Monday, February 9, 2009

Cuccinelli's Response to Brownlee's Criticism of his Support for the Triggerman Rule

In recent weeks Brownlee has been using a line accusing Cuccinelli of siding with Tim Kaine on the death penalty in opposing the overturn of the triggerman law. Today, on the same day this rule was once again overturned by the House of Delegates, Cuccinelli issued a response to this charge in the Cuccinelli Compass.

February 8, 2009

Dear Fellow Virginians,

As we continue to travel the Commonwealth to participate in forums and debates, I welcome the opportunity to discuss directly with you my positions on the issues we face in Virginia. Unfortunately, in campaigns, sometimes our positions on important issues are deliberately distorted by others.

For some time now, John Brownlee has deliberately distorted my position on the death penalty. As a candidate for Attorney General, I do not take distortions and misrepresentations lightly, and neither should you. Virginians have grown weary of distortions and half truths in politics, and unfortunately, this is not the first time this has happened in this race. The last time he did something like this, I called him on the phone and discussed it with him personally.

But when these sorts of distortions continue, my response is not to distort things myself, but to point out my competitor's distortions. That let's you, the voters of Virginia, factor this information into your decision about who to support for AG. Let's face it, when you vote for someone for office, you get more than a package of positions, you get that person too.

So you have the information yourself, I have always been a supporter of Virginia's death penalty law. In the Senate, I have consistently fought against Democrats' efforts to impose a death penalty moratorium - and I have opposed efforts to allow endless appeals in death penalty cases.

As a State Senator, I have voted to extend the death penalty to people who murder trial witnesses, judges and law enforcement officers. And as your Attorney General, I am committed to upholding the death penalty verdicts of our juries and will work to defend and strengthen our capital punishment law from intrusions and attempts by the left to derail it.

I also have supported and will continue to support the death penalty under the current exceptions to the "triggerman rule" for (1) terrorism (including the beltway sniper case), (2) murder for hire, and (3) criminal enterprises/gangs. However, there have been legislative attempts to completely eliminate the triggerman rule, which I believe would be too broad an expansion. That's the only expansion of the death penalty that I have ever opposed, while supporting other expansions and always defending our current death penalty statute.

So the next time you hear John Brownlee or one of his surrogates giving a distorted rendition of my position supporting capital punishment, print this out and hand it to Mr. Brownlee.

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