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Numerous prosecutors are seeking judgeships.

Byline: Peter Vieth

Eight Virginia commonwealth's attorneys were among the 63 candidates interviewed for vacant Virginia trial court judgeships that could be filled in the current General Assembly session. Another five of the prospective judges are working as prosecutors.

But would-be judges come from a variety of legal backgrounds, as revealed by interviews Dec. 7, Jan. 25 and Feb. 8 before members of the Assembly's courts committees.

Some are already on the bench, hoping to move from the district level to circuit court. Many are lawyers already wearing robes part-time as substitute judges at the district court level. One is a Southwest Virginia solo who earned a law license after reading the law supervised by a practicing attorney. Another is a circuit court clerk.

The group includes 24 women and at least 10 persons of color. "This is a pretty diverse group that's interviewed," said Senate Courts chair Mark D. Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, who presided over many of the judicial interviews.

Commonwealth's attorneys up for judgeships were James P. Fisher of Fauquier County, Holly B. Smith of Gloucester County, Edward K. Stein of Alleghany County, Christopher Billias of Rockbridge County, Christopher B. Russell of Buena Vista, James E. Plowman of Loudoun County, Darrell W. Puckett of Appomattox County and Theresa J. Royall of Nottoway County.

Other prosecutors who interviewed are Lori B. Galbraith of Chesapeake, Stephanie M. Ayers of Bedford, Darby Lowe of Charlottesville, Elbert D. Mumphery IV of Hopewell and Angela M. O'Connor of Spotsylvania County.

The law reader under consideration for a Juvenile and Domestic Relations judgeship is Kimberly M. Jenkins of Gate City. She studied the law under the supervision of lawyer Michael Carrico, she told lawmakers Feb. 8.

Licensed for 12 years, Jenkins has worked as the district director for U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., according to Griffith's website.

In the Feb. 8 round of interviews, only two judgeships had competing candidates, where the local delegation was undecided. One was the Augusta County circuit judgeship vacated by the December retirement of Judge Victor V. Ludwig, with Paul A. Dryer and Humes J. Franklin III both interviewing.

The other was the vacancy to be created when Fauquier County Circuit Judge Jeffrey W. Parker retires Nov. 1. Both Loudoun County Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Plowman and Leesburg attorney Lorrie A. Sinclair Taylor interviewed for Parker's seat.

'Unqualified' rating

One candidate for an expected general district judgeship in Patrick County picked up opposition weeks after his interview with legislators.

Martinsville City Attorney Eric H. Monday received unfavorable votes from two local bar associations. He was deemed "unqualified" in Feb. 7 evaluations by the Patrick County Bar Association, according to bar president Christopher A. Corbett. Then, on Feb. 11, a majority of those voting at a Martinsville-Henry County Bar Association meeting said Monday was "not qualified," according to the Martinsville Bulletin.

Corbett said the negative review by the Patrick bar was the product of two factors: Monday's decision not to take part in the evaluation process and the bar's view of his qualifications. Corbett declined to elaborate.

Martinsville attorney Kelli A. Krumenacker said in a Feb. 9 email to area legislators that the Patrick County evaluation was the product of "personal, underhanded, dirty politics" stemming from Monday's campaign against Corbett for Patrick County commonwealth's attorney 20 years ago.

The Martinsville-Henry County voting on Monday's candidacy included 20 "not qualified" votes, six "highly qualified" and five "qualified," according to the Bulletin.

Monday could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Latest candidate list

The complete list of candidates interviewing Feb. 8 for judgeships included:

Henrico County J&DR Judge Randall G. Johnson Jr. for the circuit bench

Henrico lawyer Lauren A. Caudill for the J&DR bench

Henrico lawyer Sharon G. Jacobs for the J&DR bench

Prince William County General District Judge Angela L. Horan for the circuit bench

Clifton lawyer Turkessa B. Rollins for the general district bench

Fairfax lawyer Dontae L. Bugg for the circuit bench

Fairfax lawyer Susan F. Earman for the general district bench

Jenkins for the J&DR bench

Warren County General District Judge William W. Sharp for the circuit bench

Rockingham County assistant county attorney Rachel E. Figura for the J&DR bench

Warren County Circuit Court Clerk Daryl L. Funk for the J&DR bench

Dryer for the circuit bench

Franklin for the circuit bench

Stein for the circuit bench

Billias for the general district bench

Russell for the general district bench

Staunton lawyer Susan B. Read for the J&DR bench

Plowman for the circuit bench

Taylor for the circuit bench

Virginia Beach lawyer Sandra L. Sampson for the general district bench

Halifax County General District Judge James W. Watson Jr. for the circuit bench

Kenbridge lawyer Calvin S. Spencer Jr. for the general district bench

Farmville lawyer Jody E.H. Farris for the general district bench

Puckett for the general district bench

Hampton lawyer Gregory C. Bane for the J&DR bench

Hampton Chief Public Defender Rebecca M. Robinson for the Newport News J&DR bench

Newport News lawyer Jeffrey C. Rountree for the J&DR bench

Hopewell lawyer Elbert D. Mumphery IV for the general district bench

Hopewell lawyer Christopher B. Ackerman for the J&DR bench

Waverly lawyer Wallace W. Brittle Jr. for the J&DR bench

Richmond lawyer Thomas Stark IV for the 11th District general district bench

Royall for the J&DR bench

Albemarle-Charlottesville J&DR Judge Claude V. Worrell II for the circuit bench

Culpeper lawyer Gilbert H. Berger for the J&DR bench

Fredericksburg lawyer William E. Glover for the circuit bench

O'Connor for the general district bench

Richmond lawyer Brice E. Lambert for the J&DR bench

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Title Annotation:Virginia
Author:Vieth, Peter
Publication:Virginia Lawyers Weekly
Date:Feb 18, 2019
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