Incumbent Joe Platania has served as Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney since 2018. Platania attended Providence College before joining the Jesuit Volunteer Corps where he was a teacher. He then attended Washington and Lee University School of Law and, following his 1998 graduation, defended death row inmates in Richmond. He later became one of the first attorneys at the Charlottesville-Albemarle Public Defender’s Office in 1999. In 2003, he began working for the Charlottesville Commonwealth Attorney’s Office. He and his wife have two children.
Platania advocates for criminal justice reform. One of his top priorities was introducing community prosecution to Charlottesville, which, similar to community policing, requires prosecutors to get to know their community members. It also encourages opportunities for community involvement in the criminal justice process and seeks to create avenues for community input and participation. It works so that prosecutors’ success rates are determined by the community's safety and quality of life rather than overall conviction rates.
Platania has also worked to decrease the number of people incarcerated and the length of time spent in jail. During the pandemic, in particular, he worked to reduce the number of individuals in jails and prisons, reducing many felonies to misdemeanors and prioritizing alternatives to incarceration. He particularly prioritizes de-escalation and diversion practices at the policing level in hopes of decreasing the overall number of individuals arrested by the police, and accordingly, conviction rates. He serves on the “Imagining A Just CVille” working group, which is focused on helping the city implement more equitable policing.
Serving as the board president of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Drug Treatment Court, Platania has worked to ensure drug use and mental health issues are handled fairly by the courts. One of his priorities is expanding the city’s mental health docket so that individuals are able to receive mental health treatment, support, and rehabilitation, rather than incarceration. Since being elected, he expanded the program to include felonies, not just misdemeanors. Platania also supported the legalization of marijuana.
Additionally, he’s a strong advocate for restorative justice practices, particularly for youth. He helped implement a day reporting center in Charlottesville as an alternative to incarceration. Platania also started a program called “Books Behind Bars,” which allows individuals at Charlottesville Albemarle Regional Jail to receive college credit through University of Virginia while incarcerated. Platania has also served as an advocate at the General Assembly, supporting progressive legislation like death penalty abolition, and records expungement processes.
Joe Platania is running unopposed in the general election. However, due to his support of criminal justice reform, he is a progressive choice for this seat.Last updated: 2021-09-15Incumbent Joe Platania has served as Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney since 2018. Platania attended Providence College before joining the Jesuit Volunteer Corps where he was a teacher.Incumbent Joe Platania has served as Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney since 2018. Platania attended Providence College before joining the Jesuit Volunteer Corps where he was a teacher.
Democratic candidate for governor, Terry McAuliffe, was the 72nd Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2014 to 2018. McAuliffe was unable to seek reelection in 2017 due to a state law that bars sitting governors from serving consecutive terms.