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Padrick elected to third term on circuit bench

Virginia Beach Circuit Judge H. Thomas Padrick Jr. finally won re-election by the General Assembly Tuesday after his nomination struggled to get approval from the legislature’s courts committees.

Padrick had to overcome opposition from a child victim advocacy group whose lobbyist claimed Padrick had been callous in his handling of a fiercely contested divorce and custody case.

After examining transcripts and other court documents from the 10-year-old case, some legislators concluded the criticism of Padrick was misplaced.

Padrick’s difficulties at the Capitol reflected the growing influence of PROTECT, the lobbying arm of the National Association to Protect Children. The group assembled statistics and brought witnesses to question the sentencing records of sitting judges up for re-election.

Still in play is the bid by Tazewell County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Judge Martha P. Ketron for her first full six-year term.

Her candidacy is opposed by Sen. Thomas K. Norment Jr., R-Williamsburg, because she is the daughter of Sen. Phillip P. Puckett, D-Tazewell.

Even though Norment lost the ability to block her certification as a qualified candidate when control of the Senate shifted to Democrats, Norment is proposing changes to an ethics reform bill that would bar election of judges who are immediate family members of General Assembly members.

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