Tysons, VA

Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney-elect Steve Descano has revealed his first two planned appointments.

Descano announced last Wednesday (Nov. 27) that he intends to have Terry Adams, a private defense attorney in Arlington, take on the role of Chief Deputy, lauding his 14 years working on criminal and civil cases in Virginia.

“A clear and well-respected leader, Terry is a proven litigator with years of trial experience in Northern Virginia,” Descano said in the press release. “In addition, he would bring a well-rounded background and unique perspective to the position that will prove vital in helping to transform and lead this office forward.”

Previously, Adams worked in the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office and was on active duty in the Marine Corps for eight years, according to the press release.

Descano also announced that he plans to promote Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jessica Greis Edwardson to Deputy.

Greis Edwardson started working in the office of the commonwealth’s attorney in Fairfax County in 2009, where she was the first dedicated domestic violence prosecutor, according to the press release.

More from the press release:

She currently represents the Commonwealth in the prosecution of all violations of criminal law, specializing in homicides, sex crimes against children and adults, child pornography and exploitation cases, and domestic violence.

Ms. Greis Edwardson has been co-chair of the Fairfax County Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team since 2009, and serves on the County’s Domestic Violence Prevention Policy & Coordinating Council. She has trained judges, attorneys, law enforcement, advocates, and community service providers on criminal and civil legal issues in her areas of specialization.

Prior to joining the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, Ms. Greis Edwardson spent three years at Legal Services of Northern Virginia and two years at Potomac Legal Aid Society, representing domestic violence victims in all aspects of domestic relations litigation, and supervising and training staff attorneys. Ms. Greis Edwardson also spent two years at a private law firm.

“I am extremely proud to announce Jessica Greis Edwardson, Esq. as my choice for Deputy in the Office of Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney. I respect and thank Ms. Greis Edwardson for her service to this community and her eagerness to continue to do so. Her experience, specifically in this courthouse with the toughest cases, makes Ms. Greis Edwardson a clear choice for leadership. As we establish an appropriate path forward for this office’s growth, structure, and policies, I know Jessica will be essential,” said Mr. Descano.

Both Adams and Greis Edwardson are immediately named to the Descano Transition Team. Mr. Adams will be leading the division of the Transition Team that is primarily focused on office personnel and structure. Ms. Greis Edwardson will serve within that division.

Additional announcements regarding Office leadership are forthcoming.

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This op-ed was submitted by Steve Descano, the Democratic nominee for Fairfax County’s Commonwealth’s Attorney and former prosecutor for U.S. Department of Justice under the Obama administration. It does not reflect the opinions of Tysons Reporter. We publish op-eds and letters to the editor of specific interest to the Tysons community. Contributions may be edited for length or content. 

The national conversation on immigration can be debilitating. While national politics on this issue is a catastrophe, local District Attorneys can implement policies in their offices to protect our immigrant communities.

Fairfax County’s next Commonwealth’s Attorney (Virginia’s version of a District Attorney) will lead a criminal justice system larger than seven states and the District of Columbia. The foreign-born population of Fairfax County makes up about 30% of its population of 1.1 million.

Where you come from doesn’t give you less of a right to fair treatment under the criminal justice system. Additionally, because prosecutors have the potential to touch so many when it comes to immigration, they must take the lead.

Immigrant populations are often vulnerable to a criminal justice system that does not treat them in the same way as non-immigrants. If we want Fairfax County to continue to be welcoming and for diversity to be a central characteristic of the community, then those values need to be reflected in the criminal justice system.

District Attorneys can change the way their offices interact with ICE and other immigration officials. I have promised not to assist ICE. This paradigm shift will increase public safety.

For example, domestic abusers regularly exploit their victim’s immigration status to stop the victims from reporting abuse, thereby trapping their victims in a recurring cycle of domestic violence. Allowing these victims to report their abuser without having to fear their own deportation gives them a real opportunity to escape continued victimization.

Regardless of the crime committed, when undocumented individuals feel that they can report crime to the police, our communities are safer. Instead of sowing distrust between immigrants and law enforcement, public safety demands that we ensure everyone feels protected.

Charging and plea guidelines in a DA’s office can also affect undocumented communities. Considering the immigration consequences of charging and plea decisions is critical to ensuring equality and opportunity. If two people commit the same minor offense, but only one’s punishment includes the breaking up of their family via deportation, the result is unequal treatment based on status.

Furthermore, deporting parents and removing them from their children for minor offenses serves no social good. It merely creates more hardship and exacerbates inequality.

For too long, the criminal justice system has been skilled at breaking up families and systemically fostering criminal behavior. This failure has taken the most vulnerable down with it.

As prosecutors, we have the opportunity to build up communities by rooting out the systemic causes of crime. We should be leaders in our communities in bringing equality to immigrants even if we can’t reform immigration policy nationally.

— Steve Descano

Photo via Steve Descano/Facebook

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Jonathan Fahey, a former federal prosecutor, has thrown his hat into the race for the commonwealth’s attorney position in Fairfax.

Fahey worked on drug, gang and white-collar crime cases as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, but resigned last month, the Washington Post reported.

He is listed as an Independent candidate for the spot, according to Fairfax County candidate information.

Fahey served as general counsel for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy last year, according to his LinkedIn. He also was an adjunct professor at American University’s law school and the George Washington University.

Fahey lives in the Falls Church area of Fairfax County near Belvedere Park, according to the Fairfax Bar Association.

Fahey will face off against former U.S. Department of Justice prosecutor Steve Descano, a progressive candidate who ousted Raymond Morrogh in a close race for the Democratic nomination.

The general election is Nov. 5.

Photo via Jonathan Fahey/LinkedIn

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The primaries today (June 11) for Tysons-area voters will determine the Democratic nominees for two Virginia Senate seats; the Hunter Mill District, Providence District and chair for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors; and the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Any registered voter can participate in the primaries. Polls opened at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

Here’s a refresher on who the Democratic candidates are for each race:

Board of Supervisors chair:

Providence District seat on the county board, which covers Tysons and Merrifield:

Hunter Mill District seat on the county board, which covers Vienna:

District 31 in the Virginia Senate, which encompasses McLean:

District 35 in the Virginia Senate, which encompasses Falls Church:

Commonwealth’s Attorney:

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