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Lawyer defends his question to judge

A Front Royal lawyer who serves on the town council has caused a stir by striking up a conversation with a circuit judge about a hot local tax case.

The lawyer-councilman, Thomas Sayre , said it was just an innocent inquiry about whether the judge had issued a written ruling. The judge apparently didn’t see it that way, according to the Northern Virginia Daily .

The judge said he stopped the conversation and reported the ex parte communication to lawyers for the parties in the tax case.  The judge also provided written notice of the incident to the town council, which now is considering a motion to censure Sayre and report him to the Virginia State Bar.

“I think you guys are going way overboard,” Sayre told fellow council members.

Circuit Judge Dennis Hupp ruled from the bench Nov. 30 that Front Royal cannot collect meals taxes from restaurants outside its borders, even though it provides those businesses with water and sewer service.


Sayre told the NVD two attorneys who practice in legal ethics said they did not see any ethical violation involved in his conversation with the judge.

By Peter Vieth

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