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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dirty Political Tricks

The Senate Courts of Justice Committee met at 9 am this morning, after Senator Marsh, Chairman of the Senate Courts of Justice Committtee and the House Clerk Bruce Jamerson told a citizen in writing yesterday that the committee would not be meeting.

Immediately after the meeting started, Senator Stolle made a motion to hold a closed meeting to discuss "personnel matters" and the public was forced to leave the room. Minutes later, the public was allowed back in the room. Senator Deeds made a motion to not certify the judges that had issues and read from the list of judges (page 2, judge number 1,2,7,10&12) and one judge from page 1 of the list. We've identified five of the six judges who did not make the cut: Hon. David Williams (1st District), Hon. Timothy Wright (1st District), Hon. Bryant Sugg (7th District), Hon. Colleen Killilea (9th District) and Hon. Birdie Jamison (13th District). Delegate Melvin (in a joint committee meeting on 2/20/09) indicated that at least three of the five judges above allegedly had "temperment" issues.

There were a total of 7 JPE's done this year at a cost to the taxpayers of $770,000 ($110,000 each). Five of the six judges who were not certified today had Judicial Performance Evaluations (JPEs) done. This is a high failure rate. It causes us to wonder if Judge Finch had a JPE done, would the committee also have withheld his certification after reviewing it? Aren't violations of folks' rights, ignorance of the law and laziness, all alleged to be problems with Judge Finch, more serious problems than temperment problems? We think so.

One of the Senators inquired if Judge Gaylord Finch was to be excluded from certification too. However, Dave Albo's gentlemens' agreement came to fruition -- the Committee unanimously certified Judge Finch.

Senator Cuccinelli, to his credit, asked the committee to hear from two citizens who got wind of the meeting last night, got up at 5 am and drove almost three hours this morning to be there. Senator Marsh, without knowing what the citizens' testimony would entail, concluded that they had nothing new to say and denied them the opportunity to testify against Judge Finch because they had testified before. Senator Howell, who looked washed out, chimed in that the citizens should not be able to speak because they had nothing new to offer. One citizen, Bruce Bennett, asked to be heard -- he had never testified before about Judge Finch. Senator Marsh denied Mr. Bennett the ability to testify in this important public meeting. The other citizen had new information to share, but likewise could not testify.

We've concluded the committee has this "see no evil, hear no evil" attitude about appointing judges. They do not want the public to come and testify about questionable judges. They'd rather vote blindly after holding secret meetings and cutting deals.

Next up... we've learned Dave Albo cut another deal... stay tuned for more.

Friday, February 27, 2009

11th Hour Dirty Political Tricks?

The Pitchfork Rebellion has learned that the Senate Courts of Justice Committee intends to meet at 9 am tomorrow to vote on Judge Finch's certification. We're not surprised Judge Finch's friends want to try to get him through the committee on the last day of the General Assembly session. This looks like a desperate dirty political trick to sneak Judge Finch back on the bench at the 11th hour of the session.

We're also not surprised to learn that Senate Courts of Justice Committee Chairman Henry Marsh III told a citizen at 12:49 pm today, "Senate Courts of Justice is not meeting regarding Judge Finch."

The General Assembly clerk also told a citizen today via email that there was no Senate Courts of Justice Committee meeting scheduled for Judge Finch.

We only learned tonight that the Senate Courts of Justice Committee is in fact planning to meet at 9 am tomorrow morning.

Its pretty obvious our elected officials do not want the public to attend these meetings, even though the judicial re-appointment process is supposed to be open to the public. We would just appreciate it if they would stop playing games and start being honest with us.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Separation of Powers Deuce

This just in... we've confirmed that yesterday the VA Supreme Court Chief Justice Hassell rescinded his November 10, 2009 order requiring the Judicial Performance Evaluations to be confidential.

Now, the million dollar question is whether or not our elected officials down in Richmond will give them to the public. We intend to find out by sending a FOIA request for them.

We're glad that finally the legislators (and hopefully the general public) will see the $770,000 handiwork of the super secret Survey, Evaluation and Research lab at VCU.

Cost of a JPE: $110,000 each
Value of a JPE: worthless
For everything else, there is Visa and Mastercard.

Is Judge Finch Dying on the Legislative Vine?

The infamous Judge Gaylord Finch of Fairfax County Circuit Court (19th judicial circuit in Virginia) is still in limbo. The House Courts of Justice Committee unanimously certified him on 2/24/09 in the absence of having a Judicial Performance Evaluation, which is mandated by law (17.1-100). The local delegation went on Judge Finch's "evaluation" from the local bar association, which is a cheap substitute for the real thing mandated by law.

Despite multiple credible reports of judicial misconduct and an outcry against him because he lied in his second judicial interview before the Courts of Justice Committee members/local delegation on January 10, 2009, our elected representatives want to put Judge Finch back on the bench.

The Senate Courts of Justice Committee has not certified Judge Finch. The lawmakers extended the deadline to Saturday for judicial appointments. They may work overtime over the weekend to get their buddy Judge Finch back on the bench or they will wake up and smell the coffee and let him die on the legislative vine. We suggest they do the latter. We're trying to run down the legislative shot clock.

Turf Warfare in Richmond

The Supreme Court of Virginia has not ruled yet on Elizabeth Haring's Petition for a Writ of Mandamus and Writ of Prohibition directed to Del. Dave Albo, Sen. Henry Marsh, and Linda Birtley... Nor has the high court ruled yet on the petition for an emergency injunction filed by Haring... we will keep you posted.

In other news, the turf warfare between the General Assembly in Richmond and the VA Supreme Court just gets more and more interesting. Del. Dave Albo invited the Chief Justice Leroy Roundtree Hassell to attend the House Courts of Justice Committee meeting on February 24 to explain his legal reasoning for forbidding the public to see the judicial performance evaluations (JPE) or to rescind the order. Chief Justice Hassell did not show up yesterday, nor did a rep. from the VA Supreme Court. It looks like the VA Supreme Court dissed Albo or were afraid to try to justify how the JPE can be confidential when there is no statutory authority to justify it and the Supreme Court has no Rule on that point.

After a long song and dance by many members of the House Courts of Justice Committee members about how much they really want to review the Judicial Performance Evaluations on the five judges who had a JPE done before voting on them, the entire committee then voted unanimously to certify all five of those judges without ever seeing their evaluations.

The legislators talk a big game, but that's about it. By certifying these judges without seeing the evaluations, they just conceded a lot of power to the VA Supreme Court yesterday by moving forward on these judges in the absence of the evaluations. Advantage: VA Supreme Court.

We've learned Dave Albo and two members of his committee went to meet with Chief Justice Hassell on Feb. 25 on his turf. A citizen has sent a FOIA request for meeting minutes and details. She also asked for the public to be able to attend these kinds of meetings.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Emergency Injunction Filed at VA Supreme Court to Stop Controversial Judge Finch

The following is a copy of petition for an emergency injunction filed at the Virginia Supreme Court on 2/24/09. The Courts of Justice Committee of the Virginia Legislature voted to certify Judge Finch on 2/24/09. The high court is expected to rule on the injunction request today...


: Record No. ______
IN RE: :



Comes now your petitioner Elizabeth A. Haring,
in proper person, and respectfully requests this
Honorable Court to issue an emergency injunction to
prevent Hon. David Albo, Hon. Henry Marsh, and the
members of the Courts of Justice Committee from
voting regarding the certification of Judge Gaylord
L. Finch, Jr. and enjoining the Virginia General
Assembly from voting on Judge Finch until this
Honorable Court renders a decision on her February
18, 2009 Petition for a Writ of Mandamus and Writ
of Prohibition.

This Honorable Court has authority pursuant to § 8.01-650,

“On petition for a writ of prohibition, the court may, at any time before or after the application for the writ is made, make an order, a copy of which shall be served on the defendant, suspending the proceedings sought to be prohibited until the final decision of the cause.”

Further, pursuant to 8.01-651 this Honorable Court has said authority,

“Whenever a court having jurisdiction refuses to suspend proceedings as provided in § 8.01-650 of this chapter, a copy of the proceedings in court, with any orders entered in the proceedings, may be presented to a judge of the Court of Appeals, if an application for a writ of prohibition is pending in that court, or to a justice of the Supreme Court if the application for a writ is pending there. Such judge or justice may thereupon award a suspension of the proceedings sought to be prohibited until the final decision of the cause.”

On February 18, 2009, your petitioner filed a
petition for a Writ of Mandamus and Writ of
Prohibition directed to Hon. David Albo, Hon. Henry
Marsh III and Linda Birtley. Subsequently, your
petitioner wrote to all members of the Courts of
Justice Committee on February 19, 2009 asking that
they wait to proceed any further regarding Judge
Finch until this Honorable Court has had an
opportunity to review and rule upon her petition.
Moreover, your petitioner wrote to Del. Albo
seeking to schedule the taking of his deposition.

On February 20, 2009, Virginia Lawyers
Weekly conducted an interview with Del. David Albo.
In said interview, Del. Albo admitted that he cut a
deal to re-appointment Judge Finch to another term
premised upon Judge Finch retiring at the end of
2009 (see attached Exhibit 1). The aforementioned
deal is part of the “gentleman’s agreement” alleged
in the petition for a writ of mandamus and writ of

On February 23, 2009, Del. David Albo wrote to
your petitioner. He indicated the Courts of Justice
Committee intends to vote regarding Judge Finch’s
certification today and that there will be a floor
vote on Wednesday of this week. As of this writing,
there is no public posting of the committee meeting
today on the General Assembly website (see Exhibit
2 attached). Your petitioner has written to Del.
Albo three times in the past 24 hours seeking to
find out the committee meeting time and location
today, to no avail. Del. Albo’s refusal to notify
the public is a violation of VA FOIA law.

This Honorable Court has authority to issue an
emergency injunction. Absent this Honorable Court’s
intervention, Judge Finch may get re-appointed even
though his re-appointment process has been
procedurally defective, unlawful and illicit
because a judicial performance evaluation was never
completed re: Judge Finch pursuant to 17.1-100.

The issuance of an injunction will not
prejudice the Respondents. If this Honorable Court
fails to issue an injunction, the Courts of Justice
Committee certifies Judge Finch and the General
Assembly votes in favor of his re-appointment, this
Court will be unable to issue an extraordinary writ
as a remedy, which would prejudice your
petitioner’s case. The issuance of an injunction is
absolutely necessary to prevent a failure or defect
of justice and meet the ends of justice.
Wherefore, your petitioner prays that this
Honorable Court will issue an emergency injunction

Respectfully Submitted,

Elizabeth A. Haring,
Private Citizen
Pro Se

Elizabeth Haring
210 Cornwall Street NW
Leesburg, VA 20176
Tel: 703-967-4047
Fax: 540-242-3441

I hereby certify that a true copy of the foregoing
Petition for Emergency Injunction was served
this 24th day of February, 2009 on the Honorable
David B. Albo, Chairman, Courts of Justice
Committee and the Honorable Henry Marsh III by hand
delivering copies to their legislative offices in
the General Assembly Building, Capitol Square,
Richmond, VA 23218, to Linda Birtley c/o Virginia
Commonwealth University, 910 West Franklin Street,
Richmond, VA 23284 and to the office of Robert
McDonnell, Attorney General of Virginia, Counsel
for Respondents, 900 East Main Street, Richmond, VA

Elizabeth A. Haring
Pro Se

Elizabeth Haring
210 Cornwall Street NW
Leesburg, VA 20176
Tel: 703-967-4047
Fax: 540-242-3441

Citizen files landmark case at VA Supreme Court

The following article appeared in the DC Examiner on 2/19/09:

UPDATE: Finch flap now before VA Supreme Court
POSTED February 19, 2009 11:33 AM
The pitchfork rebellion over the reappointment of Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Gaylord Finch to another eight-year term is not over, despite a thumbs up by the Northern Virginia delegation and an almost certain vote in his favor by the Courts of Justice Committee chaired by Del. Dave Albo, R-Springfield.Liz Haring, a Leesburg mom who is currently appealing Judge Finch’s ruling in her custody case, filed a petition with the Virginia Supreme Court Wednesday, asking the commonwealth’s highest court to stop legislators from proceeding with Finch’s reappointment process. In documents filed with the court, Haring points out that state law requires that “the Supreme Court, or its designee, shall transmit a report of the evaluation in the final year of the term of each justice and judge whose term expires during the next session of the General Assembly to the chairmen of the House and Senate Committees for Courts of Justice.” Haring alleges that Linda Birtley, who heads the Judicial Performance Evaluation office at Virginia Commonwealth University, submitted JPEs for other judges on Aug. 28, 2008 – but curiously not one for Judge Finch. The petition argues that absent Finch’s JPE, which is required by the Virginia Code, Albo and his fellow COJ members have no legal authority to recertify him.Haring also asks that the evaluation done by the Fairfax Bar Association, which is not required by state law, be made a matter of public record since it was discussed during Finch’s Jan. 10 judicial interview – and none of the legislators present made a proper motion to hold a closed meeting as required by Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act.Finally, Haring argues that Albo had no constitutional authority to accept a letter submitted to the Supreme Court by Finch himself – which states that he intends to retire at the end of 2009 – as a condition of the judge’s recertification. There is no provision in the Virginia Constitution to appoint a judge for less than eight years or make his/her reappointment conditional on a promise to retire, Haring claims, so there is no way to enforce Finch’s promised retirement if he gets back on the bench.The petition asks for relief in the form of a complete JPE to be submitted to the members of Courts of Justice and another public interview of Finch - with more public testimony allowed. It’s hard to see how the Virginia Supreme Court can say no to what amounts to a citizen’s insistence that the court follow its own procedures.

Amanda Lewis on Judge Gaylord Finch

The following letter to the editor was printed in the DC Examiner on Feb. 18, 2009.

"Judge Finch doesn’t deserve more time on bench"Re: “Judicial hot potato: Is Judge Finch fried?” Feb. 2Thanks for including my case in your article. Judge Finch placed my 9-year-old daughter in an environment where doing drugs and drinking alcohol are acceptable behaviors. I have been heartbroken over this verdict and worry about my daughter's welfare daily. Gaylord Finch is a horrible judge who frequently closed his eyes and appeared not to pay attention during my appeal. His lazy decision was based solely on the recommendations of another Fairfax County judge and the guardian-at-litem, who is now a Juvenile judge, too. I support my family as a registered pediatric nurse free of government assistance. I also became a foster parent to a teenage boy, now grown. The irony is that I am good enough to be a foster parent and a pediatric nurse, but according to the Fairfax court system, I am incapable of raising my own child!Thank you so much for exposing this corrupt judge. If something does happen to my daughter, I will hold him accountable.

– Amanda Lewis, Locust Grove, VA

The Pitchfork Rebellion Beginnings

The following article appeared in the DC Examiner on January 14, 2009

Pitchfork rebellion against Judge Finch
POSTED January 14, 2009 12:05 AM
A lot of Virginians are coming out of the woodwork and demanding that the General Assembly refuse to reappoint Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Gaylord Finch. The complaints are coming close to critical mass. Virginia and South Carolina are the only two states in which legislators appoint judges. Partisan fighting between the Republican-controlled House and Democratic-controlled state Senate delayed many nominations last session. But Virginia lawmakers also have the power to deny a judge reappointment if he/she fails to live up to expectations. A bill submitted by former delegate and current state attorney general Robert McDonnell created a panel to review judges’ performance of circuit, general district, and juvenile and domestic relations judges. It went into effect for the first time this year. Legislators are supposed to rate judges by their record on the bench instead of just rubber-stamping them for another term.And they’re getting an earful from irate defendants who feel their rights were violated by Judge Finch. One man claims Judge Finch refused to enter a final order in his case – for four years !– leaving him in a legal no-man’s-land. Another reportedly told the FBI that Finch routinely hears criminal cases in which the defense attorney is his golfing buddy and a frequent houseguest.A former Fairfax County resident told members of the Courts of Justice Committee that Finch ridiculed and mocked her when she appeared pro se in his courtroom in an attempt to regain custody of her young daughter. Another man complained that in 2005, Judge Finch systematically denied him his constitutional rights when he was charged with trespassing for attending a school party for his Down’s syndrome son at this ex-wife’s invitation. He claims that Judge Finch refused to rule on his motions to dismiss, wouldn’t let the proceedings be recorded by the court reporter present, or even let the defendant present evidence or rebut witnesses.Finch is also accused of holding ex parte hearings on a custody and child support case and ordering the wrongful imprisonment of a man on false child abuse charges that were later overturned. And the Fairfax County Coalition of Advocates for Public Schools blasted Judge Finch’s handling of the controversial western boundary redistricting case.Any one of these complaints should give legislators pause as they reconsider reappointing Judge Finch. Taken together, however, they paint such a disturbing picture of judicial arrogance and disdain for the constitutional rights of citizens as to render him unfit for the bench.

Pitchfork Rebellion Instrumental in Stalling Judicial Appointment for Questionable Judge

The following piece appeared in the DC Examiner on January 27, 2009:

UPDATE: Pitchfork rebellion against Judge Finch
POSTED January 27, 2009 2:25 PM
According to Virginian Lawyers Weekly: “The Northern Virginia delegation had asked the House and Senate Courts of Justice committees to withhold certification of [Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Gaylord] Finch for reappointment until it can give further consideration to his performance.”Chairman Del. Dave Albo said Tuesday that no vote on Judge Finch’s reappointment is currently scheduled.In Fairfax County’s clubby legal circles, this is pretty astounding news. Most members of the General Assembly are lawyers who don’t want to jeopardize their livelihoods by voting against a judge they might have to appear before in the future. Unless there’s some sort of egregious misconduct involved – or a public outcry – the vast majority of judges are rubber-stamped back onto the bench year after year.

Another Pitchfork

The following piece appeared in the DC Examiner on February 4, 2009:

POSTED February 4, 2009 4:25 PM
I recently received this email from Arlington resident Mark Young:Thank you for your article regarding the judge imposter called Finch. I know Ron Jagannathan and Wes Smith well, have attended some of their hearings including some before this "judge" - and acted as Wes' court reporter in his federal court case in which he sued most of the judges in Prince William County. These men, like myself, are good, decent, law-abiding citizens who've been raped of our rights before this and numerous other judge imposter/traitors and have spent years living Kafkaesque nightmares pursing justice. The same type kidnapped my three kids in 1989 in Newport News and later continued their evil deeds in Williamsburg. My kids are grown, but only one keeps in touch because the judge imposters in my case refused to act on evidence of brainwashing by their mother. I will continue fighting for justice for myself, my children, and all other victims of the organized criminals in our family courts until I die or we obtain justice. God bless you for believing we are not just venting sour grapes over losing. When fit parents are before a court of law, there's no reason for the parents and their kids not to come out winners. These counterfeit judges intentionally create and perpetuate business for lawyers, psychologists, social workers, etc. This is human trafficking, kidnapping, extortion and slavery under color of law. I've spoken for the last three years before the Northern Virginia delegation to the General Assembly in Fairfax.

Judicial Hot Potato: Is Judge Finch Fried?

The following article appeared in the DC Examiner on February 2, 2009. Judge Gaylord L. Finch, Jr. submitted his resignation letter the same day.

Judicial hot potato: Is Judge Finch fried?By Barbara HollingsworthExaminer Columnist 2/2/09 7:56 AM
A rare pitchfork rebellion has derailed the reappointment of longtime Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Gaylord Finch, one of just two judges among 60 incumbents who were not reappointed to new terms by the Virginia General Assembly.
Finch supporters say that complaints lodged against him are just sour grapes by bitter people who lost in court. Of course, the corollary is that beneficiaries of a rigged process seldom complain.
It takes a pretty powerful sense of grievance to drive down to Richmond and face public ostracism for criticizing a veteran judge. The inherent difficulties tend to weed out most of the frivolous accusations.
And the accusations made by litigants who stepped up to condemn the former Domestic and Juvenile Relations Court judge at two recent public hearings were anything but frivolous.
They told members of the Courts of Justice Committee that Judge Finch did not follow basic legal procedures or consider their cases with due diligence, violated their constitutional rights on occasion and even failed to obey state statutes.
Taken as a whole, the accusations go far beyond individual angst over adverse rulings and speak directly to arrogant and injudicious behavior on the bench.
Elected legislators appoint judges in Virginia and can block reappointment of those who don’t measure up. However, this legislative check on the judiciary is seldom exercised. Most part-time legislators are full-time attorneys who have little incentive to anger judges they may someday have to appear before.
For a veteran judge like Finch, the General Assembly holds hearings – described by one observer as a “five-minute lovefest” - before certifying the incumbent as qualified. After a simultaneous majority vote in both houses, the judge is approved for another term. But the Northern Virginia delegation held back Judge Finch’s certification after hearing from angry citizens on December 11 and January 10:
* Judge Finch was recorded telling committee members that he was assigned to Pascale v. Fairfax County School Board - a controversial school redistricting case – just “ten minutes” before trial although court records show that he was assigned the landmark case on June 12, 2008 – a full three weeks earlier.
Angry parents claim that Judge Finch “rubber-stamped the decision of the School Board...without providing any reasoning or analysis for his decision” – as required by state law.
* An Arlington man says Judge Finch denied him due process by not allowing him to present evidence to the jury during his trial on trespassing charges, which were later dropped on appeal, for attending a 2005 party at his disabled son’s Fairfax County school. All of the defendant’s motions were mysteriously missing from the official record of action, even though they appear in a list sent to the appellate court.
* A Herndon man says Judge Finch ordered him to hand over more than $60,000 to a former Fairfax Bar Association president acting as a guardian-ad-litem and refused to issue a final ruling in his case for more than three years, instead of the required 21 days, forcing him to pay more than $200,000 in legal fees. After complaining to the chief judge, his case was finally settled on January 8.
* Court records also show that in 2007, Judge Finch took a six-year-old girl away from her single working mother and four siblings and awarded custody to the first grader’s father - "contingent" on his live-in girlfriend, who had previous drug and DUI convictions, passing random drug testing.
When another former litigant requested a copy of Finch’s Judicial Performance Evaluation, the state’s Division of Legislative Services told her via email: “Judge Finch is not one of the judges for whom the legislature received a JPE this year.” So on what basis are committee members considering his reappointment?
Citizens deserve to know before they’re subjected to Judge Finch’s questionable judgment for another eight years.
Barbara F. Hollingsworth is The Washington Examiner’s local opinion editor. She can be reached by email at:

Pitchfork Rebellion tells General Assembly to Pitch the idea of re-appointing Judge Gaylord Finch, Jr.

February 23, 2009

To Whom It May Concern:

Dave Albo wants you to fall for the oldest trick in the book – he’s telling you to re-appoint Judge Gaylord Finch and that it’s no big deal because Judge Finch says his “intent” is to retire on December 31, 2009. We’ve attached his “retirement” letter.

Judge Finch has absolutely no intention of retiring before the end of another eight year term! Dave Albo is trying to sneak Judge Finch back on the bench even though he is unqualified, has engaged in brazen judicial misconduct and no amount of remedial legal education would be sufficient for him. What’s worse, Dave Albo has admitted to VA Lawyers Weekly that he struck a deal with Judge Finch (see attached 2/20/09 article).

It is unacceptable to put Judge Finch back on the bench for any length of time because he is unfit. Our Constitution only allows for an eight year term. There is no way to re-appoint a judge for five months. Interestingly, Dave Albo tried to reassure the local delegation that if Judge Finch did not retire at the end of this year, there would be grounds for a valid JIRC complaint on the basis of his lying to the Legislature.

Judge Finch already lied to the legislators during his second judicial interview on January 10, 2009. That alone should be grounds enough not to re-appoint him. Since Judge Finch lied to the legislators once, what is to prevent him from doing so again? Judge Finch simply should not be taken at his word. He simply cannot be trusted. Don’t let Judge Finch and Dave Albo take you for a ride.

We have a solution to this problem – it’s straight out of President Obama’s political playbook. What you do not vote for cannot hurt you. If you want to be politically ubiquitous like Pres. Obama, all you have to do is NOT show up for the committee vote and NOT show up for the floor vote on Judge Finch either. This way, Judge Finch does not get re-appointed and you don’t get hurt politically.

Pitchfork Rebellion Letter to Members of the VA General Assembly

February 9, 2009

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is to convey our serious concerns about the process by which judges are selected in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the condition of our judiciary.

We are a group of citizens from across the Commonwealth of Virginia. We have come together to oppose the re-appointment of Judge Finch to the Fairfax County Circuit Court and Judge Hauler to the Chesterfield County Circuit Court.

As dutiful citizens, we have attempted to follow this process as closely as possible as well as actively and meaningfully participate in the process. However, we have been, for the most part, shut out of the process and deliberately silenced.

We decry Judge Hauler’s attempt to quell public opposition to his re-appointment by means of a $5.35M lawsuit against his former clerk and his recent written threat to sue his neighbor Brenda Stewart, who has also spoken out publically against him.

We are gravely concerned that Judge Finch apparently lied to the Courts of Justice Committee during his second judicial interview on January 10, 2009 when asked about the landmark school re-districting case Pascale et al vs. Fairfax County School Board.

When questioned about this important case by Senator Cuccinelli, Judge Finch said he was unprepared to hear the case at trial. However, Judge Finch told the legislators the reason was that he had been assigned to the case only ten minutes before trial as an excuse. However, the official record of action in this case clearly shows Judge Finch was assigned the case three full weeks before trial and had ample opportunity to review the case before trial.

We’ve enclosed an audio CD of Judge Finch’s second judicial interview in which you will hear judge Finch make that assertion as well as the official record of action.

We applaud Senator Martin, Senator Cuccinelli and Senator Marsden for taking the citizen complaints against these judges seriously and acting responsibly.

We denounce Delegate Vivian Watts, who chaired the second judicial interview of Judge Finch, for refusing to allow a private citizen to read the one page statement of an indigent man named Wesley Smith, who alleged that Judge Finch violated his Constitutional rights and deprived him of all the elements of a fair trial. When the private citizen persisted and again asked to speak, Delegate Watts only allowed her 30 seconds to read the statement, interrupted her several times and did not let her finish.

We are very disappointed the local Chesterfield delegation completely ignored Judge Hauler’s serious problems on and off the bench and decided in favor of politics as usual and endorsed Judge Hauler. This is an abject dereliction of duty and a serious breach of the public trust. We hope that when additional information about Judge Hauler’s record becomes available this week, that the Chesterfield delegation will re-examine their position and vote responsibly in the full committee vote.

We believe a strong and independent judiciary is indispensible to the rule of law. We are governed by the principle that all should be treated fairly in the courtroom. We adhere to the great philosopher Plato’s dictum that justice is giving every man his due. The absence of justice is the unenlightened darkness of a cave.

We are contacting you today to petition that you not re-reappoint Judge Finch and Judge Hauler to judicial office.

While the Pitchfork Rebellion of 1685 was unsuccessful, we are better organized and have a very powerful weapon: the truth. Ours is a peaceful struggle to ensure that our jurists obey the laws of the Commonwealth, uphold and defend the Constitution and firmly adhere to the Rules of the Virginia Supreme Court. And if our judges fail to do so, our elected officials ought to hold them accountable.

The pitchfork in the famous 1930 American painting “American Gothic” represents hard work. We represent hardworking ordinary Virginians from across the state who rely on our judiciary and who, frankly, deserve better than Judge Finch and Judge Hauler.

The pitchfork itself is often used to remove manure from the barns, turn over the soil and uproot weeds from the earth. Today, we call upon you, our elected officials, to clean up the judiciary and weed out bad judges: exercise your legislative mandate by pitching Judge Finch and Judge Hauler.