Monday, July 16, 2012

Cuccinelli’s attempt to link Tim Kaine to Jens Soering falls flat

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli called an urgent press conference on Friday July 13 with what he claimed was an alarming finding. There was new information regarding the Jens Soering case as it relates to Tim Kaine.

In 1988 as a private attorney Cuccinelli said Tim Kaine provided a sworn affidavit in support of Jens Soering’s attempt to avoid extradition back to Virginia. He accused Kaine of submitting the affidavit in support of Jens Soering’s lawsuit fighting extradition. Soering was sent back to the U.S after Virginia promised not to execute him.

“It’s pretty shocking in light of Kaine’s roll as governor that he would be on both ends of this case,” said Cuccinelli.

Tim Kaine vehemently denied any connection to Jens Soering prior to his time as governor. The affidavit was pulled from the public record from a different case and inserted by the Soering defense team. CLICK HERE for the affidavit.

In 1985 Jens Soering murdered his girlfriends parents Derek and Nancy Haysom in Bedford County by stabbing them and cutting their throats. Soering was the son of a German diplomat. Soering’s girlfriend Elizabeth Haysom was convicted as an accessory before the fact and is serving a 90-year prison term. Soering is serving two life terms.

Soering and Elizabeth Haysom had fled to the UK where they were arrested for the murders. Soering sued to avoid extradition back to Virginia.

Then Governor Tim Kaine prior to leaving office in 2010 authorized Soering’s transfer back to Germany where he could have been released in as little as two years. Kaine claims that it was to save the Commonwealth the cost of his incarceration.

When Governor McDonnell took office he reversed the transfer and Soering filed a lawsuit against the governor. The Richmond Circuit Court dismissed that lawsuit on July 12. Soering’s council plans to appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court.

Cuccinelli said that Tim Kaine’s affidavit was mentioned in the pleadings to avoid extradition back to Virginia in 1989. “As a technical legal matter Kaine’s prior roll as a witness for the benefit of Jens Soering did not impair his legal ability as governor to try to transfer Soering to Germany even though it had the appearance of a conflict of interest,” said Cuccinelli.

Cuccinelli denied that he was pulling out the affidavit after 24 years because President Obama was campaigning throughout Virginia. He said he discovered it “in an after action review.”

The affidavit focused on the process of extradition back to the United States and Virginia. Cuccinelli said, “[Kaine] was characterizing the American system in as bad a light as he could to get the European Court of Human Rights to block the extradition.”

“Its more a matter of significant public interest then it is of a critical nature of the case that we are defending for the governor,” he said.

Cuccinelli found it troubling that the affidavit was used to block Soering’s extradition and then for Tim Kaine to end up on the other end as governor 20 years later authorizing his transfer back to Germany. “He had a relationship back to Jens Soering and this case,” said Cuccinelli. “That’s what I find so shocking.”

Cuccinelli admitted that “in the realm of possible” that the Soering defense team might have pulled it from the public record. “If that was the case why didn’t he address that when he was doing the transfer?”

From Kaine for Virginia Communications Director Brandi Hoffine: “Governor Kaine wrote this affidavit as an expert witness in a completely separate case that had nothing to do with Jens Soering. Not once does it mention Jens Soering nor does it deal with the specific circumstances of the Soering case. We’ll leave it to the Allen campaign and the Attorney General to use state government resources to play politics in the Virginia Senate election. Governor Kaine is focused on working together with Virginians to strengthen our economy and create jobs.”

In 1988, Governor Kaine served as an expert on Virginia capital procedure in a constitutional hearing initiated in federal court by Virginia capital inmate Joseph Giarratano.

His testimony was limited to a single question–does a Virginia inmate without legal training have the technical ability to competently represent himself in federal habeas corpus proceedings? The affidavit, filed in federal court in Giarratano’s case, became a public court record. It was then available for use by anyone.

Soering’s attorneys submitted it as part of a larger collection of materials in a legal proceeding for Soering. The content of the affidavit does not mention Jens Soering and was not prepared in connection with his case.

The federal lawsuit involving Joseph Giarratano ultimately reached the United States Supreme Court. Governor Wilder later commuted Giarratano’s death sentence to life imprisonment. He sought a release from prison for time served during Governor Kaine’s tenure and was denied.


Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Politics, State Politics

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