Three African American residents of Virginia filed suit Friday contending that their constitutional rights were violated by the process recently used to pick a Democratic challenger to convicted Del. Joseph D. Morrissey (D-Henrico).
Morrissey was recently found guilty of a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. In a special election held Jan. 13, he won decisively against both a Republican and the Democratic Party’s chosen challenger.
The House Democratic caucus is deeply divided over what to do with Del. Joseph D. Morrissey, the jailed Democrat-turned-independent who comes to the legislature by day on work release.
Just a few weeks ago, after Morrissey was convicted in a sex scandal involving an underage receptionist, Democrats were united in the belief that he should be expelled, according to three members who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive internal matter. But some Democrats have changed their minds since Morrissey won reelection to his seat Tuesday.
To be clear, late-night votes might be a bit of a problem for Joseph Morrissey, the newly sworn-in Virginia House delegate who must report to his jail cell about 7:30 each evening.
But Mr. Morrissey — embroiled in a scandal involving sexual relations with a minor — appears undaunted. After resigning his seat in disgrace last month, Mr. Morrissey, a former Democrat, ran in the special election as an independent, handily beating challengers from both parties. He won nearly 43 percent of the vote on Tuesday, in a largely minority district that twists through various counties near Richmond.
Joseph D. Morrissey left his jail cell Wednesday morning and headed to a tiny office cluttered with boxes next to the state Capitol, where he took an oath of office to serve in the Virginia House of Delegates.
For the oldest continuous lawmaking body in the New World, this was new drama: a jailed legislator who makes laws by day on work release and gets locked up by night.
Joseph D. Morrissey was reelected Tuesday to the House of Delegates, opening another chapter in a made-for-TV-movie-style drama likely to captivate the General Assembly session starting Wednesday.
Running as an independent, Morrissey defeated Democrat Kevin Sullivan and Republican Matt Walton. The heavily Democratic district mostly spans the Richmond suburb of Henrico County.
Legislators from across Virginia return Wednesday to a Capitol where the issues of campus sexual assault, ethics reform and a budget shortfall await — along with a jailed state delegate who won election Tuesday night and hopes to legislate by day while on work release.
After Del. Joseph D. Morrissey’s win, the House is expected to move quickly to begin proceedings to expel or otherwise discipline him. He had resigned after being convicted last month of a misdemeanor connected to his relationship with a 17-year-old receptionist who worked in his law office.
Henrico County police visited state Del. Joseph D. Morrissey’s law office Monday evening, hours before the Richmond Democrat is scheduled to face voters in Tuesday’s special election, the delegate confirmed.
Morrissey said the police were executing a search warrant, but he declined to offer details. Neither police nor prosecutors immediately responded to calls seeking comment; nor did they publicly confirm the reason for the search.
A new radio ad highlighting Del. Joseph D. Morrissey's recent conviction has added more fuel to an already controversial special election set for Tuesday.
In the one-minute spot Democrat Kevin Sullivan released on Thursday, the father of the young woman Morrissey allegedly had sex with warns voters that "Joe Morrissey cannot be trusted."
The controversy around Del. Joseph D. Morrissey’s resignation and the Jan. 13 special election for his seat presented a rare opening for Republicans in the 74th House of Delegates district.
Matt Walton, an educator and Sunday school teacher from Henrico County, is determined to take it.
The special prosecutor who gained a misdemeanor conviction last month against Del. Joseph D. Morrissey, D-Henrico, now is urging revocation of Morrissey’s license to practice law.
Spotsylvania County Commonwealth’s Attorney William Neely said he was expecting to meet with prosecutors from the Virginia State Bar Thursday to review his files on Morrissey’s case.