Prosecutors urge VA Supreme Court to side with Loudoun County's commonwealth's attorney

Prosecutors are urging the Virginia Supreme Court to side with Loudoun County's Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj after a judge removed her entire office from a case last month. 

An amicus brief filed in the Virginia Supreme Court was signed by 62 current and former elected prosecutors and attorneys. They say the judge’s ruling was an "unconstitutional infringement on separation of powers."

The organization Fair and Just Prosecution filed the brief blasting the judge who removed Biberaj from a burglary case after the judge said the prosecutor mislead the court to try to get a better plea deal for the defendant.

RELATED: Loudoun County Commonwealth's Attorney faces new scrutiny

The group of prosecutors — which includes D.C.'s Karl Racine and Prince George's County's Aisha Braveboy — stated that if the court allows this decision to stand, it would create a "slippery slope" for further judicial intrusion into the power given to prosecutors and the rights of voters to determine their own vision for safety and justice.

"The Loudoun County community elected someone who promised to…bring a new vision of how to allocate resources and promote public safety," said Miriam Krinsky, executive director of Fair and Just Prosecution, and the organizer of the brief. "This order threatens that community’s vision and, in doing so, sets a dangerous precedent around eroding the will of voters and intruding into discretion uniquely vested in our nation’s and Virginia’s elected prosecutors." 

"It is completely out of bounds for a judge to throw an entire prosecutor’s office off a case simply because he disagrees with decisions that are squarely within the exercise of established prosecutorial discretion," she continued. "The voters of Loudoun County elected CA Biberaj because of her commitment to roll back the harms of decades of tough-on-crime policies championed by her predecessor, who also happens to be the judge in this case. Any effort to prevent her from carrying out that vision is not just an attack on her discretion, but also an infringement on the will of the people who put CA Biberaj in office. It is essential that the Virginia Supreme Court recognizes the sanctity of separation of powers and allow CA Biberaj to carry out the work she was elected to do without judicial interference."

Biberaj addressed the judge's decision to remove her office from the case at a press conference days after FOX 5’s Lindsay Watts broke the story about the judge’s ruling.

While the judge claimed the prosecutor mislead the court and downplayed the suspect’s criminal past to get a more lenient plea deal, Biberaj said the judge had no authority to disqualify her office from the case and said she’ll appeal the ruling to the Virginia Supreme Court.

"They need to direct the Circuit Court in Loudoun County to nullify that order because it was without authority and more importantly, it was without an opportunity for the parties to be heard," Biberaj said.

The order was issued by Judge James Plowman who is the former Republican commonwealth’s attorney for the county.

The case involves Kevin Enrique Valle, a man accused of committing 12 burglaries over ten days in four Northern Virginia counties.

"Mr. Valle is a 19-year-old boy," Biberaj said. "He could be your son, he could be your brother, he could be your child’s playmate."

Loudoun County judge removes Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office from criminal case

The judge says the prosecutor didn’t disclose the burglary cases outside of Loudoun and downplayed Valle’s criminal past. Biberaj defended the 6-month plea deal based on the knowledge her office had at the time.

Plowman ordered the Fauquier County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office to take over the case.

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares wrote a letter to the chief judge saying his office would step in to prosecute or assist with the case if necessary.

"This is a specific message to Attorney General Miyares. Stay in your lane," Biberaj said at the start of the press conference.

She went on to criticize Miyares’ work as an attorney saying, "he can't find his head out of a bag."

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She also said what’s happening is political.

"Ask yourself these questions: What’s going on in these courts and who is the driving force behind it?" Biberaj said.