TELL DELEGATE GOODITISTO INVESTIGATE VIRGINIA'S PAROLE BOARD
In 1991, James R. Starkey was sentenced to life plus 52 years in prison for executing Jung Hyun Lee, a Korean immigrant, while robbing his family’s dry-cleaning store. But Starkey is out of jail and no longer even being supervised by parole officers, because Democrats at the Virginia Parole Board were ‘drunk with power.’ And Democrat Wendy Gooditis? She voted to block every effort to keep it from happening again.
Tell Delegate Gooditis to call for a special session in the House to investigate the Parole Board.
DELEGATE WENDY GOODITIS voted against cleaning up the Parole Board, and we’re going to continue holding her accountable.
ABOUT THE SCANDAL
- In July of 2020, the state Inspector General released a six page report inquiring into the process by which Vincent Martin, who was serving a life sentence for killing a Richmond police officer in 1979, was released early by the Parole Board.
o The Inspector General’s report was six pages long and heavily redacted, but concluded that former Parole Board Chairwoman Adrianne Bennett violated state law and the Board’s own policies and procedures in the Martin case.
o As WSET detailed at the time, “The report said the inspector general’s office found the board did not initially notify the Richmond commonwealth’s attorney of Martin’s release within the required time frame. It said the board also did not “endeavor diligently” as required by law to contact the slain officer’s family — who ultimately did have a chance to provide input. And it said the board declined to hear from two people with concerns about releasing Martin.”
- In February of 2021, CBS 6 Problems Solvers published a scathing story revealing that the Inspector General’s full report was actually 13 pages and that the full report “is loaded with details about violations of parole board policy and the law. It includes allegations that the former chair, now Judge Adrianne Bennett, asked at least two employees to falsify a report and violate their own ethics.”
- Facing intense political pressure, Governor Northam in March of 2021 called for an independent investigation of the Parole Board.
- As the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported in April, “Democrats who control the General Assembly rejected a plan for a bipartisan special committee to investigate wrongdoing at the Virginia Parole Board, opting on Wednesday to fund a limited investigation into controversy involving one case.”
- The Times-Dispatch a few weeks later then published a story detailing an audio recording of a meeting where Governor Ralph Northma’s staff tried to influence the state Inspector General’s Office’s investigation into the Parole Board.
- Following the Time-Dispatch’s story, Republicans in the House of Delegates called for a special session to investigate the Parole Board.
- As the Times-Dispatch reported, a spokesman for House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, “did not answer a question Monday about why lawmakers limited the investigation to how OSIG handled one case, as opposed to an investigation that also looks at the broader problems at the parole board.”
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