by Ned Oliver
Delegate Joe Morrissey is serving a six-month sentence in Henrico County Jail for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He also just won re-election to the House of Delegates.
Because a judge granted Morrissey work release, he can serve in the General Assembly by day and sleep in jail at night.
Morrissey, whose curfew on election night was 8 p.m., would have learned the results while in his cellblock, either via a television or pay phone.
While Morrissey wasn't available for comment, his opponent, Democrat Kevin Sullivan said he is disappointed by the result but proud of his campaign, which he launched and ran on short notice.
Morrissey, a Democrat who ran as an independent, announced he was resigning his seat on Dec. 18 -- a week after his conviction. But during the same press conference, he also announced his candidacy in the special election to replace him.
Morrissey’s colleagues on Capitol Square had roundly called for his resignation. And even though he’s won re-election, he still faces the threat of expulsion.
"There are a number of options available to the body to address questions of conduct regarding its members," House Speaker William Howell said in a statement Tuesday night. "We will begin the process of assessing these options in order to determine the appropriate path forward."
The General Assembly's session begins Wednesday, when, presumably, Morrissey will be sworn in by Howell.
Investigators said Morrissey had sex with a then-17-year-old receptionist at his law office in Highland Springs. Morrissey has maintained his phone was hacked by the girl's lesbian ex-lover, who he says planted the evidence against him.
He's continued to deny guilt, entering an Alford plea in the case, meaning he hasn't admitted guilt but acknowledged there was enough evidence to convict him.
This is the second time Morrissey has held public office while serving a jail sentence. In 1992, he was sentenced to five days in Richmond City Jail while he served as the city's commonwealth's attorney. The sentence followed a courthouse brawl with an opposing attorney.