Jim Gilmore on Crime

Senate challenger 2008; previously Republican Governor (VA)


Reformed the juvenile justice system as attorney general

Gilmore touted his accomplishments and experience as “what a real record is in law enforcement.” He cited his four years as Henrico County commonwealth’s attorney. Gilmore said that as attorney general and governor, he reformed the juvenile justice system, helped put an end to a rash of black church burnings, provided money for more school resource officers and pushed a program to provide more substance abuse treatment for drug offenders.
Source: 2008 VA Senate debate reported in The Roanoke Times , Sep 19, 2008

Endorsed by four County sheriffs

Four sheriffs, including Bedford County’s Mike Brown and Radford’s Mark Armentrout, endorsed Gilmore on Tuesday.
Source: 2008 VA Senate debate reported in The Roanoke Times , Sep 19, 2008

Declined to intervene in execution of Bobby Lee Ramdass

Within three months of his release on parole, Bobby Lee Ramdass committed six armed robberies, one attempted murder, and two murders. Ramdass committed the murder for which he ultimately received the death penalty during the course of a robbery on September 2, 1992. Ramdass entered a convenience store and ordered the clerk to open the store safe, then shot the clerk in the head.

As a result of crimes committed during this robbery, Ramdass was convicted of capital murder, robbery, and illegal use of a firearm in the commission of the murder, and was sentenced to death. The convictions and death sentence were upheld on multiple appeals including Ramdass’ most recent habeas corpus petition concerning his right to a jury instruction on parole ineligibility, which the Supreme Court denied on June 12, 2000.

Upon a thorough review of the Petition for Clemency, the numerous court decisions regarding this case, and the circumstances of this matter, I decline to intervene.

Source: Statement Regarding the Execution of Bobby Lee Ramdass , Oct 10, 2000

Executed foreign national despite international protests

The brutal case of Angel Breard was a Paraguayan national convicted of knifing his neighbour in Arlington, Virginia to death. Breard was sentenced to death and executed in 1998. Before his execution, Paraguay took his case to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, seeking a stay on grounds that the defendant’s human rights were breached when he was not granted access to his country’s consul. Although Madeleine Albright, the Secretary of State, made a plea for Breard, the Supreme Court refused to stop Virginia.

The principle that a judge in Virginia can thumb his nose at The Hague with impunity is a very American one. The death penalty enjoys the support of a majority of Virginians and James Gilmore, the state’s governor, was acting in the tradition of the Declaration of Independence. Gilmore argued that “a stay of execution would have the practical effect of transferring responsibility from the courts of the Commonwealth and the US to the international court.”

Source: Amity Shlaes in Jewish World Review , Sep 13, 2000

Three strikes eligibility no grounds for stay of execution

Q: Virginia is scheduled to execute Bobby Lee Ramdass on Aug. 17. Procedural rules led the judge to decline to inform the jury of Ramdass’ ineligibility for parole under our “three strikes law” and three jurors have now declared they would not have voted for death if they had known that Ramdass would have been ineligible for parole. Comments?

A: As governor, the review of each capital case is one of my more weighty responsibilities. Be assured that I examine each case on its individual merits. If the law is not permitted to be enforced, what do we have left, except the rule of the strong over the weak? I have not yet reached any conclusions regarding that case.

Gov. Gilmore issued a press release on the Ramdass case on Oct. 10, 2000, concluding, “Upon a thorough review of the Petition for Clemency, the numerous court decisions regarding this case, and the circumstances of this matter, I decline to intervene.” Bobby Lee Ramdass was executed December 6, 2000 by Lethal Injection.

Source: Washington Post Q&A, “Campaign 2000” , Jul 31, 2000

Death penalty sets standard to not tolerate ghastly murders

Q: Virginia is scheduled to execute Russel Burket on the Aug. 30th, and Derek Barnabei on Sept. 14th. Russel Burket is mentally ill, and Derek Barnabei has compelling claims for his innocence. Do you think a temporary halt to executions is in order to examine these crucial issues in other sentences?

A: Where a legitimate issue of innocence exists [in capital cases], I will not hesitate to order new tests or to examine new evidence. Innocent people are not being executed in the US, largely because of the thorough system of trial and review by the courts and review by the executive branch up until the day of execution. No moratorium is called for in Virginia. I support the death penalty because it sets a standard that says that we will not tolerate these ghastly murders that not only kill people, but destroy families forever. Efforts to undermine the rule of law threaten the destruction of civilization itself.

[Russel Burket was executed on Aug. 30. Derek Barnabei was executed on Sept. 14.]

Source: Washington Post Q&A, “Campaign 2000” , Jul 31, 2000

Supports flexible federal block grants for crime programs.

Gilmore adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

NGA’s Position

Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA10 on Sep 14, 2001

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Page last updated: Mar 12, 2016