A hearing for Norfolk Circuit Judge Charles D. Griffith Jr. has been moved from tomorrow to March 3, when senators as well as delegates will participate.
Legislators had placed a hold on his appointment to a second term and gave him an opportunity to present his case for staying on the bench.
The earlier date was set by the House, and the refusal of Courts of Justice Chairman Henry L. Marsh III to bring his colleagues along that day was a source of irritation for his Republican predecessor, Sen. Kenneth W. Stolle of Virginia Beach.
Griffith’s principal obstacle to reappointent appears to be the rebuke the Supreme Court of Virginia delivered in Wilson v. Commonwealth in reversing a drug conviction.
The court said Griffith’s response to what he viewed as judge-shopping by defense attorney Allan D. Zaleski “raised concerns about the judge’s impartiality in the case and about the public’s perception of fairness in the case.” Some criminal defense attorneys believe that Griffith, who was the city commonwealth’s attorney when he was appointed to the bench, remains too prosecution-oriented.
Griffith’s appearance will coincide with interviews of candidates for more than 20 vacancies the legislature will have the opportunity to fill before adjournment on March 8. Election of the new judges is set for March 5.
Things could get hectic and acrimonious unless local delegations get much of their horse trading done the March 3 meeting.