Things must be a little prickly in the Chesterfield County Courthouse.
Judy L. Worthington, clerk of circuit court, has filed a petition for a writ of prohibition and a writ of mandamus against Chief Judge Michael C. Allen over the designation of Aubrey M. Davis Jr., an attorney and former prosecutor in the county, as a marriage celebrant.
According to the petition, Worthington directed her staff in October to remove from the list of celebrants on the clerk of court page on the Chesterfield County Web site those celebrants who had not been authorized to perform marriages by the court. Davis’ name came off the list as a result.
Last month, Allen entered an order, citing Virginia Code Sec. 20-25, authorizing Davis to perform marriages. The order also directed Worthington to add Davis to the list of celebrants “on the Court’s and/or Clerk’s website(s)” once Davis enters into an unsecured bond of $500 as required by the code section.
Worthington has refused to comply with the order. She notes that she has no information that Davis has posted the bond and cites Code Sec. 17.1-275(A)(18) as requiring Davis to pay her office the $10 fee that can be assessed “[f]or all services rendered by the clerk in any court proceeding for which no specific fee is provided by law.”
After Allen responded in a handwritten note that Sec. 20-25, in effect, supersedes Sec. 17.1-275(A)(18), Worthington retained Roanoke attorneys William B. Poff and Frank K. Friedman to file the suit. It was served on Allen on Dec. 1 and filed with the Supreme Court yesterday.
In addition to making the statutory argument, Worthington also contends that Allen has no authority to order her to post anything on the county, as opposed to the court, Web site.
By Alan Cooper