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Thursday, February 26, 2009

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.

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