Virginia Prosecutor, After Refusing to Prosecute Some Low Level Crimes, Beats Back Political Attempt to Cut Budget

By Paloma Sifuentes

LEESBURG, VA – Loudoun County Supervisors voted 6-3 last week to allow Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj to continue to handle misdemeanors cases the way she wants, after threatening to yank Biberaj’s funding when she suggested she might not prosecute some lower level crimes.

Supervisors discussed Biberaj’s December 2022 letter to judges that stated, as of January 16, she will defer to the court and law enforcement cases that involve, traffic infractions, reckless driving under 90 mph, hit and run.

Other crimes the office might defer are property damage, eluding police, trespassing, petty larceny, possession of certain drugs, violations of ordinances, first offense driving with a suspended license, registration and titling offenses, drunk in public cases, underage possession of alcohol, noise complaints, failure to appear in court and trials in absence.

Biberaj said, “The politically-motivated threat by the Board of Supervisors to cut funds to (her) office threatens the safety of our community…the effort to defund public safety is reckless and dangerous.”

Some supervisors wanted to transfer funds from Biberaj to allow the county attorney to prosecute low level crimes.

She praised the progress she’s made with resources she was given, noting, “Violent crime is down by 31 percent since 2019…increased victim witness managers from four to seven…expanded programs to prevent sexual assault.”

“The misinformation being spread about our work is nothing more than political grandstanding…Like in many jurisdictions and administrations – Republican and Democratic –  law enforcement officers present directly to the judge in low-level, non-violent cases,” Biberaj said.

Biberaj assured the public “Every case charged in Loudoun County will be prosecuted…I will continue to do everything in my power to keep Loudoun County safe.”

Supervisor Julie Briskman sided with Biberaj, noting, “I find this motion offensive. I find it completely disrespectful to the Office of the Commonwealth Attorney. It’s anti-democratic. I find it highly offensive that we would micromanage this office. We haven’t tried to micro-manage the sheriff’s office, the treasurer’s office, or the Commissioner of Revenue.

“If we do not agree with how she is running her office and the policy, then we can find somebody to run against her. It is up to the voters to decide,” Briskman added.

About The Author

Paloma Sifuentes is a Senior at California State University, Long Beach majoring in Criminal Justice. She plans on attending law school after she graduates with her bachelors degree in the spring of 2023. She is very passionate about Criminal Law and intends on working as an associates attorney in a law firm after law school.

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