York-Poquoson Judge Vacancy Finally Filled

July 29th, 2011 by Desiree Parker

After three years, York-Poquoson Circuit Court’s vacant judge seat will finally be filled by Juvenile and Domestic Relations Judge Richard AtLee, thanks to action Friday by state legislators.

Legislators selected AtLee a week after being criticized by Governor Bob McDonnell for dragging their feet on redistricting and judicial appointments.

In a statement issued Friday afternoon, McDonnell said, “I congratulate these newly elected justices and judges on their election. I also thank the General Assembly for taking action to fill these vacancies so that justice can continue to be served in our Commonwealth.”

The York-Poquoson Circuit Court hasn’t had a permanent judge since former Judge N. Prentis Smiley died in 2008. Substitute judges have been divvying up cases since that time, with a trio of sitting circuit court judges handling criminal cases and a string of available judges, most of them retired, handling the civil docket. Lawyers with civil cases have learned not to expect court dates to come quickly or easily; criminal lawyers realize they won’t know who will preside over their cases until, at best, a week before a hearing.

In 2010, the General Assembly froze funding for judicial vacancies but reinstated funding this year. Though the money was available, legislators couldn’t come to a decision on various vacancies until Friday.

Lawmakers agreed earlier on AtLee’s nomination, but could not agree on whether Williamsburg-James City County Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Sandy Conyers or local attorney Sid Insley should be appointed to replace him.

There’s no word yet whether lawmakers have agreed on AtLee’s  replacement.

4 Responses to York-Poquoson Judge Vacancy Finally Filled

  1. Anonymous

    July 30, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    30 more years of the good ‘ol boy system in York County!

  2. Anonymous

    July 31, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Oh please… Virginia politics, what a joke! Good ‘ol boy system is alive and well. Heaven help the justice system in this great southern state.

  3. Anonymous

    August 1, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Sandy Conyers deserves the job. She is well qualified, Sid is 77 years old and already retired. come on Pogge!!!

  4. Anonymous

    August 9, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Oh just great! Another liberal Judge on the bench!

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