and vote?
Republicans in Virginia have filed suit to reverse this blanket move. I wonder of some of the residents at VCBR will be on that jury? And isn’t it ironic that one Democrat wants to restore civil rights to felons while his colleagues want to deny them to everyone else.
Photo courtesy of Steve Burns at WMAL.