By Darius F. Holloway
I’m serving an active sentence of 23 years for two malicious woundings and for use of a firearm committed in the 12th grade. Luckily, I graduated on time. Class of 2007.
I have been down for 16 years. I was supposed to go home last year with the new Good Time Bill HB 5148 in Virginia but the Governor used a budget veto to stop people from going home.
Virginia is still enforcing 85% to violent charges but all drug and gun charges receive more good time allowing them to serve only 54% of their time.
The charge “use of a firearm” by law is nonviolent but the governor used a reduced budget appropriated bill to act as legislation arbitrarily without the supermajority of the House and Senate to make it violent again for some people unequally.
Was it a violation of Article 3 Section 1, of the Virginia Constitution, “Division of powers,” when Glenn Youngkin suspended the laws HB 5148 through budget veto?
According to the case Commonwealth v. Dodson of 1940, “the power to veto items in an appropriations bill does not carry with it power to strike out conditions or restrictions, for that would be legislation.” Conditions were attached to the appropriation bill to support the law HB 5148 and how the releasing of inmates and probation would be funded but these conditions were restricted by the Governor vetoing part of the budget.
The Governor cannot disapprove part of an item and approve the remainder, “and this rule prevents the governor from reducing the amount of appropriation which by itself constitutes an item,” see Brault v. Holleman of 1976. Governor Glenn Youngkin named it item 404R in the Code of Virginia.
The intentions of federal funding for D.O.C. budget was to follow Donald Trump’s “first step act” which did away with mass incarceration through the elimination of drugs and guns having stacked charges in the Feds.
Glenn Youngkin eliminated the “assurance” of the budget that the federal law required to preserve funding for the enactment of the HB 5148 law, by violating the principle of substantial compliance with the procedural requirements of the budgetary process.
The item Glenn Youngkin created disturbs the purpose that was intended for the law to be enacted. That item and its attempted eliminations becomes invalid according to Brault v. Holleman of 1976.
This means the supermajority of the House and Senate has to be present to represent the people so that it is not injurious to their rights in accordance with Article 1 section 7 of the Virginia Constitution or it has to be passed by bill all over again in accordance with Article 4 Section 11.
The constitution has no loopholes. It is the supreme law of the land and the people are the supreme power of the land. The General Assembly represents the people. The General Assembly shall have ultimate authority over the budget.
Glenn Youngkin vetoed the budget around Juneteenth, going against mass incarceration bill HB 5148 to try to end mass incarceration, which means the lives of the incarcerated have been limited to a budget plan. Can we impeach a dictator?
Power to the People!
Darius F. Holloway is incarcerated in Virginia