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Virginia Beach to get first black circuit judge

Among judicial selections near the end of the General Assembly session, legislators selected Kevin Duffan for the Virginia Beach Circuit Court bench. Duffan, now a juvenile and domestic relations judge, will be the first African American judge to sit in that court.

Raised in Virginia Beach, Judge Kevin Duffan attended James Madison University and then received his law degree in 2004 from the College of William & Mary. He served in the Virginia Beach commonwealth’s attorney’s office for five years and then worked as a personal injury attorney in Virginia Beach.

Democrats claimed credit for Duffan’s achievement.

“I want to thank our Democratic legislators from Virginia Beach for their hard work on this nomination and congratulate Judge Duffan on a well-deserved appointment,” said Democratic state party chair Susan Swecker in a news release.

Two veteran circuit judges – William O’Brien and Thomas Padrick – recently were required to step down after they reached the mandatory retirement age of 73, a court official told The Virginian-Pilot. The General Assembly is only filling one of the positions at this time, the official said.

The General Assembly also selected attorney Afshin Farashahi as a judge of the Virginia Beach General District Court and Virginia Parole Board chair Adrianne Bennett to serve on the city’s juvenile and domestic relations court. Both will have 6-year terms.

The Assembly also approved general district judges for Loudoun County, including that county’s first black judge, Lorrie A. Sinclair Taylor.

Sinclair Taylor and Matthew P. Snow were elected March 3. The two will succeed judges Frank Buttery Jr. and Dean S. Worcester, who notified the Loudoun County Bar Association of their planned retirements last November, the Loudoun Times-Mirror reported. Sinclair Taylor will begin her term in April, while Snow will take the bench in May.

Updated March 6 to add Loudoun County information.