In nearly one month, a former Virginia delegate convicted on charges of bribery and extortion is expected to be released from a Pennsylvania federal prison after serving a nearly 8-year sentence.
On May 11, 2011, a jury convicted former Virginia delegate Phil Hamilton – who resigned in 2009 – for soliciting Old Dominion University for a paid position, and then getting paid in exchange for submitting legislation that funded that position.
Hamilton’s daughter Meredith Archer is emotional about her father, what happened to him, and what has happened to her.
“There was never a day when I was ashamed to be a Hamilton, or to be his daughter, never. That’s why I’ve been able to do what I’ve done, because I have no doubt, because he would have done exactly the same for me.”
Archer always believed in her father’s innocence, even though a jury convicted him.
“I have always had intense pride in the fact that he is my dad. I know what he’s done and what he didn’t do.”
When Meredith visits her dad at Federal Correctional Institute Schuylkill in Minersville, Pennsylvania, or when she talks to him twice a week on the phone like they usually do, they don’t discuss all he’s missed in nearly 8 years.
“We just can’t do that … of course it’s sad, but we don’t talk about that a lot to be honest with you, because you don’t want to bring those things up when he is still in the thick of the situation.”
Meredith is also schooled now in the ways of federal prisons.
“The focus is not about rehabilitation.”
10 On Your Side asked whether she believes her father has been rehabilitated.
“He didn’t need to be rehabilitated, I will be flat honest with you.”
She’s also disappointed with the federal prison bureaucracy. “He could have been home in April.”
She argues the the system has failed to quickly calculate when Hamilton should have been released to home confinement.
“I think 210 days (the time the Federal Bureau of Prisons said it needed to calculate release dates) is enough time to figure it out … again, he should have been out in April.”
10 On Your Side and Meredith figured out in 30 seconds Hamilton’s release dates using raw numbers, and dates.
She is hoping the FBOP takes time off the end of his home confinement part of the sentence, so he is completely done with his sentence September 19.
The Hamiltons like many others are extremely disappointed in the length of sentence U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson gave Hamilton for the crime committed.
At sentencing, Hudson noted he gave Hamilton less than the 12 and a half to 15 years that federal prosecutors sought. However, it is Judge Hudson who could have shown even more mercy to give a sentence more in line with the crime committed.
During the last nearly eight years, Hamilton has been a teacher to other inmates, he has been a model prisoner. Students he once had in Newport News keep in touch with Hamilton thanking him for what he taught them.
“This is the room where my father will be when he is allowed back,” Meredith said, after taking us down the hall of her home to a bedroom where Hamilton will live when on house confinement.
“He would love to go back working at a golf pro shop… and he loves landscaping. It should be noted before Hamilton turned himself in to begin his sentence, he worked at the Kiln Creek Golf Club pro shop, amazingly until the last day before going to prison. He told us back in 2011 that he worked until the last day because working there gave him joy.
A picture of his parents, who are no longer living, won’t be far away, as it sits on a desk in Meredith’s room. The picture will be there welcoming a son, who is coming home. Also on a table is a manual to study to get a Virginia drivers license. Hamilton will need that too.
Meredith hopes her father is allowed to come to her home instead of a half-way house.