Candidates for Virginia circuit court judgeships who failed to win election by the General Assembly have another questionnaire to complete.
Gov. Bob McDonnell Tuesday announced the process for interested candidates to apply for six funded-but-unfilled judicial vacancies on Virginia’s circuit courts. The governor’s office posted a 10-page, 39-question form for candidates on the governor’s website.
The governor also encourages comment from individuals or interested bar associations or groups.
The General Assembly adjourned April 4 without filling vacancies in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 20th, and 25th Judicial Circuits. The Virginia Constitution gives the governor the authority to fill circuit court vacancies “which may exist while the General Assembly is not in session.”
“Selecting individuals to serve on the bench in Virginia is one of the most important functions for our Commonwealth,” McDonnell said in a news release. “I will be seeking out the most qualified candidates for these positions, and I encourage all interested individuals to apply.”
Any judge appointed by the governor must be elected at the next General Assembly session to remain in office. Under the state Constitution, the temporary appointees “serve until thirty days after the commencement of the next session of the General Assembly.”
The Supreme Court of Virginia is asking for comments on a revised set of proposed rules for “waived-in” lawyers.
The latest proposal would remove many of the practice restrictions for out-of-state lawyers who take advantage of Virginia’s reciprocity rules for bar admission without examination.
Gone from the new proposed rules is a requirement that a waived-in lawyer practice predominantly in Virginia. There is no requirement for full-time practice or for regular certification that the lawyer is complying with the rules.
The threshold requirement for “admission on motion,” as it’s sometimes called, would require an out-of-state lawyer to have practiced law for at least three of the immediately preceding five years. The last proposed rule change would have required a history of full time law practice for at least five of the preceding seven years.
The proposed rules do not go so far as to remove the reciprocity requirement, despite the urging of the American Bar Association. Admission without examination would still be available only for lawyers licensed in states that offer the same privilege to Virginia lawyers.
The previous version of the rules was issued for public comment in October, with a variety of responses from Virginia lawyers and others. Comments on the new proposed amendments should be sent to the Supreme Court by May 31.
The Supreme Court of Virginia has stepped back from rule changes that would have prohibited lawyers from advertising their certifications as specialists in fields such as trial advocacy and elder law.
In the latest set of advertising rules published Monday, the court essentially leaves the current rules for promotion of specialty certifications unchanged. The new advertising rules take effect July 1.
Lawyers objected last fall when the court announced an end to claims of certification by specialty practice groups, including those representing trial advocates and elder law attorneys.
The National Elder Law Foundation urged the court to reconsider its proposed amendments in a Nov. 16 letter.
“We are pleased the Supreme Court is going to allow us business as usual,” said Jason W. Konvica, marketing partner at Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen in Richmond. Konvica and other lawyers at the firm advertise their certification by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.
The amendments announced Monday make no substantive changes in rules for the required disclaimer for any discussion of case results. Also largely unchanged is the requirement for an uppercase label on direct mail solicitation that reads: “ADVERTISING MATERIAL.”
Virginia Supreme Court Justice William C. Mims was among the thousands who ran in Monday’s Boston Marathon. He reportedly escaped unscathed as two explosions caused death, injury and havoc at the finish line.
“Justice Mims is back in Richmond and on the bench today,” said his judicial assistant in an email Tuesday morning. A news report Monday said Mims texted “I’m okay” after the explosions that rocked the finish line area of the event.
Mims, 55, completed the course in 3:59:44, according to the Boston Marathon website. He was in 16,020th place, according to data on the website, and 853rd in the 55-59 age group.
NOTE: This post was updated April 16 to add the comment from Mims’ judicial assistant.
Halsey Minor – the one-time tech entrepreneur from Charlottesville – will be ordered to appear at a deposition in Norfolk in connection with the bankruptcy case involving the historic Carter’s Grove plantation, according to court records.
Minor skipped previously scheduled depositions and missed deadlines for disclosures, according to the bankruptcy trustee. The trustee last month asked the judge to have Minor held in contempt, and – if he fails to appear again – apprehended and brought before the court.
In response, Minor said he has been caring for his son, who is suffering from depression, and would prefer to attend a deposition in Los Angeles or by video conference.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Stephen C. St. John said he felt it would be “appropriate” for Minor to sit for a deposition in Norfolk, according to online records. The judge would attempt to have an order served on Minor to attend a deposition in Norfolk sometime after May 1, records show.
If Minor is unable to appear in Norfolk, he would have to pay the trustee $10,000 to hold the deposition in Los Angeles.
If Minor failed to show for a Los Angeles deposition, St. John said he would order his apprehension.
As The Virginia Gazette reports, Minor is being questioned in the case about how the auctioneer Sotheby’s ended up with a lien against the Carter’s Grove property on the banks on the James River in Virginia.
Petersburg’s circuit court judges have appointed Petersburg lawyer Ray P. Lupold III to the general district court bench for the 11th District.
The appointment comes in the wake of the General Assembly’s failure to fill the funded judicial seat. Senators split between Lupold, a former prosecutor, and current Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Cheryl J. Wilson, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Sen. Henry Marsh, D-Richmond, told the paper he was impressed with Wilson’s credentials.
Lupold’s temporary appointment extends until the next General Assembly session, when he must win election to remain on the bench.
He will assume the position vacated by the mandatory retirement of Judge Lucretia Carrico in January. She continues to serve as a substitute judge.
The early seventies was a great time for horn bands. If you are of a certain age, you will recall chart-toppers “One Fine Morning” (Lighthouse) and “Vehicle” (The Ides of March).
A Lynchburg band had a taste of local success with a 1970 song in the same vein, but the dream of a big hit for The Greater Experience never materialized. A few years later, the band members put their instruments away and went on with life. Trumpeter Ed Burnette now is a general district judge in the Hill City.
Recognition seemed fleeting, until now. And, it has come from a very unlikely place.
It seems the eight-piece combo’s first recording, “Don’t Forget to Remember,” has found an audience in England, making the ancient 45 record something of a collector’s item. One of the disks was going for the equivalent of $1,200 on eBay, Burnette told News & Advance columnist Darrell Laurant.
Copies of the disk may be hard to find, but the Internet offers instant gratification for oldies fans. Feast your ears on the (very!) brassy sounds of The Greater Experience.
The agency that polices judicial misconduct in Virginia is looking for a new legal staff.
Both lawyers who serve as staff for the state Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission are retiring, and the deadline for applying for the job of commission counsel is Monday.
Current JIRC counsel Donald R. Curry is stepping down after nearly 12 years on the job. Assistant counsel Kenneth Montero retired March 31 after more than 20 years.
The new hire will work as assistant counsel and assume the top job when Curry retires Jan. 1.
Richmond Circuit Court Judge Bradley B. Cavedo, who serves as chair of JIRC, said the agency hopes to narrow the pool of candidates through the spring and make a final selection by the end of summer.
“We’ve had numerous excellent candidates apply,” Cavedo said in an interview April 2.
The JIRC counsel is hired by the seven-member commission. The salary range is $142,329 to $158,134.
The JIRC is made up of three judges, two lawyers, and two non-lawyers. The members are elected by the Virginia General Assembly for four-year terms.
In light of frequent but unsuccessful efforts to increase the mandatory judicial retirement age in Virginia, Cavedo was briefly questioned at a recent legislative session about age-related problems among judges.
Cavedo said disability issues for judges have arisen among judges far younger than the current cap of 70 years. Problems tend to arise for judges around age 60, whether they involve mental concerns, alcohol, or other issues, Cavedo said. He said he rarely sees age-related disability among his colleagues.
Cavedo said the JIRC investigated a concern that one judge was having hearing difficulties. A court observer hired to check said the problem was not as severe as reported. “One of his hearing aids may have failed,” Cavedo said.
Virginia-based group the Retail Industry Leaders Association has decided to pass on a settlement deal in a major national case against MasterCard and Visa.
The class action was originally filed in 2005 against the card companies alleging that they violated federal antitrust law in setting “swipe fees” charged to retailers when consumers pay for a purchase with a credit or debit card.
The suit reached a proposed settlement last year.
Under the terms of the deal, merchants would be allowed to pass on swipe fees to consumers (previously, they were forced to pay the charge, which typically costs 1 to 3 percent of the cost of a purchase).
Specifically, notice of the additional surcharge would need to be posted and included on a purchaser’s billing statement and credit card receipt. In addition, the fees could not be passed on selectively – for purchases under $20, for example – but must be applied to all transactions.
An estimated class of 8 million merchants would also be entitled to payments from a $6 billion fund and would avoid swipe fees for an eight-month period (valued at an additional $1.2 billion).
Several plaintiffs – including RILA and other trade groups like the National Restaurant Association and the National Grocers Association, as well as companies like Affiliated Foods Midwest and D’Agostino Supermarkets – objected to the settlement.
They argued that it failed to address systemic problems in the marketplace and allowed MasterCard and Visa to continue to set swipe fees.
U.S. District Court Judge John Gleeson for the Eastern District of New York granted preliminary approval of the settlement over the objections.
Now, class members are faced with a choice: take no action and be deemed by the court to approve of the deal, object to the settlement as a whole or opt out of the financial component.
RILA announced today that it will opt out of the settlement, rejecting the financial reward.
“RILA and the overwhelming majority of our members agree that the proposed class action settlement is a bad deal for retailers,” Deborah White, executive vice president and general counsel of the group, said in a press release. “The proposed settlement undermines merchants’ legal rights forever and fails to restrain the continued growth of swipe fees increases.”
The deal continues a “duopoly” by Visa and MasterCard and still allows the companies to set interchange rates, the group protested. RILA also expressed concern that the deal “could limit emerging innovations that can bring meaningful competition to the marketplace, such as mobile payments” because of limitations on future legal action.
A hearing on final approval for the controversial settlement is set for September.
The Supreme Court of Virginia is preparing to roll out its pilot electronic filing project in the Norfolk Circuit Court.
Selected lawyers will be able to file papers in civil cases from their office computers beginning April 15, according to a Supreme Court news release.
The Virginia Judiciary E-Filing System was developed by the Supreme Court’s Office of Executive Secretary to integrate with existing data systems in circuit court clerks’ offices. The filing application is designed to work with the statewide case management, case imaging and financial management systems.
A limited number of attorneys will be registered to use the Norfolk system initially, to be expanded later, according to the release. The system will “soon be offered statewide to all circuit courts,” said Chief Justice Cynthia D. Kinser in the release.
The system will free clerks’ offices from repetitive data entry, filing and scanning, said Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk George E. Schaefer.
A number of other Virginia courts are already using or preparing to use privately developed e-filing systems.