Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee

Joseph A. Condo, chair

During FY2015, the Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee (JCEC) was asked by the House and Senate Courts of Justice Committees to evaluate candidates for a vacancy on the Supreme Court of Virginia and several vacancies on the Court of Appeals of Virginia

Following notice of the vacancy in the Virginia Lawyers Weekly and the collection of extensive background information, the Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee conducted interviews with twenty-five individuals on October 21, 2014. The committee’s report and recommendations were reviewed by the bar's Executive Committee.

Under the bar’s policy, most recently revised in June 2012, the Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee is charged with evaluating the qualifications of each candidate and rating those found to possess the requisite experience, temperament, integrity and ability as either qualified or highly qualified. Each person’s rating is also accompanied by an executive summary, prepared by the committee, which explains the basis for the rating.

The Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee consists of well-respected members of the practicing bar in the Commonwealth of Virginia, comprising a blue-ribbon panel of lawyers from across Virginia. The following JCEC members participated on March 26th:

Joseph A. Condo, Chair                     McLean

*David W. Bouchard                          Chesapeake

Henry S. Keuling-Stout                      Big Stone Gap

*Anthony H. Monioudis                      Danville

Jennifer L. Parrish                             Fredericksburg

*Nancy G. Parr                                 Chesapeake

Todd G. Patrick                                Waynesboro

Michael A. Robusto                          Virginia Beach

Marshall H. Ross                              Richmond

Jason S. Rucker                               Falls Church

William L. Schmidt                            Fairfax

Kristine L.H. Smith                            Lynchburg

Kristina P. Stoney                            Richmond

Hunt H. Whitehead                           Richmond

David J. Whitted                              Chesapeake

*[1]Michael M. York                      Reston

Irving M. Blank serves on the committee as a nonvoting member representing the Executive Committee.  Karen A. Gould attended as Executive Director of the VSB. Committee member Thomas T. Cullen of Roanoke was unable to attend.

The evaluation process undertaken by the JCEC is time-consuming and complex.  The JCEC members conduct an investigation of each candidate in advance of the meeting by interviewing lawyers and judges familiar with that individual. The JCEC then receives the reports of each investigation before interviewing each candidate. After each candidate is interviewed, a vote is taken as to whether the candidate is “Qualified,” taking into consideration the factors outlined in the JCEC policy, i.e., integrity, professional competence, experience, temperament, civic activities, and public service. A majority of the JCEC members voting is required for a candidate to be designated as “Qualified.”

A majority of those voting in a second vote is required for a candidate to be designated as “Highly Qualified.” The “Highly Qualified” designation is an evaluation of “whether any of the candidates deemed qualified possesses a level of qualification and distinction sufficiently greater than the others to merit the designation of "Highly Qualified.” This second vote is conducted after all the candidates have been interviewed.

If a candidate is found not to be qualified for whatever reason, no report is prepared regarding that candidate.

The Committee started each interview with the following series of questions: 

  • Have you ever had a civil judgment entered against you?
  • Have you ever been subject to a tax or other type lien by a government or administrative agency?
  • Have you ever been sanctioned by a government, administrative or regulatory agency?
  • Have you ever been subject to a collection action for failure to satisfy a judgment, lien, or other sanction? 

Each candidate answered in the negative to these questions.

The nine candidates evaluated for the Supreme Court of Virginia vacancy were:

Thomas W. Aldous, Jr.

W. Coleman Allen, Jr.

The Honorable Rossie D. Alston

The Honorable Randolph A. Beales

L. Steven Emmert

The Honorable Mary Jane Hall

The Honorable D. Arthur Kelsey

Christy A. McCormick

The Honorable Stephen R. McCullough

The twenty candidates evaluated for the vacancies on the Virginia Court of Appeals were:

Thomas W. Aldous, Jr.

The Honorable Chadwick S. Dotson

J. Jasen Eige

L. Steven Emmert

The Honorable Richard E. Gardiner

The Honorable Mary Jane Hall

The Honorable Gary A. Hicks

The Honorable Christopher W. Hutton

The Honorable Colleen K. Killilea

Maureen R. Matsen

Christy A. McCormick

The Honorable Stacey W. Moreau

Patricia P. Nagel

The Honorable Lorraine Nordlund

The Honorable Mary Grace O'Brien

Wesley G. Russell, Jr.

Elwood E. Sander, Jr.

The Honorable Josiah T. Showalter

The Honorable Robert J. Smith

Virginia B. Theisen

After reviewing the submissions of the candidates, receiving summaries of the background investigations and interviewing the candidates, the committee made the following evaluations of the candidates for the Supreme Court of Virginia, listed in alphabetical order, with the vote regarding each individual recorded in the column as indicated:

Supreme Court of Virginia

Qualified

Highly Qualified

W. Coleman Allen, Jr.

16-0

 

The Honorable Rossie D. Alston

16-0

 

The Honorable Randolph A. Beales

15-1

 

L. Steven Emmert

16-0

14-2

The Honorable D. Arthur Kelsey

16-0

14-2

The Honorable Stephen R. McCullough

11-5

 

                                                       

With regard to the evaluations of the candidates for the Court of Appeals of Virginia, the committee made the following evaluations, with the candidates listed in alphabetical order, with the vote regarding each individual recorded in the column as indicated:

Court of Appeals of Virginia

Qualified

Highly Qualified

The Honorable Chadwick S. Dotson

12-4

 

L. Steven Emmert

15-0

(1 abstention)

12-3

(1 abstention)

The Honorable Mary Jane Hall

9-7

 

The Honorable Gary A. Hicks

16-0

14-2

The Honorable Christopher W. Hutton

16-0

15-1

The Honorable Stacey W. Moreau

16-0

16-0

The Honorable Lorraine Nordlund

11-5

 

The Honorable Mary Grace O'Brien

16-0

16-0

Wesley G. Russell, Jr.

13-3

 

The Honorable Josiah T. Showalter

15-0

(1 abstention)

14-1

(1 abstention)

The Honorable Robert J. Smith

16-0

 

Virginia B. Theisen

16-0

 

 

[1] Because of the large number of candidates, former JCEC members designated by an * in this list were recruited to assist in the background investigation, interview and deliberation process. These persons serve by virtue of a special appointment by the VSB president.

Updated: Jun 25, 2015