Fairfax Co. Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano running for 2nd term

Fairfax County’s top prosecutor will seek a second term in office.

Steve Descano, Commonwealth’s Attorney for Fairfax County, Virginia, announced Thursday he would stand for re-election in 2024. The former federal prosecutor took office in 2020, toppling long-time incumbent Ray Morrogh on the heels of a campaign promising to mitigate mass incarceration and socioeconomic disparities in the county’s justice system.

“I’m proud of the strides we’ve made — things like creating diversion programs that reduce crime, using data to root out disparities, and building a victim-centric prosecution model that focuses on the needs of individual victims,” Descano said in a video posted to his Twitter feed.

“I’m committed to building a broad-based justice system where justice and safety go hand-in-hand.”

As one of several prosecutors elected to local office in 2020 on a progressive platform, Descano sought a data-driven approach to expose biases in criminal justice.

In July 2021, Descano ordered a three-year analysis collecting data on charges, court appearances, plea agreements and sentences, determined to “root out disparities, whether it be racial, economic or geographic.”

Descano’s recent reforms have included directing his office to cease prosecutions for marijuana possession, stop using mandatory minimum sentences in plea deals, and end requests for cash bail.

In a news release on his candidacy, Descano’s campaign listed early endorsements including state lawmakers Sens. Janet Howell, Jennifer Boysko and Barbara Favola, and Dels. Karrie Delaney and Dan Helmer.

Last month, a lawsuit filed against Descano’s office alleged prosecutors mishandled a child molestation by missing a key deadline and then offering a plea deal that upset the victim’s family.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital journalist and editor in June 2018. He is a reporter and photographer focusing on politics, political activism and international affairs.

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