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After Decades, Another Candidate for Commonwealth’s Attorney - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

After Decades, Another Candidate for Commonwealth’s Attorney

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The race for Charlottesville's commonwealth's attorney has been uncontested for decades. But for the first time in a long time, we could see a race with more than one candidate.

Steve Deaton was the city's commonwealth's attorney in the early 90s. When he sought re-election after his first term, he lost the democratic nomination.

Now, he has decided to give it another try.

"I believe it's important to have the community involved in the criminal justice system, and it is the people's criminal justice system," Deaton said.

Deaton says he is ready to give it another shot, but this time he wants to be more involved with the community. "I think, in the city, all the commonwealth attorneys have - myself included - tended to be not so open," he said.

"I think we need to work more on crime prevention and one way to do that is to be out there with the people in the community, talking to people, having programs for people."

The ex-prosecutor also wants to work on restoring the rights of people who have committed nonviolent crimes.

"I believe in punishment but don't handicap them for the rest of their life after they've done their punishment," Deaton said.

As far as the proposal in front of Charlottesville's City Council to take away jail time for marijuana possession, Deaton says he's OK with it.

"If the community decides that that ought to be done through their elected officials, the city councilors, I don't have a problem with that at all," he said.

Current Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Chapman has run unopposed for over two decades. If he runs for re-election, the two will go head to head in the primary election on June 11. But Deaton says he won't think of it as a race.

"I'm not really running against anybody; I'm running for the principles and the issues that I'm mentioning," he said.

Deaton does not have a campaign website yet but says he hopes to have one up and running soon. Chapman says that he will soon formally announce whether he plans to run again.

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