Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me, goes the old saw.
What about 56 times?
You’d have to ask the Virginia Parole Board about that. Because that’s what happened to them earlier this year when they released a felon with 56 previous convictions That’s exactly what happened to the Virginia Parole Board in the case of David Alan Simpkins.
Convicted of 56 felonies over the years, including 14 instances of armed robbery.
But that’s not all. As the Roanoke Times reported:
“Other charges were more serious. Simpkins was found guilty of abduction with intent to defile in Botetourt County and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
He was also found guilty of forcible sodomy in Botetourt County and sentenced to 60 years in prison.
Not long afterward, a court in Augusta County convicted Simpkins of robbery and sentenced him to 40 years in prison — 26 to be served concurrently with the Botetourt time for forcible sodomy and 16 to be served consecutively, which ought to add up to 76 years in prison.
Simpkins should have been in jail until 2066.
But in 2019, the Parole Board — led by Terry McAuliffe’s hand-picked chairwoman, voted to give Simpkins his 57th chance. Less than a year later, Simpkins did what he always does — tried to rob a store.
This time, as the local Democratic Commonwealth’s Attorney put it, he was stopped by a “brave samaritan” who ended the robbery promptly. Simpkins was sentenced to prison once again.
Most people believe in second chances, something that’s evident in Virginia’s court system. Spend a day in criminal court and you’ll see judges bending over backward to give first time offenders a way out. As one former prosecutor put it, it’s hard to get put in jail in Virginia.
But 57 chances? That’s negligence on the part of the Parole Board. And it’s why Virginians must make a major change in leadership this November.