Consistently Poor Judgment in Judicial Appointments: No @HopeforVirginia

11 Apr

Three actions by the Virginia General Assembly show how the Virginia legislature is completely out of touch with the dysfunction in our Arlington Courts.   It also demonstrates how the process of picking judges for Arlington is not based on merit, but who you know (or are related too…just like the MAFIA).

Robin RobbThe General Assembly has unanimously voted to appoint Robin Robb to replace the departing (none too soon (Anti-)) Family Judge Esther Wiggins Lyles.   The six year appointment begins in July 2016.

Who is Robin Robb?   First off, she is the wife of Judge Benjamin Kendrick.   You know Judge Kendrick as a rough around the edges, shoots from the hip, and often ignoring the law in ruling on his cases.   He messed up a lot of families in Arlington.   A number of other very qualified candidates were under consideration, but somehow, with the support of Delegate Patrick Hope, the retired Judges wife was picked to replace Judge Wiggins.   Really!

Wait, it gets better! (Actually, gets worse).

Judge Esther WigginsDuring the session, the legislature threw Judge Wiggins a bone by passing a resolution honoring the “great fairness and wisdom” of Judge Wiggins, who served (and messed up the lives of numerous families and children) for 18 years after service in the Commonwealth Attorney’s office of Arlington.   Apparently none of those legislators ever set foot in Judge Wiggins courtroom and listened to how unfair and lacking in wisdom she was on a daily basis.   Apparently they had not read all of the testimony against Judge Wiggins and the complaints against her.   Maybe, if they had, they would have gotten rid of Judge Wiggins sooner.

Judge Varoutsos Arlington VirginiaSpeaking of getting rid of bad judges, anyone who attended the reappointment hearing last December 2015 for Judge Varoutsos would have walked away thinking that he was not going to get reappointed.  Judge Varoutsos came under heavy criticism in the lawyers surveys for entering orders lacking legal argument or erroneous argument.   But, true to form, the legislature ignored the opinions of members of the public and practitioners, and, instead, reappointed Judge Varoutsos for another six year term.

So, what is the take-away from these actions?   It is that if you want to be a judge or stay a judge in Arlington, be a dues-paying member of the Arlington Judicial Mafia (i.e., answer to the legislators who themselves or their partners often practice before you), and be as unqualified as you can be because it will only count against you and get in the way of ruling on cases the way the guys in Richmond want  you to.

Arlington deserves better quality judges.  The citizens should vote out any legislator who fails to make it their top priority.    Otherwise, there is no @HopeforVirginia

Source: Sun Gazette Arlington March 17, 2016

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