Del. Morrissey work release revoked, then reinstated with restrictions

Published: Dec. 19, 2014 at 10:23 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 29, 2014 at 11:57 PM EST
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HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A campaign stop means no work on Friday for Delegate Joe Morrissey who spent the entire day in jail.

The Henrico sheriff says Morrissey can go back to his law office on Saturday, but there are conditions attached. Morrissey can only go to his law office. If he wants to go to the General Assembly building or anywhere else, he has to call the sheriff.

The campaign stop in Henrico County Thursday afternoon was done without the sheriff being notified.

"He is an inmate in this jail and he's got to act like one," said Henrico County Sheriff Michael Wade.

Sheriff Wade says it's enough to revoke the delegate's work release and place more restrictions. But when NBC12 talked to Morrissey on Thursday, he defended the appearance.

"It says right here in the agreement I can meet with constituents," said Delegate Morrissey. "It's part of the agreement."

A copy of the work release contract does in fact say that, but the sheriff says there was also a verbal agreement.

"I mean he can go out and meet with constituents if he goes out and tells us where he's going," said Sheriff Wade. "It's all about Joe thinking he can do whatever he wants to do and he can't."

NBC12 legal analyst Steve Benjamin, who does not know all of the specifics about this particular agreement, weighed in.

"When somebody is on jail work release they agree to comply with all verbal orders given by staff no matter what the printed agreement might say," he said. "If the sheriff or his staff imposes a condition that requires someone to advise them prior to any movement then that condition must be obeyed."

The sheriff says Delegate Morrissey disrespected his office.

"You give him an inch and he takes a mile," said Sheriff Wade.

Sheriff Wade says the GPS system shows Morrissey was at another location in downtown and hadn't notified the office about that.

Now, with a firehouse primary scheduled for Monday to pick a democratic nominee for Morrissey's 74th District seat, the sheriff says he has to let the delegate work on his reelection campaign.

"I don't want to put myself in a situation where it looks like I'm preventing him from moving forward with his political career," Sheriff Wade told us.

NBC12 reached out to Morrissey today about the change in circumstances, but his lawyers advised him not to comment. There will be an administrative hearing concerning Delegate Morrissey violating the conditions of his work release, but that won't happen until Wednesday.

The Democratic Party of Virginia says candidates for Monday's firehouse primary need to file by Saturday afternoon.

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