Chesterfield County Deputy County Attorney Stylian “Stel” Parthemos has been honored by the Local Government Attorneys of Virginia, Inc. with the 2013 Cherin Award for Outstanding Deputy or Assistant Local Government Attorney, presented at the association’s recent spring conference in Roanoke.
Parthemos has been with the county attorney’s office since 1987; he became deputy county attorney in 2010.
Chesterfield County Attorney Jeffrey Mincks nominated Parthemos for the award, describing him as “unflaggingly loyal and completly committed.” Parthemos’s expertise includes a number of substantive legal areas, including personal injury, insurance, risk management, public utilities, employment discrimination, complex construction disputes, elections, Freedom of Information Act inquiries, and building code violations.
The Cherin Award was established in 1994 and renamed in 2000 to honor the memory of Bob Cherin, an outstanding local government attorney who served in the Fairfax County Attorney’s Office for 25 years.
Tags:Awards and Honors·Chesterfield County
Virginia lawyer and bar leader Mike Pace will become full-time general counsel for Roanoke College, the school has announced.
Pace, who spearheaded the effort to bring Rule of Law education to Virginia middle schools, will remain “of counsel” at Gentry, Locke, Rakes & Moore, the Roanoke firm where he was managing partner for 13 years.
He will join Roanoke College full time on July 1 and will work from the president’s office, the school said in a news release.
Pace is a former president of the Virginia Bar Association and the founder and president of The Center for Teaching the Rule of Law which located its offices on the Roanoke College campus last year.
Earlier this year, Pace was recognized by the VBA as the recipient of its Gerald L. Baliles Distinguished Service Award.
William & Mary’s law school has the “playbook” on pro bono help for military veterans struggling to get government benefits, says U.S. Sen. Mark Warner.
The Virginia Democrat is urging Senate colleagues to push the W&M model on law schools in their home states to provide “tangible assistance” to veterans on complex claims.
The Lewis B. Puller Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic harnesses “the energy and skills of law students” to help veterans preparing “some of the most difficult VA benefits claims,” Warner said in a May 14 letter.
The letter follows Warner’s April 22 communication to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs suggesting the agency find ways to partner with the W&M law school to duplicate the efforts of the Puller clinic elsewhere.
There is a backlog of some 600,000 claims for benefits at the VA.
Former Virginia Attorney General Anthony F. Troy has been hired to represent Gov. Bob McDonnell in the politically flavored criminal case against a former chef in the state Executive Mansion.
McDonnell is not charged in the case, but the chef’s defense lawyers have raised allegations ranging from misuse of kitchen resources to unreported gifts from a political supporter.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch obtained a copy of a letter from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli appointing Troy and his firm, Eckert Seamans, to serve as special counsel to the office of the governor.
Troy’s hourly rate is $250, with bills to be sent to the governor’s office, according to the letter.
Megan Frederick has been under fire since winning a close election last fall as Culpeper County commonwealth’s attorney. She was seen by some local attorneys as an outsider who displaced a long-serving local prosecutor.
She reported security breaches in her office, including a menacing note taped to a door. She began carrying a handgun on her hip.
One local lawyer accused Frederick of lying about her residency when she registered to vote in Culpeper County. A special prosecutor appointed to investigate found the charge unfounded.
In the latest dustup, a probation officer reportedly accused Frederick of getting rough with her in an incident last week in the county Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, according to The Free Lance-Star.
No charge has been filed. Frederick denied the accusation and accused the county sheriff of a pattern of harassment and obstruction in disclosing the matter.
Now, the clerk of the J&DR court has entered the fray. Clerk Bethany Tharpe McClanahan has reportedly barred Frederick from the J&DR clerk’s office. The Free Lance-Star says McClanahan reportedly sent a letter to Frederick saying her privileges in the office have been suspended, although other prosecutors were not affected.
Note: This item was changed May 15 to correct the description of the alleged elections law violation.
A Louisa woman gets another chance at a false arrest claim against a police officer who entered her home after her ex-husband requested a check on their 11-year-old daughter.
The officer arrested the woman for battery, but Virginia law allows corporal punishment and the officer could not automatically assume that any touching of the child by the mother justified the arrest for battery, the 4th Circuit U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a May 7 decision in Pleasants v. Town of Louisa.
Police earlier escorted the father during a visitation exchange between the parents, who were fighting over custody. During a later encounter, the father asked an officer to go with him to check on his daughter, who reportedly was screaming and crying in the background when the mother refused to allow the two to talk on the phone.
When the officer appeared at the mother’s door, she told him and her ex-husband to leave. The officer could see the daughter standing about 10 feet inside the doorway. As the mother tried to close the door, the officer entered to talk to the girl.
The mother sued in Charlottesville U.S. District Court under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming unlawful entry and false arrest. Under the “peculiar procedural posture” of the case, the 4th Circuit upheld summary judgment for the officer on the unlawful entry claim, but reversed dismissal of the false arrest claim.
No clearly established law prohibited the warrantless entry, said 4th Circuit Judge Dennis W. Shedd. Without case law that defines the boundaries for an “exigency” for an emergency-aid exception to the warrant requirement, the officer had qualified immunity.
The law surrounding the false arrest claim raises other issues. The officer said he knew the mother had touched her daughter twice – a slap on the hand and a grab of the wrist.
Under Virginia law, a parent may use corporal punishment on a child, and “any touching of a child by a parent cannot automatically create probable cause for arrest,” the appellate panel said.
Even though Virginia law recognizes the “slightest touching” as a battery, some touching of a child by a parent “must be legally permissible,” Shedd wrote.
“A parent must often use de minimis force to reprimand or even protect his children, and such force cannot always lead to the possibility that a police officer can arrest the parent,” the court said in its unpublished opinion. The panel said it was not trying to define the level of force for probable cause to arrest, but simply stating that “application of de minimis force by a parent does not automatically create probable cause for arrest.”
The panel reversed dismissal of the false arrest claim and remanded for further proceedings.
Federal appeals court judges – and one former U.S. Supreme Court justice – are dining with Gov. Bob McDonnell this evening.
McDonnell is hosting a reception and dinner for the judges of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in honor of former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
O’Connor is sitting with the 4th Circuit this week as the court hears oral arguments from Tuesday through Friday. The docket includes another Obamacare challenge, the First Amendment status of Facebook “likes,” and a Confederate flag dispute in Lexington. Which court panels will include O’Connor will not be known until the panel makeup is revealed on the morning of argument.
The cost of the judges’ dinners at the executive mansion tonight is being paid by the court and its judges, according to a McDonnell spokesperson. The dinner is in being held to honor O’Connor, as was a similar dinner when O’Connor sat with the 4th Circuit in 2009, the spokesperson said.
Dozens of law firms, legal departments, government offices, and law schools joined together to raise more than 1.5 million pounds of food for Virginia’s hungry during the seventh annual Legal Food Frenzy in Virginia.
The results of the two-week drive in April brought the cumulative seven-year total raised to the equivalent of more than 10 million pounds of food for Virginia’s food banks, surpassing this year’s goal. The total raised since the inception of the Frenzy is 10,017,511 pounds.
The Frenzy is a statewide competition and collaboration between the attorney general’s office, the Virginia Bar Association, and the Federation of Virginia Food Banks.
“Virginia’s food banks supply food to charities every day to feed the hungry, especially children and the elderly,” said Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. “Many of the charities that food banks supply don’t just give food away. They try to help people learn new job skills, find jobs, and break the chains of poverty that hold them down.”
“We continue to see staggering numbers of individuals in need of food assistance,” said Leslie Van Horn, executive director for the Federation of Virginia Food Banks. “This food and funding comes at an extremely critical time for all seven food banks throughout the state,” she said.
For the third year in a row, the firm of B. Cullen Gibson from Norfolk took overall first place by raising 17,550 pounds per employee, and as a result, won the Attorney General’s Cup.
In addition to thanking the food drive coordinators and representatives across the state, Cuccinelli offered special thanks to Leslie Van Horn and the Virginia Bar Association’s Food Frenzy co-chairs, Chris Gill of Christian & Barton; Derek Swanson of McGuire Woods, LLP; Virginia Robinson of DynCorp International, LLC; and Lauren Wheeling of Williams Mullen for organizing the campaign. The attorney general also thanked the Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Association for serving as the campaign model more than 22 years ago in the Hampton Roads area and allowing the legal community to use their model throughout the state.
The winners of the 7th Annual Statewide “Legal Food Frenzy”
Attorney General’s Cup Winner: Per Capita: B. Cullen Gibson (Norfolk) – 17,550 pounds per person
Small (1-20) Law Firm: Total Pounds: “The Brunswick Stew Award” – Murphy & McGonigle, P.C. (Richmond) – 30,036 pounds
Small (1-20) Law Firm: Per Capita: “The Shenandoah Apple Award” – Amy G. Pesesky PLC (Norfolk) – 3,125 pounds per person
Medium (21-100) Law Firm Total Pounds: “The James River Shad Award” – Christian & Barton LLP (Richmond) – 65,743 pounds
Medium (21-100) Law Firm Per Capita: “The Hanover Tomato Award” – McKenry, Dancigers, Dawson & Lake P.C. (Virginia Beach) – 1,371 pounds per person
Large (101 and up) Law Firm Total Pounds: “The Smithfield Ham Award” - McGuireWoods LLP (all locations) – 161,413 pounds
Large (101 and up) Law Firm Per Capita: “The Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Award” – Kaufman & Canoles (all locations) – 496 pounds per person
Sole Proprietor (1-2) Law Firm Total Pounds: “The Virginia Peanut Award” – ReavesColey PLLC (Chesapeake) – 3,569 pounds
Law School Winner of Attorney General’s Cup Total Pounds and Per Capita: University of Richmond School of Law (Richmond) – 18,199 pounds, 40 pounds per person
Government and Public Service Total Pounds: “The Urbanna Oyster Award” – Office of the Attorney General (Richmond) – 96,680 pounds
Government and Public Service Per Capita: “The Old Dominion Soybean Award” – Prince William County Attorney’s Office – 1,644 pounds per person
Legal Department Per Capita: “The Virginia Strawberry Award” – Norfolk Southern Corporation Legal Department (Norfolk) – 844 pounds per person
*Note: Pounds of food listed above are counted by both food and cash donations. Cash donations are converted to the number of pounds of food they will provide.
Tags:Awards and Honors
Judges would lose a troublesome hurdle to entering their own pretrial scheduling orders under a rule change up for comment at the Supreme Court of Virginia.
The court’s rules advisory committee is requesting comments from the public, the bench and the bar on proposed revisions to Rule 1:18 governing pretrial scheduling orders in civil cases.
The rule currently requires a judge to give two weeks notice to lawyers before entering the Uniform Pretrial Scheduling Order prescribed in the rules. The change would instead allow the trial judge to enter the order at any time, subject only to the requirement for a later hearing if any party objects or requests a modification.
The change removes what a Boyd-Graves study committee called an “awkward and time-consuming procedure” and still allows lawyers to submit agreed orders on their own and to be heard on objections or changes to any pretrial order.
Comments should be submitted by July 30 by email or snail mail.
Email comments should carry the subject line: “comment on proposed revision of Rule 1:18″ and be directed to:
The postal address is:
Advisory Committee on Rules of Court
c/o Steven Dalle Mura
Office of the Executive Secretary
Supreme Court of Virginia
100 North Ninth St.
Richmond, VA 23219
The former dean of two Virginia law schools, Rod Smolla has given up his latest post as president of South Carolina’s Furman University, citing family concerns.
Smolla, who served as dean of both Washington & Lee law school and the University of Richmond law school, announced this week he would step down as Furman president.
Family court records show that Smolla, 60, and his wife of 14 years divorced in September after being separated for a year “due to unfortunate circumstances,” reports The Greenville News.
Smolla’s ex-wife, Michele Balderson, became an assistant women’s golf coach after the couple came to Furman. She was listed as an adviser to all Furman student athletes, a certified Golf Psych instructor and as the team’s mental coach.
Furman spokesman Vince Moore told the paper she no longer works for the university.
Balderson could not be reached for comment, and Smolla reportedly declined to talk about his divorce.
“There’s a great line in ‘Forrest Gump’ where he says ‘that’s all I have to say about that.’ And I think I’m going to give that one back to you,” Smolla told the paper.
Smolla said he has accepted a position as a visiting professor at the Duke University law school this fall and a similar role at the University of Georgia next spring.