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Commonwealth of Virginia
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For media inquiries only, contact:  Brian J. Gottstein
Email: bgottstein@oag.state.va.us (best contact method)
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Commonwealth's attorneys present Cuccinelli with "Champion of Justice" award

- Prosecutors thank AG and his office for giving $20 million from criminal forfeiture to pay for statewide prosecutor training in perpetuity -

News release from the Virginia Association of Commonwealth's Attorneys:

RICHMOND (October 25, 2013) -- On Friday, October 25, 2013, the Virginia Association of Commonwealth's Attorneys presented its "Champion of Justice" Award to Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, II, in recognition of his efforts to secure for Virginia's prosecutors $20 million from the Abbott Labs drug asset forfeiture. A memorandum of understanding has been signed by both the Office of the Attorney General and the Commonwealth's Attorneys' Services Council and currently is awaiting final approval by the United States Treasury Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture (TEOAF).

$18 million of this drug asset forfeiture money will be used to establish an endowment, the interest from which will help fund in perpetuity the mandatory training needs of Virginia's 700+ prosecutors. Currently, the cost of this training is paid by localities or out of the pockets of individual prosecutors.

Attorneys in Virginia are required to attend a minimum of 12 hours of mandatory legal training each year. At current rates of return, the interest on this figure amounts to approximately $500-$700 of training per attorney per year.

The remaining $2 million will go directly on a pro rata basis to the individual offices to pay for some urgent equipment and computer needs.

The "Champion of Justice Award" is given annually to a select group of legislators and other state officials who have worked to enhance the criminal justice system and who have demonstrated support for Virginia's prosecutors. This award was one of six awarded by VACA in 2013, and is intended to recognize the Attorney General's efforts on behalf of the Commonwealth's Attorneys over the past two years. VACA is non-partisan, and this award should not be construed as an endorsement of the Attorney General's campaign for Governor.

Commonwealth's attorneys who were present to make the award:
Don Caldwell, Roanoke City
Joel Branscom, Botetourt County
Erin DeHart, Bland County
Harvey Bryant, City of Virginia Beach
Rusty McGuire, Louisa County
Robert Cunningham, Lancaster County
Mike Doucette, City of Lynchburg, Immediate Past President, VACA
and Bob Harris, Executive Director, Commonwealth's Attorneys Services Council

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A copy of this news release may be found on the attorney general's web site here.

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