General Assembly elects Virginia appeals court judges

Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 7:52 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - The Virginia General Assembly recessed Tuesday afternoon, completing most of the work that brought lawmakers to Richmond a week ago.

The final act of the special session included the election of eight judges to the Virginia Court of Appeals.

State lawmakers voted earlier this year to expand the court, and the automatic right of appeal in civil and criminal cases.

The eight candidates, Democratic leaders say, reflected diversity of race, gender, practice area and geography.

“We have put together a panel of people with various backgrounds, from Roanoke to Tidewater to northern Virginia, city of Richmond and we’ve listened to a lot of people,” Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) said.

Frank Friedman is an experienced appellate lawyer from Roanoke.

He received praise from Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“When Mr. Friedman says, in a very understated way, ‘I enjoy appellate work,’ it reminds me of Tom Brady saying ‘I played a little football in the NFL,’ joked Sen. Joe Morissey (D-Richmond).

“We lose a good appellate lawyer, but we gain a great appellate judge,” said Sen. Bill Stanley (R-Franklin Co.).

“And I know you will do well and uphold the honor of the Star City,” added Sen. Mark Peake (R-Lynchburg).

Republican lawmakers had argued Democrats were trying to pack the court, and they objected to being excluded from the process of selecting the eight candidates.

While some Republicans were absent Tuesday and most withheld their votes, all eight candidates were elected by the House and Senate, ushering in a new era for the Virginia Court of Appeals.

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