Denise Lunsford officially announces her reelection bid on a freezing February day.
Chance and Trip join their mom's reelection team.
PHOTO BY LISA PROVENCE
In 2007, Democratic newcomer Denise Lunsford upset four-term incumbent Jim Camblos with 53 percent of the vote to take the Albemarle commonwealth's attorney job.
The county's first female top prosecutor wants to hang on to what she calls "the most rewarding job I have ever had." Lunsford announced her reelection bid February 10 in front of the courthouse where she practices, with her family, staff, law-practicing Dems and a phalanx of police in attendance.
During her three years in office, Lunsford has handled several high-profile cases, such as I-64 shooter Slade Woodson, who closed down the interstate in March 2008 during a booze-soaked rampage. She tried a then-20-year-old murder case, charging Alvin "Butch" Morris for the 1988 slaying of Roger Lee Shifflett, whose wife Morris married, a case that ended with a hung jury.
And she decided not to prosecute the seven police officers who blasted cop-car-stealing Colby Eppard, 18, on the first day of 2010, and would not release the number of shots that killed Eppard. "That number was not relevant to my decision to not prosecute," she says. And in other election news, one of the officers who fired on the teen, Greene's Major Randall Snead, has announced his own run for Greene sheriff.
"When I was elected, I promised to provide the highest quality representation in cases important to our community, to improve the public's perception of the commonwealth's attorney's office, to enhance cooperation with law enforcement, and to reach out to members of our community to educate them on ways to live safer lives," said Lunsford.
In working to earn the confidence of the community, Lunsford said she's established guidelines to ensure consistency in prosecutions and her office is accessible to victims, defendants, attorneys and law enforcement.
"I have also worked to be as transparent as possible in my decision-making process and have written open letters outlining my analysis of certain cases important to the community," said Lunsford.
Like many other government offices, Lunsford has seen funding from Richmond chopped, and she took a $32,000 cut to the Board of Supervisors, threatening to stop prosecuting some misdemeanors if the county didn't cough up the difference. She also started collecting delinquent court costs and fines to supplement revenue.
So far, no Republicans have stepped forward to challenge Lunsford in November.