Benchmark: Claude Worrell confirmed as juvenile court judge

For 20 years, Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Claude Worrell has prosecuted some of Charlottesville's most notorious cases. His days arguing in front of the bench soon will be over, and Worrell will be sitting on the bench in the 16th Circuit Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

 

The General Assembly confirmed Worrell the evening of April 3. "I was helping conduct a mock trial at UVA," says Worrell. Delegate Rob Bell took a photo of the screen noting his 86-0 confirmation and sent it, he adds.

 

"I think he will be an excellent judge," says Bell.

"I'm very pleased to be chosen, and I'm going to do whatever I can to make the functions of juvenile court as efficient as I can for everyone," says Worrell in one of his last interviews, as he likely won't be talking to reporters after he dons the black robe July 1.

Worrell succeeds Dwight Johnson, who once sentenced a couple to eight years for serving alcohol at an underage party.

His current boss, Dave Chapman, is already freaking out about the imminent departure of his top deputy and his 20 years of experience. "It's killing me," laments Chapman. "Already, it's a terrible loss."

Chapman notes how, working in a small office, Worrell was adept at handling a broad range of cases. "With Claude, it doesn't matter what the case is," says Chapman. "I can give it to him."

And the Charlottesville commonwealth's attorney's office won't have any edge with the new judge, says Chapman. "In the early years, he's certain to be hearing cases from a jurisdiction other than Charlottesville," says Chapman. "That's typical."

Among the cases Worrell prosecuted are William Beebe, the 12-step rapist, Jeffrey Kitze, the released graduation rapist accused of stalking, and James Halfaday, the City Council candidate who lived in Albemarle.

Worrell brooked no nonsense with fraternity hijinks, prosecuting frat brothers for a prank-kidnapping of a brother in 2009, and he once subpoenaed current Hook editor Courteney Stuart as a witness for a drunk-in-public story she'd covered.

Worrell has long been interested in a judgeship, yet he did not get the recommendation from the Charlottesville Albemarle Bar, which held a candidate forum in December. The bar gave the nod to Louisa attorney Deborah Tinsley.

"Deborah Tinsley is a fine person, and a good lawyer," says Worrell. "It didn't surprise me at all the bar recommended her.

Worrell says he wasn't disheartened when his fellow lawyers endorsed another candidate. "The bar opinion is important," says Worrell, "but the General Assembly has an opinion, too."

And that's the one that matters.

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7 comments

How many years has his wife been the SANE nurse at UVA? It seems strange to me that the number of rapes she sees in her job result in no prosecutions from his office.

Yeah...ummmm...Pammy Lammy....it is called HIPPA. R U really that naive?

Not suggesting she share names and SSANS .... just saying she might wonder why so many women come through her office yet none of the perps are ever prosecuted. I had no idea he was married to a SANE nurse....Doesn't the SANE nurse gather the forensics to make the case ... and aren't they always saying they don't have the forensics to make the case........??? Just thinking outloud.

Pam, she's also involved in UVA's Sexual Misconduct Board:

http://www.virginia.edu/vpsa/organization/saac.html

"Among the cases Worrell prosecuted are William Beebe, the 12-step rapist". LOL...Wow! So impressive! Beebe confessed in writing!!!!!!! They had to prosecute as the entire country was watching. But then Beebe was accidentally or perhaps deliberately released early because of a paperwork error! That's in Liz Seccuro's book.
From the Hook, "Although back in March Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Edward Hogshire sentenced William N. Beebe to 10 years behind bars– with all but 18 months suspended– it seems Beebe won't serve even that abbreviated sentence for his role in a 1984 sexual assault in a fraternity house. In fact, the Hook has learned Beebe is now counting the days until his release, which has been officially scheduled for 8am on September 17. He will have served six months and two days."

When was the last time anyone in Chapman's office prosecuted a UVA student for rape? or any type of lesser charge of sexual assault? They know how to prosecute the ones that have a public defender.

How many student victims have reported being sexually assaulted in the last 10 years? How many perps have ever been charged? arrested? Prosecuted?

It's the same policy as UVA.

UVA has never expelled one single student for sexual assault. Finally the Chair of the school's SMB admitted it in an article in the Cav Daily. They expel 20-30 student each year for cheating but not one ever for sexual assault?
Some C'ville background:
Chapman is a Graduate of UVA and UVA Law.
Deputy CA is married to a Kathryn Laughon, UVA professor, forensic nurse and Chair of UVA's
She got her PhD from John Hopkins with financial help from UVA
She has rec'd hundreds of thousands in research dollars with UVA's help
She's Chair of UVA's Sexual Misconduct Advisory committee.
Elizabeth Killeen graduate of UVA law
Chief Longo's wife and daughter both work for UVA. The latter has become an RN whilst employed by UVA Health Systems.
Where did Judge Hogshire go to law school? Which law school did he teach Criminal Practice Clinic before becoming a Judge? Who was quoted in Liz Seccuro's book as saying "UVA is my homeland".
So many other potential conflicts of interest in local law enforcement....

Just mere coincidences? Again just think out aloud! I'm sure none of this amount to anything!

Mark - Thank you for posting this blog. I had never seen it before. I am quite saddened that NOTHING has changed at UVA since 2004. It's disgusting, absolutely disgusting.