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Morrissey ticketed for speeding, adding to his legal woes

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Posted at 10:54 PM, Jan 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-30 23:37:30-05

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Del. Joe Morrissey was doing his time behind bars at Henrico Jail West Friday evening.

But while he was out on work-release Thursday afternoon, he was pulled over and written a  ticket.

Not necessarily a big deal.  That is, until some parents found out where he was pulled over and just how fast he's accused of going.

Of course, Morrissey has been in the news for months: he was convicted in a sex scandal involving an underage teen and sentenced to six months with six suspended; he won a special election to regain the seat he stepped down from; he was indicted last week on four felony charges including forgery and perjury.

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And he’ll now have to face a traffic court judge.

"If I did that it wouldn't be speeding; it'd be reckless," said Melanie Brown who lives nearby.

A Henrico officer pulled the delegate over for driving 47 in a 25 mph zone on Beal Street, right next to Highland Springs High.

One thing that concerns people living nearby is the number of kids that play and walk along that stretch of road.

Morrissey was written a ticket only for speeding, and not reckless driving, even though he was allegedly going 22 mph over the posted limit.

"If someone cooperates and it's close to reckless, it's not unusual for the officer to use his discretion and give him a speeding ticket instead of reckless," said CBS 6 legal expert Todd Stone.

Morrissey declined a request for an interview, saying, "Get off my lot.  You want to talk about the speeding ticket? Congratulations on the big story."

But some of his constituents say it is big if it deals with safety in their community.  They say speeding certainly involves safety.

"When you're in the public eye, it's the price you pay,” said William Anthony who also lives in the neighborhood.  “The news covers you.  It goes with the territory."

Morrissey’s territory for about the next five months is the General Assembly building, his law office and his jail cell.

Stone says he doesn't believe traffic troubles would add any time to that.

"A six-month sentence is suspended as long as he keeps the peace and exhibits good behavior,” said Stone.  “You don't see traffic troubles normally triggering that suspended sentence."

The document outlining the work-release agreement for the Sheriff's office, has two items, number 4 and 8, which require Morrissey to report the traffic summons to the sheriff.

We are told he did comply, by alerting Henrico Sheriff Mike Wade.