Parisa Dehghani-Tafti is the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Arlington County and the City of Falls Church. Parisa was first elected to a four-year term in November 2019. She came to the office of Commonwealth’s Attorney with a twenty-year record of criminal justice reform as an innocence protection attorney, a public defender, and a law professor. Parisa sought the Office because, in her own words, "I always knew what I hoped for in a justice system, and so I finally decided to live inside that hope."
As The Commonwealth's Attorney, Parisa’s core philosophy is that safety and justice are not opposite but complementary values and that a prosecutor's primary responsibility is to treat crime as crime and people as people. Parisa has long recognized the impact of the criminal legal system on people of color and is committed to highlighting, addressing, and reversing these disparities. She has turned these values into policies of safety and justice for all, including providing fair discovery, eliminating peremptory strikes in juries, not requesting cash bail, not certifying children as adults, staffing the only Conviction Review Unit in Virginia, establishing a new mental health docket, expanding drug court, reducing the jail population to its lowest in history, securing indictments and convictions in all serious crimes, creating a novel restorative justice program for young people, and helping to win more than $ 700,000 in criminal justice grants to Arlington and the City of Falls Church.
Prior to being elected Commonwealth’s Attorney, Parisa served as an innocence protection attorney representing innocent individuals in DC, Virginia, and Maryland incarcerated for crimes they did not commit, as a public defender litigating cases of constitutional magnitude, and as a law professor helping train the next generation of criminal law attorneys.
Parisa earned her B.A. in Philosophy and Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley, and her J.D. from New York University School of Law. She resides in Arlington with her family. She enjoys reading Jane Austen and James Baldwin and has an abiding attachment to Star Trek.