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A notice of eviction (via Allan Vega on Unsplash)

Eviction cases continue to rise in Fairfax County as the millions of dollars in financial and legal support allocated during the pandemic run out, county staff say.

Without the nationwide eviction moratorium that ended in August 2021 and federal relief funds, the county’s eviction numbers could have been much higher during the pandemic, staff told the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors at a housing committee meeting on Tuesday (Feb. 27).

However, residents are still struggling due to high housing costs and other challenges like inflation, stagnant wages and a lack of access to higher paying jobs, according to Aimee Garcia, access and economic mobility division director for Neighborhood and Community Services (NCS).

“We still are seeing rent be one of the largest needs across the community,” she said. “We are still seeing needs in regards to shelter, health, housing search…job search…inquiries around Medicaid, subsidized housing and dental.”

Last year, the number of eviction lawsuits (unlawful detainers), legal eviction notices (writs of eviction), and completed evictions were three times higher than in 2021, according to the county’s Eviction Data Dashboard.

In 2023, Fairfax County recorded a total of 7,618 unlawful detainers, 2,961 writs of eviction, and 963 evictions. Some of the most affected zip codes include Hybla Valley and Groveton (22306), Huntington (22303), Lincolnia (22312), McLean west of I-495 (22102), Herndon (20171), Annandale (22003), Bailey’s Crossroads (22041), and Lorton (22074).

Graph showing number of eviction cases in Fairfax County since 2020 (via Fairfax County)

Since the start of the pandemic, the federal government has provided billions of dollars in aid to assist community members with housing, food and other needs through the CARES Act and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

Unlike most Virginia localities that used a state-managed online portal to distribute federal funding, Fairfax County chose to distribute rental assistance directly to residents using its internal social services agency, Coordinated Services Planning (CSP).

The agency initially faced challenges with a high volume of requests and slow processing times. In some cases, individuals waiting for rental and utility assistance through CSP experienced months-long delays.

However, over the past year, CSP Program Manager Luis Rey says the county has expanded access to legal aid, housing resources and rental assistance.

Now, in addition to calling a phone number, renters can submit applications online to CSP to determine their eligibility for rental aid — an option initially limited to landlords. The agency also introduced an estimated wait time and callback feature for applicants.

“They can leave the phone number and they’ll be called back to connect for an assessment,” Rey said.

Additionally, CSP works with the nonprofit Legal Services of Northern Virginia, the courts and Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office to help residents understand their options during the eviction process, Rey says.

Those efforts have helped mitigate the pandemic’s impact, according to Garcia. However, she noted that call volumes are still higher than they were pre-pandemic.

“We do continue to see new cases on a monthly basis at levels that are indicative of the continued need throughout the community,” she said.

To date, the county has distributed $150 million in rental assistance since the pandemic hit in 2020, according to county officials.

The county is still using ARPA funds for eviction prevention and rent assistance, but Deputy County Executive Chris Leonard warns the funds are dwindling, and more local funding may be needed starting next year.

“We’re going to utilize additional ARPA for FY 25,” he told the supervisors, referring to the fiscal year that will start on July 1. “…That will obviously be able to help us support the need, but it will also help us continue to monitor and figure out where we’re going to land with regards to what our need is out there for future rent assistance from the county and from our community partners.”

Photo via Allan Vega on Unsplash

The Fairfax County Adult Detention Center (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office is vigorously denying allegations that a man facing child sexual abuse and porn charges was released from the county’s jail last year in defiance of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer.

In a Jan. 8 press release, ICE accused the sheriff’s office of not honoring a criminal detainer for an unnamed “Honduran national” when the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center released him from custody last July. The federal agency said the man subsequently assaulted a deportation officer during a raid on his Springfield home on Jan. 4.

However, the sheriff’s office issued a statement yesterday (Tuesday) stating that ICE’s press release and subsequent news reports based on the release, which was picked up by FOX5, “are blatantly false.” The office says the man was released after paying $3,000 in bonds set by a magistrate.

“In the three hours this individual was in the custody of the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office, at no time was an ICE detainer or outstanding warrant provided to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center,” the sheriff’s office said.

According to the sheriff’s office, local law enforcement arrested the man on July 18, 2023 and charged him with carnal knowledge and possessing and manufacturing child pornography. ICE attributed the arrest to the sheriff’s office in its press release, but the arrest was actually made by the Herndon Police Department, an HPD spokesperson confirmed to FFXnow.

Per the sheriff’s office, the man arrived at the county jail at 8:45 p.m. that day.

“At that time a full check to determine the existence of any outstanding detainers or warrants was conducted. None existed,” the sheriff’s office said. “Upon being served with the criminal charges, the magistrate immediately gave this individual a $1,000 bond on each of his three charges.”

The man was released at 11:45 p.m. that day after paying the bond.

The sheriff’s office added that it sent “numerous” calls, emails and text messages to ICE officials attempting “to correct this misinformation,” but they went unanswered. It also says FOX5 reported ICE’s story, even though the sheriff’s office had “provided specific information contradicting their narrative” prior to the article’s publication.

ICE and FOX5 didn’t return requests for comment from FFXnow by press time, though the FOX5 story has been updated with the sheriff’s statement.

“The Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office follows all local, state, and federal laws regarding the holding of inmates on outstanding detainers and warrants and routinely works with all public safety agencies to ensure the safety of our community,” the sheriff’s office said in its statement.

The sheriff’s office ended an agreement with ICE on May 28, 2018 that committed it to detaining people in jail past their release date until they’re picked up by immigration authorities. Now, the sheriff requires a detainer indicating that the person is facing criminal charges in addition to an administrative warrant, which reflects only civil immigration law violations.

The county adopted a “Trust Policy” in 2021 formally barring county government employees from sharing information with ICE unless required by law or a court order. Since May 2020, the Fairfax County Police Department has directed officers not to report individuals to ICE based on a civil administrative warrant.

A court hearing in the child porn case was held yesterday and continued to April, according to a Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court clerk.

Fairfax County voters went to the polls today for the 2023 general election (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

(Updated at 12:35 a.m. on 11/8/2023) The Democratic Party’s hold in Fairfax County remains strong, despite Republican efforts to make headway by centering issues from high taxes and “parental rights” in public education to highway tolls.

Preliminary general election results show that candidates supported by the Democrats, either officially or through endorsements, are in line to win every seat on this year’s lengthy ballot — except for Springfield District supervisor.

Seeking a fifth term on the Board of Supervisors, incumbent Pat Herrity is beating Democratic challenger Albert Vega by roughly 14 percentage points, or around 5,000 votes, as of 10:30 p.m. That would be a more comfortable victory than the one Herrity had in 2019, when he edged out Linda Sperling by just 439 votes.

If the current results hold, Herrity will once again be the only Republican on the 10-seat Board of Supervisors, and all 12 Fairfax County School Board seats, along with the county’s entire General Assembly delegation, will be held by Democrats.

Sheriff Stacey Kincaid and Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano are on track for reelection, though about 22% of the ballots cast for the county’s top prosecutor are write-ins. While the results don’t show the names that voters put forward, a write-in campaign for Ed Nuttall — Descano’s opponent in the June Democratic primary — got endorsed by him and the Fairfax County Republican Committee.

In addition, Democrat Chris Falcon, currently the deputy court clerk in Arlington, won the circuit court clerk race with 62% of the vote, even after Republican Gerarda Culipher got endorsed by current Clerk John Frey, who’s retiring after 32 years.

The three open seats on the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District‘s five-person board of directors will also go to candidates endorsed by the Democrats. Voters also approved a $435 million school bond referendum that will fund construction and renovation projects and the installation of security vestibules.

With nearly all precincts reporting, here are the apparent winners of this year’s general election:

Board of Supervisors

  • Chairman: Jeff McKay
  • Braddock District: James Walkinshaw
  • Dranesville District: Jimmy Bierman
  • Franconia District: Rodney Lusk
  • Hunter Mill District: Walter Alcorn
  • Mason District: Andres Jimenez
  • Mount Vernon District: Dan Storck
  • Providence District: Dalia Palchik
  • Springfield District: Pat Herrity
  • Sully District: Kathy Smith

School Board

  • At Large: Ilryong Moon, Ryan McElveen, Kyle McDaniel
  • Braddock District: Rachna Sizemore Heizer
  • Dranesville District: Robyn Lady
  • Franconia District: Marcia St. John-Cunning
  • Hunter Mill District: Melanie Meren
  • Mason District: Ricardy Anderson
  • Mount Vernon District: Mateo Dunne
  • Providence District: Karl Frisch
  • Springfield District: Sandra Anderson
  • Sully District: Seema Dixit

Read More

Voting in the 2023 general election begins tomorrow (file photo)

(Updated at 2:25 p.m. on 11/7/2023) Early voting is over, and Election Day 2023 is less than 24 hours away.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday). Virginia now allows same-day registration, though those voters will cast provisional ballots that are counted and validated later by the Fairfax County Electoral Board.

Mail ballots can be placed at dropboxes at all polling sites throughout the day. They can also still be sent to the Fairfax County Office of Elections (12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 323) but must arrive by noon on Monday, Nov. 13 to be counted. In addition, the voter’s year of birth and the last four digits of their social security number needs to be written on the return envelope in lieu of the previously required witness signature.

As of last Wednesday (Nov. 1), almost 9% of registered voters had voted early in person or returned a mail ballot, amounting to about 64,000 votes, according to Fairfax County election officials. Last time this election cycle came around in 2019, there were 36,584 absentee votes total and an overall 44.3% turnout.

This year’s general election is focused on local and state offices, with every Board of Supervisors, school board and General Assembly seat up for grabs. Vienna is also holding mayoral and town council elections in November for the first time.

Board of Supervisors


McKay, the incumbent, was elected in 2019 after serving as supervisor of the Franconia District — then known as Lee District — since 2008. Citing mental health services and pedestrian safety among his top priorities this year, he faces a challenge from Purves, president of the Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance and a frequent critic of the county’s taxation and spending practices.

Braddock District

No Republican candidates came forward to challenge Walkinshaw, who also didn’t get pulled into the Democratic primary in June. Chief of staff for Rep. Gerry Connolly before getting elected in 2019, he is once again facing off with independent Carey Chet Campbell, a Green Party member who’s now on his sixth campaign for Braddock District supervisor.

Dranesville District

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, who’s retiring after four terms in office, has endorsed Bierman as his successor. The McLean resident and former Dranesville District Democratic Committee chair has identified diversifying the local economy, addressing climate change and creating “viable transportation options” as his top priorities.

Bierman is squaring off with a Livingtston Group lobbyist and former Fairfax County Republican Committee first vice chairman. Calling politicians “out of touch” and “out of control” on his website, Ahluwalia lists his key issues as property taxes, public safety, education, recreation and the pay raise approved earlier this year for the incoming board.

Franconia District

When he launched his reelection bid last year, Lusk told FFXnow that he hopes to continue championing affordable housing, full funding for schools, bicycle and pedestrian safety improvements and criminal justice reform.

Affordable housing is also a priority for Beran, who says he founded the advertising company Advertel. Per his campaign website, the Republican candidate is also focused on public safety, education and creating a “Great American Walk of Fame” to honor war heroes, first responders, historic figures and others along Richmond Highway, among other issues.

Welch, a longtime Springvale resident and former federal government employee, told On the MoVe that his priorities, if elected, would be “keeping the tax rate stable, improving public safety and focusing education dollars for the classroom.” Read More

The Fairfax County Adult Detention Center (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Another person in custody at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center has died.

Latasha Dove, a 53-year-old woman, was found unresponsive in her cell at the jail on Tuesday (Aug. 1) afternoon, the Fairfax County Police Department reported yesterday (Wednesday).

According to the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office, the post deputy called in a medical emergency at 2:27 p.m. Scanner traffic on Open MHz indicates that an Emergency Medical Services team from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department was dispatched for a cardiac arrest around 2:31 p.m.

“The deputy immediately rendered aid until relieved by ADC medical personnel. Rescue arrived and transported the inmate to the hospital,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

Dove was declared dead at the hospital at 3:13 p.m., according to the sheriff’s office.

Dove’s death is now being investigated by the FCPD, as required by county policy.

According to the police and court records, Dove was arrested on July 26 and faced charges of simple assault and property destruction. The assault charge was a misdemeanor, while the destruction of property charge was a class 6 felony, meaning the value of the destroyed property was over $1,000.

Dove remained in custody at the jail after Fairfax County General District Court Judge Mark Simmons set a cash bond for her at a bond hearing on Monday (July 31).

“The judge decided that she was an appropriate candidate for bail yet set a cash bond knowing that she was indigent,” said Fairfax County Public Defender Dawn Butorac, whose office represented Dove. “That means that Judge Simmons found that she was neither a danger to the community nor a risk of flight. It was simply Ms. Dove’s poverty that kept her in jail instead of being in the community. This is a clear demonstration of the perversity of a cash bail system.”

Though Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano has had a policy against seeking cash bail since March 2020, prosecutors objected to the possibility that Dove could be released at the bond hearing, Butorac told FFXnow.

The Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney didn’t immediately return a request for comment. The office recommends defendants be released in 59% of non-violent felony cases, as of March, according to a bond data dashboard launched last fall.

According to the FCPD, foul play isn’t suspected in Dove’s death, but the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine an official cause.

Listed in court records as a Los Angeles, California, resident, Dove is the second person to die while in custody at the Adult Detention Center this summer, following 51-year-old Todd Matthew Gleason’s death on July 4. The jail had three in-custody deaths in 2022.

Before the police department announced its investigation, the sheriff’s office published a news release yesterday about a deputy and nurse’s successful efforts to save an inmate who had overdosed on opioids on July 29.

Inside the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A man who was hospitalized while in custody at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center has died, triggering a police investigation.

Todd Matthew Gleason, 51, died Tuesday morning (July 4) just hours after a magistrate approved his release, according to the Fairfax County Police Department. He was taken to a hospital from the jail on Monday after telling sheriff’s deputies that he had “pain to his stomach and leg,” police said.

Gleason sustained injuries after being hit by a car, an incident that occurred before his arrest, according to the Fairfax County Office of the Public Defender, which was representing him.

Gleason was arrested on June 17 for a petit larceny that allegedly occurred on June 15, according to Fairfax County General District Court records. Mount Vernon District patrol officers also served him a warrant for failure to appear on a felony offense, the FCPD said Wednesday.

“There was no force used during Gleason’s arrest,” the department said. “Following his arrest, Gleason requested to be taken to the hospital for a preexisting injury. Officers facilitated his request, and he was medically cleared by hospital staff the same day.”

However, Gleason was still experiencing medical issues from his injuries while in custody at the Adult Detention Center, the public defender’s office says.

“Mr. Gleason continued to have medical issues from those injuries during his incarceration,” Fairfax Public Defender Dawn Butorac said by email. “He advised his attorneys of such and it is my understanding that he also advised the jail staff as well. It appears that his complaints were not taken seriously until July 3rd.”

That morning, the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office requested an ambulance to take Gleason back to the hospital, according to the police.

Police say a magistrate granted Gleason a release on recognizance at 9:22 pm on Monday, July 3, a date confirmed to FFXnow by a General District Court clerk.

“Any medical complaints are taken seriously and fully addressed by our medical team,” Casey Lingan, general counsel for the sheriff’s office, said.

Noting that the county jail “is nationally accredited by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care,” Lingan said the office can’t provide any information about medical care given to individuals in the facility, citing confidentiality laws under HIPAA and the Code of Federal Regulations.

An autopsy to determine the manner and cause of Gleason’s death is being conducted by Northern Virginia’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The final results could take 12 or more weeks, depending on the complexity of the case, according to the office.

Fairfax County court records show a string of previous charges against Gleason, dating back to Oct. 24, 2020. It’s unclear whether any of them resulted in convictions.

The charges are mostly misdemeanors, including multiple petit larcenies, trespassing, public intoxication and failures to appear in court. There are two felony drug possession charges, most recently for an April 8 offense, and one felony for wearing a mask.

Gleason had been scheduled for an adjudicatory hearing on Sept. 14.

The Fairfax County Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney said it had no comment on the case at this time, but called Gleason’s death “a tragedy.”

No other deaths have been reported at the county jail this year, but three people died while incarcerated last year.

That includes 65-year-old George Redmond and 55-year-old Kyung Pil Chang, who died within two days of each other in late March 2022. Glenn Meyer, who was charged in a Pimmit Hills shooting in 2020, died last July after a medical emergency, police said at the time.

Fairfax County’s General Assembly delegation will look drastically different next year after a pivotal Democratic primary yesterday (Tuesday) that also bolstered incumbents in most county-level races.

In two upsets, Sully District school board representative Stella Pekarsky eked out a win over veteran state Sen. George Barker for the 36th District nomination, while Fairfax Young Democrats vice president Saddam Azlan Salim ousted Sen. Chap Petersen in the 37th District.

Currently in her first term on the Fairfax County School Board after getting elected in 2019, Pekarsky received 52.2% of the vote — just 662 more votes than Barker, according to unofficial results from the Virginia Department of Elections.

First elected in 2007, Barker was pursuing a fifth term in the state Senate. Encompassing Chantilly, Centreville and Clifton, the 36th District was created by the Virginia Supreme Court during the 2021 redistricting process and includes just a portion of Barker’s former 39th District.

In a statement, Pekarsky thanked Barker “for a hard fought campaign on the issues.”

“Our constituents benefited from the conversation and I look forward to uniting behind our shared vision of standing up for Democratic values,” she said. “I am running to stand up for public education, protect abortion access, keep our community safe from gun violence, and build a brighter future for the next generation. I look forward to sharing that message with every voter in the district leading up to November’s election.”

Pekarsky will face Republican nominee Julie Perry, a history teacher, in the general election on Nov. 7.

In the 37th District, which covers Tysons, Fairfax City, Vienna, Oakton, Falls Church and Merrifield, Salim beat Petersen by 999 votes, or 53.8%. He campaigned as a progressive alternative to the more conservative Petersen, challenging the incumbent on issues like gun violence prevention and reproductive rights.

“This was an incredible grassroots movement of constituents all across the district and we achieved this victory together,” Salim said in a statement. “I look forward to being your Democratic nominee and continuing our fight for the issues that we care about: gun violence prevention, affordable housing, reproductive rights and so much more.”

If he wins in November, when he will face Republican nominee Ken Reid, Salim will become the first Bangladeshi-American elected to Virginia’s state Senate, according to his campaign.

First elected to the House of Delegates in 2001 before moving to the Senate in 2008, Petersen presented himself as a business-friendly, “common sense” candidate. In a statement to supporters, he admitted “the results last night were not what we expected but that happens in a democracy,” congratulating Salim on earning the nomination.

“My term in office and my season in politics is coming to a close,” Petersen said. “I want to thank everyone who helped me in any way along this long and winding journey, especially over the last six months. We ran a positive campaign for re-election based on my past record as a Senator. It didn’t work this time and I bear all responsibility.”

Notably, Petersen and Barker both significantly outraised their challengers, reporting over $1 million each in campaign contributions, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. In comparison, Salim raised just $188,653, and Pekarsky got a total of $639,435.

The Democratic nominees in the other General Assembly races on the primary ballot are:

Read More

Early voting is underway at the Providence Community Center (file photo)

(Updated at 12:25 p.m.) Tuesday could be among the most consequential days in recent Fairfax County election history.

Tuesday, June 20 is primary election day, though early voting began in early May. While the general election is set for November, the county is overwhelmingly Democratic, so the candidates who win the primaries will be favored this fall.

With five Board of Supervisors seats, Commonwealth’s Attorney, sheriff, and a number of Virginia General Assembly seats on Tuesday’s ballot, the primary could set the course for the county for years to come.

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors 

While five supervisor seats are on the primary ballot, the two open seats are getting the most attention.

Last August, Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust announced he won’t run for reelection this year, opening the door for two candidates who have emerged to take his place. Jimmy Bierman formerly chaired the Dranesville District Democratic Committee, and David Fiske is on the McLean Citizens Association board. In March, Foust endorsed Bierman for the seat.

Late last year, longtime Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross also said she will retire. Now, four candidates are vying for the vacant seat. They include Congressional staffer Jeremy Allen, Mason District Planning Commissioner Andres Jimenez, local business owner Steve Lee, and local business owner Reid Voss.

Jimenez is currently considered the frontrunner for the seat, winning a straw poll by Fairfax County Democratic Committee straw poll in March. His endorsements include actor Jane Fonda, whose political action committee also weighed in on three local General Assembly races yesterday (Thursday).

However, Voss supporters have accused him of being absent from his duties on the planning commission.

In other races, Board Chairman Jeff McKay is facing a primary challenge from retired CIA staffer Lisa Downing, while incumbent Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck is on the ballot against grassroots leader Martiza Zermeno.

In addition, two candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination to take on Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity in November. Herrity, the board’s only current Republican, doesn’t have a primary challenger.

County firefighter John Nowadly has a number of notable endorsements, including from McKay, Rep. Gerry Connolly and several local state senators. Local tech entrepreneur Albert Vega is endorsed by Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano, who is facing his own challenge on Tuesday.

Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney and Sheriff

The primary race between Descano and prosecutor-turned-defense attorney challenger Ed Nuttall for the Commonwealth’s Attorney may be the most hotly contested on this year’s ballot.

Since announcing his candidacy back in February, Nuttall has criticized how Descano manages the office as well as not appropriately supporting victims of crimes. During a joint appearance on the WAMU show The Politics Hour, Descano accused his opponent of associating with “MAGA, antisemitic conspiracy theorists,” while Nuttall responded by calling the incumbent “incompetent” and a “liar.”

The Washington Post has endorsed Nuttall, while Descano has endorsements from Connelly, Rep. Don Beyer, former governor Terry McAuliffe, and five county supervisors, per his website. He also has the support of musician John Legend.

Another notable race on the ballot is for Fairfax County sheriff, where former D.C. police officer and current Herndon High School football coach Kelvin Garcia is challenging Stacey Kincaid, the county’s first female sheriff. Read More

The Fairfax County Adult Detention Center (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) A law clerk and former D.C. police officer who also coaches freshman football at Herndon High School has launched a primary challenge against Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Kincaid.

Kelvin Garcia announced yesterday (Wednesday) that he will campaign for the Democratic nomination, positioning himself as a more progressive alternative to Kincaid.

Kincaid confirmed to FFXnow in December that she will seek reelection. She became the county’s first female sheriff when she initially took office after winning a special election in 2013.

“To me, there are two sides right now to the Democratic Party on the ballot this year,” Garcia said, as reported by the Washington Post. “There’s the old-world moderate and the progressive who wants to build a future for everyone.”

In addition to serving as an assistant freshman football coach for the Herndon Hornets, Garcia works as a law clerk for the firm Liberty Legal LC after spending a decade as a D.C. police officer from 2008 to 2019, according to his LinkedIn page.

According to the Post, Garcia decided to campaign for sheriff based on concerns about Kincaid’s management of the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, stating that he would make the first 30 minutes of inmates’ phone calls to family members free and house individuals based on their gender identity rather than sex.

The sheriff’s office currently classifies inmates based on their genitals.

A transgender woman sued the sheriff’s office in November 2020, alleging that she experienced discrimination and harassment while incarcerated at the county jail. A federal appeals court panel ruled in August that gender dysphoria is a condition protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act, allowing the lawsuit to continue.

In a press release issued today (Thursday), Garcia said the county needs to “invest in people as they leave our facilities to break the revolving door that brings them right back” into the criminal justice system.

“Our system has let too many people fall through the cracks for far too long, and these problems start at the top,” Garcia said. “It’s time for a fresh perspective in Fairfax County — a perspective that will support every member of our community and leave no one behind. I’ll be honored to lead that effort.”

The primary election will be held on June 20, with general elections on Nov. 7.

Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve T. Descano outside the Public Safety Headquarters (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano is gearing up for what may be the most heated local election race in 2023.

The first-term chief prosecutor, who defeated a longtime incumbent in 2019 on the strength of a progressive platform, is planning to seek reelection next year, a representative for Descano confirmed to FFXnow.

An official announcement is expected to come soon, another spokesperson said.

Over the last three years, Descano has championed reform policies including a diversion program for those who commit non-violent crimes, increased transparency of bond hearing data, and an end to cash bail.

Like Arlington’s Parisa Dehghani-Tafti and Loudoun’s Buta Biberaj, who were also elected in 2019 as reform advocates, Descano has been accused of being “soft on crime” and mishandling certain cases, with those involving sexual violence receiving particular scrutiny. He was also the focus of two recall campaigns last year.

In a statement to FFXnow, Descano touts his record as a “progressive” who has helped the county become “the safest jurisdiction of its size anywhere in the country, saying he’s been “encouraged by many over the last year to continue this work.”

​​I plan on making an announcement soon regarding the 2023 election. Since first being elected in 2019 I have worked each day to deliver safety and justice for our community. I’m proud of what we have accomplished, delivering progressive criminal justice reform including investments in “next generation” diversion programs, increased use of Veterans Treatment and Mental Health dockets, creating a Red Flag Law team aimed at getting guns out of someone’s hands who poses a danger, and leading a more transparent office by the launch of a public Data Dashboard on our work.

These and other reforms have helped deliver a justice system led by our values all while making Fairfax County the safest jurisdiction of its size anywhere in the country. I have been encouraged by many over the last year to continue this work. I am grateful for that encouragement and also for the widespread community support that has resulted in us having over $100,000 in campaign funds on hand one full year prior to the next election. This shows the strength and breadth of the support from those that want to keep Fairfax County’s justice system moving forward.

Four years ago, Decano was part of a wave of Northern Virginia progressive prosecutors to be elected as their localities’ top law enforcement officer.

In Arlington, Dehghani-Tafti launched her reelection campaign late last month. Biberaj hasn’t yet declared her intentions for next year.

Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Kincaid is also planning to run for reelection in 2023, she told FFXnow by email, though she didn’t elaborate on her reasoning.

Kincaid was first elected in 2013 in a special election, becoming the first woman to lead the office in its nearly three centuries of existence. She was reelected in 2015 and 2019, so this will be her fourth time running. Read More


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