Virginia has an inclination for corruption. This permeates every aspect of State and Local Government including Judicial Selection. In Loudoun County, Sandra Glenney and the Department of Family Services is the epitome of corruption, in fact it is the poster child for it. Sandra Glenney and Family Services are abhorrent to the legal process. Judicial Selection is a very close second. The most recent judicial appointments are a classic example of this. The recent escapades demonstrate how backwards Virginia truly is.
Judicial selection has become political and does not appoint judges based on competence. The 20th Circuit legislators managed, to their credit, to recommend a valid candidate in Ms. Jeanette Irby and avoided sending Lorrie Sinclair to Richmond for the appointment. Other Judicial Circuits were not so fortunate, their appointments were stalled.
The first example is the daughter of Senator Phillip P. Puckett, Martha Ketron, the former Senator allegedly resigned to allow his daughter to be appointed as Juvenile Court Judge in the 29th Circuit. This reason has been somewhat debunked when it was discovered that Senator Puckett was promised a job with the Tobacco State Commission before resigning, implying that perhaps he was bribed to resign. Ms. Ketron’s appointment has been held up due to the very curious circumstances concerning Senator Puckett’s resignation.
Another example is that of Sandra Chinn-Gilstrap of the 22nd Circuit. Ms. Gilstrap was highly recommended by the local bar, receiving the highest ranking of any candidate interviewed by the Danville Bar Association. She was destined to become a judge, until politics became involved. Dan Casey wrote an excellent article concerning the incident in the 22nd Circuit. The appointment for the 22nd Circuit has been postponed as well.
The citizens shoud not place faith in the judicial selection process, it is too political and unreliable. We are not privy to any of the interviewing; the selection process has to change. The issue with ex-Senator Puckett is under investigation by Federal Authorities; Virginia needs to change the selection process the credibility of the judiciary is at stake.