Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) released the following statement on the data released Wednesday by the McAuliffe administration:
“The delayed, incomplete, and unverified data released by Governor McAuliffe in no way excuses his reckless decision to restore the civil rights of violent offenders and flagrant violation of the Constitution.
“Two weeks ago the McAuliffe administration said the crimes committed by these felons were “unknown” and “irrelevant.” Yet, today they released statistics proving that they do have data on past crimes. We now know that over 40,000 violent felons are now eligible to serve on juries. To call this irrelevant is a direct insult to the victims of these violent crimes. The Governor needs to explain why he thinks violent criminals should have the right to serve on juries that have an obligation to uphold the law.
“The Governor’s office should release whatever information they have on these 40,000 violent offenders. We have publicly called on the Governor to release this information. Media members have made numerous requests under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. If the information is of no consequence as the administration suggests, then there is absolutely no reason not to release it to the public.
“We continue to press forward with our legal challenge. Our legal team is working quickly to prepare a challenge to the Governor’s executive order, and we plan to move forward very soon.”