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Cuccinelli decries ‘felony creep,’ will study restoration

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has appointed a bipartisan panel to study ways Virginia might streamline the restoration of civil rights for nonviolent felons without amending the state constitution.

Proposals endorsed by Gov. Bob McDonnell to amend the constitution to provide for automatic rights restoration foundered at the General Assembly. Cuccinelli has named eight people to a committee to look for alternative methods of restoring rights for ex-cons.

Cuccinelli said he remains concerned about “ratcheting up several low-level offenses from misdemeanors to felonies – what I have called ‘felony creep,’” he said in a news release.

“There should be a way for willing individuals who want to regain their place in society to be forgiven, be given a second chance, and to pursue a path to regain their civil rights, Cuccinelli said.

Committee members are Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney Harvey Bryant; Dinwiddie County Commonwealth’s Attorney Lisa Caruso; George Mason associate university counsel Anne Gambrill Gentry; Paul Goldman, former senior advisor to Governor Douglas Wilder; Norfolk lawyer Henry Howell III; Center for Community Corrections president Donald Santarelli and former deputy attorney general Ashley Taylor Jr.

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