Still No Judge Appointment for York-Poquoson Circuit Court

April 30th, 2011 by Amber Lester

The General Assembly filled 14 vacant judgeships on Thursday, but the open seat at York-Poquoson Circuit Court wasn’t one of them.

The York-Poquoson court seat is one of eight seats still empty across the state. The Senate nominated York-Poquoson Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge Richard AtLee, but the House did not make a nomination. Both houses have to elect the same candidate, so the seat was not filled, said Tara Perkinson, deputy clerk for the Senate of Virginia. The House representatives for the ninth circuit court district, Del. Brenda Pogge, R-96th district, and Del. Gordon Helsel, R-91st, could not be reached for comment.

The Assembly is now in recess, but continues in session. It has not been determined yet whether more judges will be appointed as the GA completes the special redistricting session, according to Mary Felch of the Division of Legislative Services.

The York-Poquoson Circuit Court has not had a permanent judge since the 2008 death of former Judge N. Prentis Smiley. Since then, substitute judges have presided over cases.

The appointment of a new judge was delayed while Sen. Tommy Norment and former Del. Tom Gear disagreed about their picks for the seat. Gear resigned from his seat in December for health reasons; Helsel, the former longtime mayor of Poquoson, was elected to serve. In 2010, the General Assembly temporarily froze funding for judicial vacancies, but reinstated funding this year.

 

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