Virginia Is Not for Adulterers

An unserious footnote to the story of Vito Fossella’s mistress and love child: Technically speaking, in her home state of Virginia, adultery is still a crime.

Out of curiosity, I asked a spokesman for the Alexandria Police Department, where Fossella was arrested for D.U.I. last week, about the law, and he said off the top of his head that it sounded correct but declined to speak further about it.

I spoke with Fossella’s D.C.-based lawyer, Barry Pollock, who told me that particular law "has not been enforced in years" and "it could not be enforced. I’m his lawyer and as far as I’m concerned, it’s not a legal issue."

Pollock added, "Legally, it’s not a viable angle. Even if the statue were enforceable, this is not the 1950s. The idea of someone prosecuting it is remote anyway."

"It’s just an old law left on the books," explained Richard Dennis Balnave, who taught Virginia family law at the University of Virginia Law School for 16 years. "It’s a criminal offense in Virginia [but] I’ve never heard of anyone getting prosecuted for it." 

I asked why it was still on the books.

"It’s probably a no-win situation for elected legislative members to take a vote on repealing it or not," he said.