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Assembly elects judges

The reappointment or election of 24 judges and two members of the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission was the last business of the 2009 General Assembly tonight.

Both houses adjourned for the year about 8:45 p.m. after the reappointments and elections.

The reappointments were Fairfax Circuit Judge Gaylord L. Finch Jr. and the five general district judges who had been caught in the crossfire between the General Assembly and the Supreme Court of Virginia over the confidentiality of the judicial performance evaluation reports: David L. Williams and Timothy Wright of Chesapeake, Bryant L. Sugg of Newport News, Birdie H. Jamison of Richmond and Colleen Killilea of the 9th Judicial District.

The reappointment of Finch had been delayed because of complaints raised by litigants who said they felt that Finch had handled their cases in a cursory manner.

Circuit judges appointed to a first term were:

Mary Jane Hall, a partner at Kaufman & Canoles, to the vacancy created by the retirement Judge John S. Morrison Jr. in Norfolk.

Hampton General District Judge Bonnie L. Jones to the vacancy created by the retirement of Circuit Judge William Andrews.

Gloucester General District Judge R. Bruce Long to the vacancy created by the retirement of 9th Circuit Judge William shaw.

John V. Cogbill III, a partner at McGuireWoods LLP in Richmond, to the vacancy created by the elevation of Chesterfield County Circuit Judge Cleo E. Powell to the Virginia Court of Appeals.

Prince William General District Judge Craig D. Johnston to the vacancy created by the elevation of Circuit Judge Rossie D. Alston Jr. to the Virginia Court of Appeals.

General district judges appointed to a first term were:

Philip J. Infantino Jr., a partner at Pender & Coward PC in Norfolk to the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Robert Carter in Chesapeake.

Steven C. Frucci, a partner at Stallings & Bischoff PC, to the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Edward Hudgins in Virginia Beach.

M. Woodrow Griffin Jr., a sole practitioner in Hampton, and Tonya Henderson-Stith, a partner in McDermott, Roe & Walter PC in Hampton, to the vacancies created by the elevation of Judge Bonnie L. Jones to the Hampton Circuit Court and the retirement of Judge Edward Knight III.

Pamela O. Evans, a commissioner of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, to a vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Robert D. Laney in Chesterfield County.

Richard A. Claybrook Jr., deputy commonwealth’s attorney in Rockingham County, and Amy B. Tisinger, a prosecutor in Shenandoah County, to vacancies created by the retirement of Judges Norman deV. Morrison and Marvin Hillsman Jr. in the 26th District.

Richard C. Patterson, a partner in the Tazewell firm of Gillespie, Hart, Altizer & Whitesell PC, to the vacancy created by the death of Judge Greg Matney in the 29th District.

Juvenile and domestic relations district judges appointed to a first term were:

Michelle J.L. Atkins, an attorney with Abrons, Fasanaro & Sceviour in Norfolk, to a vacancy created by the elevation of Jerrauld Jones to Norfolk Circuit Court.

Deborah S. Roe, a partner at McDermott, Roe & Walter in Hampton, to the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Nelson Durden in Hampton.

R. Michael McKenney, commonwealth’s attorney in Northumberland County, to the vacancy created by the retirement of J. Maston Davis in the 15th District.

H. David O’Donnell, a sole practitioner in Harrisonburg, to the vacancy created by the retirement of Marvin Hillsman Jr. in the 26th District.

Michael J. Bush, commonwealth’s attorney in Russell County, to the vacancy created by the failure to elect Judge John M. Farmer in 2008 in the 29th District.The legislature reappointed lay member Olivia Welsh to JIRC and appointed Richmond Circuit Judge Bradley B. Cavedo to the seat vacated by Judge Cleo E. Powell when she was appointed to the Court of Appeals.

Local delegations were unable to agree on candidates to fill several vacancies, including seats in the 9th and 10th circuits and general district seats in the 25th and 27th circuits. If the legislature can’t settle on candidates for those seats at the assembly’s veto session, Gov. Tim Kaine will be responsible for filling the circuit positions and circuit judges the district seats.

By Alan Cooper

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