Three current or former prosecutors — two Republicans and one Democrat — have announced their candidacy for Chesterfield County commonwealth’s attorney within days after William “Billy” Davenport retired July 1 after three decades at the helm.
A special election for Davenport’s replacement will be held on Nov. 6, the same day as Virginia’s general election. Candidates have until Aug. 17 to file, said Chesterfield Registrar Constance Tyler.
A special election is required because Davenport retired a year and a half before his current term expired. The winner of the special election will have to run again in 2019 for a full term that will commence in 2020. Since two of the candidates are seeking the county GOP’s nomination, a nominating process soon will have to be held .
“The nominating process hasn’t been determined yet,” Chesterfield GOP Chairwoman Tara Carroll said Monday, adding that the party will decide the selection method in seven days.
In alphabetical order, these are the candidates who so far have announced they are running:
John Childrey is Chesterfield’s chief deputy commonwealth’s attorney. He has been endorsed by his former boss and a long list of local and state Republican politicians , including Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox and Chesterfield state Sen. Amanda Chase.
Childrey, 50, who announced he was running soon after Davenport announced he was leaving, has been practicing law since 1993. After working for two law firms in downtown Richmond, Childrey was hired as an assistant Chesterfield prosecutor in January 1998.
He left in 2012 to join then-Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s office as deputy attorney general for public safety and enforcement, where he oversaw 175 employees with a budget of more than $20 million. After Cuccinelli’s term expired in 2014, Childrey, who is running for the Republican nomination, rejoined the Chesterfield Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office .
“I have been fortunate to have played a leading role as a public safety professional for over 20 years,” Childrey said on his campaign website. “During this time, I have had experiences that leave me uniquely qualified to be Chesterfield’s next commonwealth’s attorney.”
Stacey Davenport is a Henrico County assistant commonwealth’s attorney, who has “intentionally focused her entire career on criminal justice” since graduating from law school in 2002, according to her campaign website.
Davenport, who is no relation to Billy Davenport, has served as a public defender in Richmond, owned her own firm representing clients throughout central Virginia and worked as a prosecutor in Essex County for two years before joining the Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office in 2016, she said on her website.
Davenport, who also is seeking the Republican nomination, wrote on her website that, if elected, she would again have the office prosecute all jailable offenses in Chesterfield, including misdemeanors. “I believe that every criminal offense in our community deserves attention and advocacy from the office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney,” she wrote.
Billy Davenport stopped assigning prosecutors to handle most misdemeanor cases in lower court beginning May 1, citing an understaffed office and the added burden of reviewing police body camera footage.
In her platform statement, Davenport said she not only will have staff again handle misdemeanor cases, but direct them to “diligently review all” police body camera footage and share it with defense attorneys. Davenport is pledging to work with the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors and the Virginia General Assembly to “find the best answers for addressing staffing issues created by this technology.”
Scott Miles is a Chesterfield defense attorney who has practiced law for 22 years, including stints as a legal aid attorney, public defender and Richmond prosecutor.
In a press release, Miles, 50, who is running as a Democrat, said he is running on a platform that emphasizes the aggressive prosecution of violent crime, while referring nonviolent offenders to rehabilitative programs. If elected, Miles said he plans to implement a prosecution program “that will make the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office more responsive to a large and increasingly diverse county.”
Miles also said he will lobby the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors “to restore funding for the prosecution of misdemeanor cases” in Chesterfield.
Miles is being endorsed by Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Herring and Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon Taylor, both Democrats.
“The Chesterfield Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office has been under the same leadership for the past 30 years,” Miles wrote. “Best practices in criminal prosecution have evolved during that time, as has our community. The county has grown and become more economically and ethnically diverse, presenting new challenges that the commonwealth’s attorney must be prepared to meet.”