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Focus on Fairfax Newsletter of Delegate David Bulova
July 2006

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I started writing a new Focus on Fairfax several times this past month, but each time it seemed that all of the interesting issues made it to the newspapers faster than I could write. On June 28th, the General Assembly finally passed a budget ? with only two days to spare before the end of the fiscal year. I suppose you can?t blame the papers for scooping me on that. While the budget has many strong points, unfortunately, and despite much debate, the issue of transportation has again been left unresolved. And so, as part of the budget deal, we will likely return to Richmond in September.

Last week, however, I participated in a process that is rarely mentioned in the newspapers ? although it probably should be. The Fairfax Delegation (consisting of legislators from Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax) made its recommendations for new appointees to the 19th Judicial District ? including the Circuit Court, General District Court, and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.

For better or worse, many of us eventually come before a judge in Virginia. But even if you don?t, these are the people who interpret our laws, hear criminal and civil cases, and make decisions about the best interests of children under some of the toughest circumstances. And yet, unlike many states that elect judges or have high-profile selection processes, Virginia?s is about as low-key as they come.

Part of the reason is that Virginia is one of only two states where judges are elected by the legislature (South Carolina being the other). This arrangement can, and has, been abused in the past. The Byrd Machine, which dominated Virginia politics for over a half century, often awarded judgeships as political reward without regard to actual merit.

Although the General Assembly is sometimes still chided for inserting politics into judicial selections, the process established by the Fairfax Delegation in the 19th Judicial District is often cited as a model for the non-partisan selection of judges based on merit.

For that, we can thank former Senators Abe Brault (who, I am proud to say, lived in what is now the 37th District) and Joseph Gartlan. During the 1970s, they set up a system where each legislator representing any part of the 19th Judicial District had one vote ? regardless of political party. This tradition has carried on through today, surviving the power shift in the General Assembly from the Democrats to the Republicans.

To begin the process, the local bar associations screen the applicants and make recommendations on those who are most qualified. The Fairfax Delegation then interviews the candidates, assesses them for judicial temperament, and votes by secret ballot. While the full General Assembly must vote on the nominee, by tradition, once the Fairfax Delegation has made its choice, the General Assembly respects that decision.

Each judge must also come before the Fairfax Delegation for re-appointment. Circuit Court judges come up for re-appointment every eight years, while General District and J&DR judges come up for re-appointment every six years.

Below are the Fairfax Delegation?s nominees from our July 12th meeting. Congratulations to each of them. Maybe you know one of them. Maybe you will get to meet them in the future. They are all excellent people.

Judge Charles Maxfield (Circuit Court). Judge Maxfield is currently a judge on the Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, where he has served since 1994. A retired U.S. Army Captain, he is a resident of Oak Hill. Judge Maxfield graduated from Oakton High School and received his law degree from the College of William and Mary.

Lisa Mayne (General District Court). Lisa Mayne is a resident of Reston. She has served as a Substitute Judge since 2004 and received her law degree from George Mason University. Ms. Mayne is a partner in the firm of Kelly, Mayne, and Daughtrey, which deals in contracts, collections, and commercial transaction cases.

Helen Leiner (Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court). Helen Leiner lives in Ridgelea Hills (another proud resident of the 37th District) and is also a graduate of George Mason University. Her law practice has focused on representing juveniles accused of criminal behavior and on matters involving protective orders and abuse and neglect proceedings.

Glenn Clayton (Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court). Glenn Clayton lives in Burke and has a law practice located near the intersection of Braddock Road and the Beltway. He graduated from the University of Toledo Law School in Ohio. Notably, Mr. Clayton is very involved in local athletics and served as the President of the Board of Directors of the Robinson Rams Athletic Boosters Club.

Today, there is still debate about what system works best to take politics out of the judiciary, while still making sure that judges are accountable and don?t become disconnected with the people that they serve. While our system here in Fairfax isn?t perfect, it is the envy of Virginia, and we can all be proud of that.

Finally, I want to give a big thanks and congratulations to Andrea Loewenwarter, who has served ably as my Legislative Assistant for the past six months. Andrea has accepted a job with the City of Fairfax. I am very pleased, however, that Rama Van Pelt will now be working in our Fairfax District Office full time. Rama served as my Legislative Assistant in Richmond. Welcome Rama. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me on issues of concern to our community.

Sincerely,

David's 
Signature
David Bulova

Delegate David Bulova
David Bulova

Please contact Delegate Bulova at ...

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9900 Main Street,
Plaza 102
Fairfax, Virginia 22031
(703) 310-6752
[email protected] .com

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Capitol Square, General Assembly Building
Room 405
Richmond, Virginia 23219
(804) 698-1037
deldbulo [email protected]

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