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Jim Plowman: Idiot or Political Hack?

By Greg L | 22 July 2011 | Loudoun County | 12 Comments

When I read Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman’s attack on Ron Speakman’s proposal on illegal immigration, I couldn’t believe what I was reading.  Is this guy just a political hack who will say anything to support his preferred candidates, or is he really this incompetent?  Perhaps this is part of the reason Loudoun County has had such a persistent problem with illegal immigration and a skyrocketing violent crime rate, as the guy in charge of prosecuting crime in Loudoun County is seriously underwhelming.

Ron Speakman’s plan is a very innovative way to leverage the discretion afforded to judges in Virginia and remove illegal aliens who commit minor crimes before they graduate to more serious crimes.  Judges have the option of doing a “nolle prosse” (meaning prosecution of a crime is deferred) in exchange for an agreement with the defendant, and if the defendant breaks his promise, the charges can be reinstated and prosecuted.  Speakman has offered that the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office could ensure that an illegal alien returns to their country of origin to make sure this whole idea works.  In the context of how awful the federal government is at doing their job, this is an intriguing idea.

Plowman offers three “reasons” why this plan won’t work and I think they’re worth looking at in detail.

First, he proposes that an immigration status determination should occur for all those properly arrested. This already occurs. It is required under Virginia law for criminals entering the jail to have their citizenship determined (Virginia Code §53.1-218). If found to be illegal, they are referred to ICE Agents for deportation. Those not channeled through the jail are identified in the courts, and referred to ICE trained Deputies, under a system that I put into place.

Plowman demonstrates his utter lack of understanding about what the Secure Communities Program and the Section 287(g) Program actually are, and I find that utterly shocking.  Incompetence in this regard is utterly unacceptable.  Both of these programs “prioritize” removals based on the seriousness of the crime and the resources currently available, and both of these programs regularly refuse to place detainers on illegal aliens suspected of committing minor crimes and violations.  As a result they get let free when ICE doesn’t want them.  Instead of letting those illegal aliens that ICE doesn’t want to bother with go free, we can have them return to their home country under the threat of being prosecuted and jailed for the crime they committed.  It’s a far better result for the taxpayers.

Second, he proposes a theory of voluntary deportation. For this to have effect, there must be teeth to the threat of a lengthy incarceration. The crimes for which his proposal would apply, carry little possibility of that. As such, no criminal defense attorney would ever recommend the option. More importantly, if the offender’s offer to submit to voluntary deportation was accepted, the failure of our federal government to secure our borders gives us no assurance they will not return to the United States within a few months. I’ve personally seen this happen many times.

If the feds aren’t going to even deport someone for minor crimes, just how does Plowman think we can threaten anybody with a “lengthy incarceration?” Debtor’s prison?  So I suppose the answer here is to throw up our hands in resignation and do nothing, because the feds aren’t doing anything.  Thanks for proposing precisely the policy approach that resulted in eleven million illegal aliens being encouraged to come to this country unlawfully.  What a great service to the residents of Loudoun County.

Finally, this proposal, at its core, is a breach of the separation of powers established in our Constitution. To assert that a Sheriff, or prosecutor, could dictate to a judge how to impose a sentence upon an individual is unrealistic, and a concerning reflection of Mr. Speakman’s understanding of our laws and the criminal justice system in the Commonwealth.

Plowman must be intentionally misrepresenting what this policy is that he’s criticizing rather than being this stupid, which is enormously disturbing for someone in the position of Commonwealth’s Attorney.  There are actually implications here regarding the rules of professional conduct for attorneys, as they’re not supposed to be making public statements that they know, or at least if they have a lick of sense should know are not true.

In this whole diatribe there’s not one thing that makes any sense, and this undermines confidence in Plowman’s ability to act as Commonwealth’s Attorney and the legal profession in Loudoun County.  You’d expect that if a Commonwealth’s Attorney was going to weigh in on a public policy discussion involving the law you’d end up with a well reasoned, extensively cited brief not some off-the-cuff ridiculous whining that non-lawyers like myself will look at and wonder what deli counter awarded this guy a law degree.  This garbage demeans the office and the profession of law and should result in some pointed questions for Plowman to be answered with the Bar Association.

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  1. Satchmo said on 22 Jul 2011 at 4:02 pm:
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    Where did you get your law degree Greg L?

  2. Greg L said on 22 Jul 2011 at 4:59 pm:
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    As the founder of Help Save Manassas and Executive Director of Save The Old Dominion I’ve worked for years on policy initiatives involving illegal aliens which invariably involve federal, state and local laws. One which I helped to craft in Prince William County has withstood judicial review, and is one of the first (among a very small number) in the nation to do so where numerous other efforts were overturned by the courts. I’ve worked with Judicial Watch and the Immigration Reform Law Institute as well as issue advocacy organizations across the country on this matter. While I might not be an attorney, I’ve got a pretty solid track record.

  3. Satchmo said on 22 Jul 2011 at 5:25 pm:
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    That and $5 bucks will get you a set at the bar.

  4. The BulletProof Monk said on 22 Jul 2011 at 5:33 pm:
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    So does Plowman. But he’s not singing your song. Why don’t we go all persoanl and really get up in his crawl.
    That’s lower than a snake’s belly, Greg. You’re better than this.

  5. WW said on 22 Jul 2011 at 9:13 pm:
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    Hey BPM, go preach to your merry band of 5 lemmings at VV.

  6. Anonymous said on 22 Jul 2011 at 9:27 pm:
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    where did the 12 trillion debt come from and where are those weapons of mass destruction????????????????

    Who cant govern?

  7. es_la_ley said on 22 Jul 2011 at 10:03 pm:
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    Anonymous said on 22 Jul 2011 at 9:27 pm:

    where did the 12 trillion debt come from

    Democrats and liberal Republicans (aka RINOs)

    and where are those weapons of mass destruction????????????????

    Syria is my guess.

    Who cant govern?

    Democrats and liberal Republicans (aka RINOs)

    Next question?

  8. Charles said on 23 Jul 2011 at 11:32 am:
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    Greg, your arguments in this case seem totally off the point, and illogical.

    Your answer to his “first point” is to ignore it and address the 2nd point; the first point was that the proposal to check immigration status isn’t new, it’s already DONE; whether it works or not is besides the point, because he’s addressing a point in Speakman’s proposal. If your argument against his first point had merit, it would apply equally to the speakman proposal, and would be an argument against it.

    Your second point takes Plowman’s dismissal of Speakman’s proposal, and emphasizes it while pretending it’s an argument against what Plowman is saying. Speakman is the one who proposed using theat of prosecution to get people to leave voluntarily. Plowman notes that the crimes we are talking about don’t carry penalties big enough to make that threat usable. And you attacked Plowman by essentially agreeing with him that there are no penalties big enough.

    Plowman wasn’t saying Speakman’s plan was inadequate because it didn’t call for lengthy incarceration, it was saying it was ineffectual because, as your own words say, how can we “threaten anybody with a “lengthy incarceration?””.

    I take it you actually think we could convince illegals to leave if we threaten them with prosecution for a crime but let them off if they leave — “Instead of letting those illegal aliens that ICE doesn’t want to bother with go free, we can have them return to their home country under the threat of being prosecuted and jailed for the crime they committed.” But you don’t explain why they would take that offer when, as Plowman says and you admit, we can’t threaten anybody with a long enough incarceration to make it desirable to them.

    And you ignore Plowman’s other point — if the problem is the Feds won’t enforce the border or catch illegals, why wouldn’t these illegals just come back after we pay to send them home for a vacation?

    As to the third point, you don’t even try to address it. Is Speakman’s proposal something he said he would implement as Sheriff, or not? Because it seems clear you’d need legislative action to change the possible punishments for crimes people are arrested for. Does the sheriff of Loudoun have the right to summarily dismiss a case against a suspect in exchange for the suspect agreeing to other actions, or is that something that has to first be allowed under law, and then taken to a judge like most plea bargains?

    But instead, you claim you are going to address his third point, and instead of addressing it, you simply assert he’s wrong and attack his professionalism.

    There may well be a very good answer to Plowman’s letter, and a good defense of Speakman’s proposal. If there is, I would have expected to see it linked here, where there is strong anti-illegal immigrant sentiment.

    That this is the best you can do makes me wonder whether the Speakman’s proposal is really any good. And if it is, your defense hurts it; better to leave that to the Speakman campaign, as I would hope they’d do a better job than you did here.

    Note: I have no dog in this hunt, as I’m not in that county and don’t have a vote; I don’t have opinions on the candidates, just on your poor attempt to refute this e-mail.

  9. Charles said on 23 Jul 2011 at 11:33 am:
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    BTW, why do so many people in Loudoun have names ending in “man”? Stockman, Speakman, Plowman? It’s confusing.

  10. Charles said on 23 Jul 2011 at 11:36 am:
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    Oh, and apparently Chapman, and Simpson. (nobody whose name ends in daughter or woman though).

  11. Wolverine said on 24 Jul 2011 at 7:56 pm:
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    Greg L — I wish you would get off this too common canard of the skyrocketing violent crime rate in Loudoun. Yes, we have a violent crime here and there — just had a street rape about five blocks from me last week —; but, on the whole, things are a lot better here than they were five-six years ago. The crime stats for Eastern Loudoun served by the new LCSO substation actually went down about 14-15% over the past six-month reporting period. When that happens in our area, you know things are improving. As someone who has patrolled the streets as Neighborhood Watch during that entire period, I can tell you that Sterling Park in my area is like night and day. Where once we had responding LCSO deputies down here two or three times a night, our NW patrols usually come back now with empty incident reporting sheets. Both the LCSO and NW have been working hard on this, and it doesn’t help to keep getting a bad rap based on yesteryear.

  12. Lovettsville Lady said on 24 Jul 2011 at 10:14 pm:
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    Thanks Wolverine for introducing some facts into the discussion. Granted I live in the country, but Loudoun County seems like a fairly safe place to live.

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