The most important role of a Commonwealth’s Attorney is to seek justice in every case, with every victim, and with every defendant. In seeking justice, the Commonwealth’s Attorney is to treat each and every single person who is a part of a case fairly and justly. A prosecutor must take into consideration each unique set of facts and circumstances, within each matter. In the end, it is the role of a Commonwealth’s Attorney to instill confidence in the criminal justice system, and this is achieved by being fair and impartial. This is why I have been involved in our community – and the lives of the next generation – in various ways, well before my desire to seek public office, including:
- Rule of Law Program
- Coaches in the Classroom
- Hill-Tucker Pre-Law Conference
- The Vietnamese American Youth Leadership Conference
- Delta Omega Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.- Male Protégé Program
- Virginia Asian Chamber Legislative Summit
- Richmond Preparatory Academy
- Lakeside Youth Baseball
- The Guiding Light Program
- Vietnamese Student Association at VCU
It is time to make the Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office an integral component of the entire community we serve. My family’s history and background provide me with the proper perspective on the importance of community-based public safety policies. The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office is accountable to these communities, and as such, need direct avenues of communication and feedback from citizens. Enacting these priorities will work towards rebuilding trust in our court system, trust with our public safety stakeholders, and trust in our community. I will work with all of our citizens to make Henrico County a safe, vibrant place to live, work, and raise our families in the following ways:
- Establishing a hiring panel to ensure the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office does not repeat the firing of over 125 years of law experience – a process which disrupts the public safety system. The panel will also hire based upon qualifications, experience, and character.
- Hosting a town hall each year in each magisterial district, ensuring accountability to all Henrico citizens.
- Assigning a deputy to each district, providing transparency and accessibility to all Henrico citizens.
“The message had to be sent to these gang members that if you commit a crime under the umbrella of being a gang member . . . you’re going to be punished for that, too. You can’t use that gang thing to intimidate the ordinary citizens in the community.” –Tony Pham (Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2006)
Each case presents itself differently. Justice at times may mean protecting the public by seeking the longest possible sentence for a particular offender. Other times, justice means protecting the community by fashioning a resolution to the matter which assists in redeeming the offender to enable him or her to be a better citizen – instead of a better criminal. As the only candidate in this election who has actually spent a part of his career working inside a correctional facility, I believe I have the best understanding of the sentencing mechanisms in the criminal justice system. There is no better system of justice than a system which possesses a variety of alternative sentencing options. This permits the Commonwealth’s Attorney the opportunity to fashion a sentence which is fair based upon the facts of each case. However, the sentence fashioned must also be fair to the victims and the community at large. In addition, as the only candidate who has worked inside of a correctional facility, I have witnessed in-person the value of restorative justice. My experience working in a local correctional facility provides me the insight to understand the difference between individuals levied with long-term sentences in the state correctional facility, and those inmates in our local facilities who will certainly be released back into the community. Restorative justice achieves the ultimate goal of preparing local inmates for their immediate transition back into our communities. My vision is simple: If you have the power to imprison someone, then you have the power to make a difference in their lives.