Camblos Indicts Political Opponent on Election Eve

I’ve described commonwealth’s attorney Jim Camblos as a bully, and he proved it this evening: Camblos has charged political opponent Debbie Wyatt with violating the Magna Carta. Seriously. As Rob Seal and Bob Gibson write, there’s a rarely-used common-law charge known as “embracery,” and Camblos says that the prominent local attorney committed it by offering to a grand jury to take the stand to testify for a client. But there’s no crime in Wyatt’s alleged deed. It’s not embracery without “corrupt intent” — that is, a plan to bribe a juror.

Wyatt, preparing to retire, has become a vocal opponent of Camblos’ in the past few months. For more on Wyatt’s remarkable career, see Meg McEvoy’s 2006 profile of her.

14 thoughts on “Camblos Indicts Political Opponent on Election Eve”

  1. Camblos prosecuted someone who had an accident while having a seizure, i.e. a person with a disability, and didn’t prosecute a healthy young woman who had a bug in her car and killed 3 people?
    The person who had a seizure while driving would have had to give up their license under state law for a period of time in any case, but the young woman who killed 3 people got a speeding ticket 2 weeks later because she was still driving?

    I was mistaken, it isn’t 2007.

  2. …Looks like it was an outside prosecutor doing this case, not Camblos. So it might not be totally fair to say he charged her with violating the Magna Carta. Though he might have started the ball rolling on these charges.
    Also looks like the timing of this was coincidental in terms of election day. It was almost three years ago when this stuff happened. Hard to believe they planned it out so the indictments would be unsealed the day before Camblos is up for reelection.

  3. It’s commonplace to have a friendly outside prosecutor appointed. I’ll be curious to find out who it is. Though it’s certainly possible that a disinterested third party came up with this bizarre indictment — and just happened to deliver it the evening prior to the election? The Progress points out that the national criminal lawyers group has condemned the charge. That paper should win some kind of an award for managing to get this story in before the presses started rolling.

  4. quote, Daily Progress >> “Albemarle Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Camblos initiated the unusual case by referring it to a special prosecutor for investigation.”

    This arrest comes as no surprise to me. Debbie will prevail and the entire thing can be added to the “Greatest Hits” list of Jim Camblos.

    The public still has no clue what the Criminal Justice System & Associates are capable of.

  5. While Camblos has his share of problems, Wyatt has IMHO her own set of problems with veracity and honesty. Strong defense attorneys are admirable. Steve Rosenfield, Fran Lawrence and Lloyd Snook are ones that come to mind that will fight to the death for a client…but I don’t think ANY of them have ever tried to influence a Grand Jury. I would be rather careful in painting her as a “victim” of Camblos.

  6. It will be interesting to see whether or not the NEW commonwealth’s attorney follows through on this.

    Say goodnight, Jim, you’re done.

  7. It’s in the hands of a special prosecutor and judge. Lunsford will have nothing to do with Wyatt..and should not. Wyatt is going to find her “friends” in the local bar few and far between. As for Camblos, he’ll be in the Redland Club drowning his sorrows. Both are history and the local law scene will be better for it.

  8. While I could not vote in the county, my family members and friends could. And they did. Even before her victory tonight all I had requested of Denise Lunsford is that she weed out the cops who are known as habitual liars and deal with them. This little handful of habitual liars makes the entire department look bad.

  9. Jeeperman, what in the world are you talking about? These foolish charges against Debbie Wyatt will be dismissed before they even go to trial. And as far as her “friends” at the local bar, everybody is sitting around laughing their butts off over this embracery charge. Including local attorneys.

  10. The law – is the law – is the law! If she did something wrong (and it is and has been out of Camblos’ hands) she will be held to the law standard. Not liking Camblos has nothing to do with her innocence/guilt. The process eventually works – look at Duke Univ.

    She wanted the grand jury to know that her client at the time had a seizure that day? Unless she was competent medically to make such judgement and was on hand for the alleged seizure she should not have tried to chat with the jury. The jury was not under Camblos’ authority but another prosecutor.

  11. If the law – is the law – is the law, why wasn’t the driver in the Deane fatalities charged by Camblos? The driver ran into a car, knocked the car off the road and killed 3 people. There were definately questions about speed and skid marks before and after the contact between the two vehicles. Many of these questions never exposed to the public by Jim Camblos or the Albemarle County police department. And the same driver was allegedly stopped for speeding 75 in a 55 mph zone several weeks later after this crash resulting in the 3 fatalities.

  12. I’m refering to the action with Ms. Wyatt – not the accident. Your points about the accident are absolutely on mark – he lost the election because of it and other instances of arrogance. However regardless of motive if he sensed a violation of law (Ms. Wyatt) he is bound to do something about it. Time will tell. Note that two others (prosecutor & judge) seemed to agree that an investigation should go forward.

  13. Exactly, Jack. Why isn’t anyone up in arms about Judge Hogshire appointing a special prosecutor? About said special prosecutor moving forward with the case? About a grand jury indicting Ms. Wyatt on such charges? And, about the bar association changing its mind and waiting for the trial outcome before making a decision (which one could infer means the association’s thinking: “Well, maybe she IS guilty here.”)? Camblos may be a bully and a jerk, but all this whining sounds like a “he started it” fit.

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