Virginia's Criminal Justice

The Citizens' Voice about Virginia's Uncontrolled Judiciary

The Judicial Review and Inquiry Commission

The 2008 report from the Commission showed that legitimate complains were ignored by the JIRC.

Of over 2000 complaints filed, only 20 files were opened and only 3 judges were sanctioned.  Neither of the judges was named, and they were allowed to resign or retire without publication of their wrong doing.

Judges are Fallible and Human

Leroy Hassel recently referred to “the challenges that await us as we work together to improve the quality of justice for … Virginians.”  Is Hassell some staunch critic of our legal system?  No, he’s the Chief Justice of Virginia’s Supreme Court. 

In his “2008 Virginia State of the Judiciary Address”, he also stated “that as judges, we are fallible, we are human”.  Here we have the top judge in the state acknowledging that the courts have problems.  He admits that judges are making mistakes. 

The problem; however, is he doesn’t go far enough to fix them.  Judges are reviewed solely by the Judicial Performance Evaluation Program.   This program is administered “by judges for judges”.  The only input they take is from attorneys, jurors, and the Department of Social Services.  Why are the citizens ignored in this process? 

Most hearings don’t have juries.  Many participants are not represented by counsel.  This means that the bulk of the mistakes the judges make are never reported.  Are the citizens not important enough to our legal system to be heard?  This type of disrespect is the reason why America split from England.

Chief Justice Hassell also didn’t address how the family court judges routinely violate Virginians’ parental rights.   Judges continue to destroy our children’s lives by driving fit parents out of their lives.  Here we have an opportunity to send Chief Justice Hassell a message that they need to fix the system now.

Contact Chief Justice Hassell now and tell him the system needs to be fixed.

Reform the Courts Now

Some people say that Chuck Griffith’s removal from the Norfolk Circuit Court was political, but it exposed serious problems with Virginia’s Judiciary and the way judges are chosen and overseen.  The political process not only guarantees that good judges may be removed for political reasons but also that bad judges will be appointed and retained because of political connections.  Judge Sword from Portsmouth, Virginia provided a perfect example last year.  Although he admitted making mistakes and many people spoke out against his unprofessional behavior, the Senate unanimously reaffirmed him because it was still controlled by the Republicans.

 The other problem is that judges are nominated by the local Bar Association.  Since none of the nominees has been a judge before, the lawyers in the Bar have no idea how they will perform once chosen.  Basically, you have the ultimate good-old-boys network promoting one of its own in exchange for future “considerations”.  Unless they work in the same firm, their only knowledge of the nominees is based on opposing them in court or on their reputations. 

 Furthermore, the job of a judge is diametrically opposed to that of an attorney.  An attorney has to be the ultimate advocate of his client’s interests—even beyond guilt or truth.  (This doesn’t mean he can lie—although most do.  It means they don’t disclose evidence that is harmful to their client’s position).  A judge, on the other hand, is supposed to be completely unbiased.  The training for one job effectively makes one completely unsuited for the other.

Almost weekly someone else is exonerated after spending years in jails for crimes that they didn’t commit.  In these cases, DNA evidence proved their innocence, but since there no DNA evidence in most cases, we have no idea how many more are in jail for crimes they didn’t commit.  The judges are ultimately responsible for every one of these wrongful convictions.

The bottom line is that we have some bad judges in the Commonwealth.  It’s time to stop deluding ourselves that our legal system works.  Every bad decision a judge makes destroys a family.  They are destroying our society and doing more damage that the criminals they judge.  Since the judiciary and the legislature ignore the citizens in appointing and retaining judges, this site is our only voice in exposing the bad judges and telling our leaders that they need to choose better judges, train them better, and remove those that are bad.

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