Dumler stays, fires back: Judge says not enough evidence to remove

Followed by angry protesters shouting, "rapist," besieged Supervisor Chris Dumler left Albemarle Circuit Court today after a judge rejected a petition to remove him from office.

 

The May 31 hearing culminates a rare proceeding in Virginia: petitioning to remove an elected official from office. And in making her decision, Judge Cheryl Higgins said there simply wasn't enough evidence that Dumler had neglected his job on the Board of Supervisors after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor sexual battery in January.

"I think Judge Higgins got this one right," said Dumler after the brief hearing. "She did her homework." As protesters stood behind him with signs, Dumler told reporters he was not resigning "just because people were upset" and would stay in office because of the issues facing the county.

As for regaining the public's trust, Dumler said, "I'm going to keep doing my job," over a cacophony of people shouting "rapist!"

He was accompanied by supporters Cynthia Neff, former vice-chair of the Albemarle Democratic Party, and Tom Olivier, one of the few to speak in Dumler's defense at a Board of Supervisors meeting.

Dumler was arrested October 18 and charged with felony forcible sodomy, and a felony conviction would have been enough to oust him from office, according to Virginia statute. So would misdemeanor pot possession. But the infrequently used statute doesn't address sexual battery.

It does allow for a petition for removal signed by 10 percent of the registered voters who voted in the last election for the office in question, and Keene resident Earl Smith submitted nearly 600 signatures of Scottsville district residents calling for Dumler's removal. Of those, 472 were verified by Dumler's trial— 100 more than required.

In court last week, special prosecutor Mike Doucette argued that Dumler's resignation from committees supes typically serve on and recusal from voting on issues such as a police firing range constituted neglect of duties with a "material adverse effect."

Judge Higgins went through the statute and listed the misdemeanor convictions eligible for removal— basically marijuana and hate crimes— and said she could not remove him for those. And she noted that while people were upset he was convicted for sexual battery, she was limited in what she could do.

"We knew it was an uphill battle," said Dumler-objecter Steve Peters after the decision. "We knew the judge would have to set precedent."

"I support Judge Higgins' decision," said petition-gatherer Smith, who added that he was happy with the process and that nearly 600 people could express their displeasure by signing his petition. And he's now looking to the General Assembly to address the sexual batterer loophole.

"We're stuck with him for the next two-and-a-half years," says Supervisor Ken Boyd. "I think it's unfortunate for people in the Scottsville District. We're going to have to pick up the slack because we get emails from people in his district who don't want to deal with him."

And as for Dumler, this is perhaps the first weekend he hasn't had legal matters hanging over his head since October. According to Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail, the 30-day sentence he served mostly on weekends was completed May 18.

"The only thing I remain disappointed in is that the conservative and tea party elements behind this petition were allowed to waste such a significant amount of taxpayer money and valuable court resources on such an obviously frivolous lawsuit," he said in an email after the hearing. "For a group of individuals who purport to hold in such high regard the principle of 'efficient use of taxpayer dollars' and in such disregard [of] the notion of 'activist judges,' they sure wasted a lot of taxpayer money pursuing a frivolous lawsuit in an attempt to circumvent the electoral process. Maybe they should add a caveat to their beliefs: '... except and unless it's politically opportunistic to believe otherwise.'"

Updated June 3 with Ken Boyd's comments.

Read more on: Chris Dumler

50 comments

1) those nutjobs hounding you are not Conservative or Tea Party members by any stretch they are lonely scorned women with an agenda to get even with every guy who used them and left.

2) Regardless, this was a good use of taxpayer money because it proved that the people in yoiur District have rights that a court cannot usurp.

3) The other Supervisors should be now brought up for recall for neglecting their oath of office for refusing to work with someone because they disapprove of things in his personal life. when they took the oath they agreed to represent their Constituents even if they need to hold their nose or suspend their personal opinions to do so. Exchange "criminal" for gay or tea party or uberliberal or communist and the point becomes clear. It should not have gone down like this.

4) I am sure there will be some diehards until a cop or union workers is accused of misconduct and the rules protect them from being fired then we will have "dumler two, outrage boogaloo"

5) The system worked.

Call me crazy, but I love that the guy is trolling the whole county and gets to continue to do so. That's just something I find personally amusing--from a purely political point of view, the thought of Kenny Boyd handpicking the 6th member of the BOS sends shivers down my spine.

Dumler's email is a window into his delusional outlook on this case. Somehow, HE is the victim.

Whatever, Chris. Hold onto your precious seat. You've got a long life ahead of you of never living this down. Someday, you'll probably want to express remorse and regret for your actions, except it will be too late.

Whatever you want to believe about the people that want you gone, it is your lack of decency that brought this on. I've never voted republican and never would, unless Chris Dumler was the democratic choice.

Cynthia Neff is lying down with a dog.

Johnny, when you or one of your loved ones is anally-raped, I'm sure we'll all find it "personally amusing" too.

Yeah, I know: Ken Boyd, the boogie man.

I am not sure what Mr. Dumler means by "tea party elements", but I will make it clear that the Jefferson Area Tea Party had nothing to do with the petition. Zero. Our organization issued a written statement calling for him to step down. Before that statement was issued (during a time when I was not in leadership at the JATP), I spoke as a private citizen with disapproval at a couple of BOS meetings - and one time, after I was elected chairwoman, I made a statement at a BOS meeting.

While I would like to think the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of his Scottsville constituents who signed the petition may be of the "tea party element", that is highly doubtful. It is much more likely they are decent, moral people who don't want a convicted sexual batterer as their representative. I certainly do not want one on the Board of Supervisors.

Mr. Dumler can continue to march to the mythical tune of political witchhunt playing inside his head, but he a lone drummer in a parade of one.

I should add that if Mr. Dumler can summon the necessary fortitude, I am ready and willing to publicly debate his assertions and accusations. Pick a time and place, Mr. Dumler. I'll alert the media and we'll air this out.

Otherwise, I suggest you change your tune if you're not willing to back it up.

@ Meanwhile: "Johnny, when you or one of your loved ones is anally-raped, I'm sure we'll all find it "personally amusing" too."

So I take it you were in the room that night? Or has been Dumler been convicted of a crime that I'm unaware of?

I particularly like that Shilling Show video. Dude comes across as a lot more reasonable then the "RAPIST! RAPIST!" lady.

Geez - that comment is sexist, misogynistic, and does absolutely nothing to advance any civilized conversation on this controversial topic. I hope you have the good manners or good sense to ask the Hook to remove it.

Man, some poor bastard might marry that screeching chick. I love that she feels entitled too walk all over yelling her garbage and when someone stops she has the temerity to dig up the little entitled school girl "EX-cuuusea me!"

Just another person who grew up thinking that everything she says is valuable and needs to be shared with all. Time, and a few boyfriends that end up hiding in the bushes should help sort out that fallacy.

Legal system has spoken. Now the voters can speak next time. Time to get out those "Move on" placard out of storage.

'"I support Judge Higgins' decision," said petition-gatherer Smith, who added that he was happy with the process and that nearly 600 people could express their displeasure by signing his petition. And he's now looking to the General Assembly to address the sexual batterer loophole.'

Come on, Earl/the Hook - let's be honest here. Over 20% of those signatures were disqualified (the final number was around 450, and it took two and a half months to collect the ~450 that finally made it ... SUCH OUTRAGE! Or, oh wait, not really ...)

... and how is it a "loophole" to allow a democratically elected officeholder to stay in office until the end of his term? Even though I don't care for Dumler, he does happen to be spot on about the hypocrisy here - conservatives/Republicans complain about activist judges all the time, and now they're asking a judge to use the law for something it wasn't designed to do in a way it wasn't designed to allow to effect a political end they desire ... that's hypocrisy plain and simple.

Why do we allow anyone with a criminal conviction to be an elected official? Shouldn't they be held at a higher standard? Perhaps that is what is wrong with our governments (local, state, national) today we need to make sure those running for office or in office are not criminals instead of keep electing them. Just sayin'...

Cville Native! You are right. We should expect higher standards. Conviction, or admission of illegal actions needs to rid us of those guilty pols.

Bye bye Clinton and B.O. Scoundrels!!

We the people make the laws and when we say go you go

Johnny, I'm sorry if you're ignorant of the facts of this case. The victim made a particular accusation. The crime that Dumler plead guilty to is consistent with that accusation.

No one has EVER alleged that her accusation is false. By what stretch of the imagination do you believe that I have to have been in the room when his actions took place to know what happened? She accused him of something and THEN HE PLEAD GUILTY.

When something like this happens to you or a loved one, remember how amused you were by this case.

You are someone that lacks empathy, obviously. No wonder you take such pleasure in Mr. Dumler being allowed to remain on the BOS.

Here is the act that Chris Dumler swore under oath he committed:

"sexually abuses the complaining witness against the will of the complaining witness, by force, threat, intimidation, or ruse"

Johnny is "amused" that a woman is a victim of this crime.

Not surprisingly, Johnny is a Chris Dumler supporter.

Who else supports Chris Dumler?

@ Also....I appreciate your input but would like to make a few things clear for you and others. The bulk of signatures were collected between Feb. 6th and March 25th. When I wanted to turn them in there was some confusion about proper forms needed at the clerks office and some confusion about when the signatures needed to be verified. I was asked to wait until they found out those answers. During that time I had several folks from Glenmore who were collecting signatures inside their community asked me to include their petitions with mine. I waited again. Then there was some confusion about the case in Gloucester and the possibility that I might need a lawyer to represent me. So I tried to find a lawyer willing to represent me pro bono or at a reduced rate. I finally received all the petitions from Glenmore and by that time everything had been cleared up at the clerks office. I turned in the petitions. My comment about 600 folks was not to be misleading about the the legally correct amount which was close to 480, still over a 100 more than needed, I was proud of that many people taking the time to come sign a petition to recall the vote of their District Supervisor. With the districts being redrawn a few years ago a lot of folks apparently didn't know they didn't belong to the Scottsville District anymore. I asked everyone if they were a registered voter from the Scottsville District and if I felt they weren't sure I asked them where they voted. That was the best I could do at that moment. I expressed the same sentiment to anyone who wanted to help me collect but cannot speak for them. I tried to gain access to any registered voter list's the various political parties may have had but never got a response. When I say that all this was done by posting on Facebook, 2 radio station programs who were willing to post my name and contact info as well as the few news articles posting the same and a few kind folks who offered to help me...I mean it! In my opinion if I would have had a little more organizational and monetary help from different factions, we would have had over 1500 signatures at one event. As for accepting the courts decision and happy with the process...it was an honor to be given the chance to do something that could and probably will make a difference for the futures of our county and state. It doesn't happen often that people actually exercise a legal right they have because of where we live. Am I happy with the outcome? No, but I respect it. I shook Mr. Dumlers hand and wished him good luck. I stood up for something I thought I should. I respected the process and set the rules for anyone who wanted to be associated with me. I am not happy with the protesting folks, never have been and actually think they hurt more than help...my opinion..but they have that right and I respect that. I hope you find my response helpful in shedding some insight on my petition journey. I'm happy that my participation is coming to an end because I have a lot of other stuff to catch up on. I humbly say "good-bye and don't forget to smile and have a happy day"

"Also", democrats also claim to be in support of female victims of sexual battery. Chris Dumler is a convicted sexual batterer.

I am a democrat and I'm opposed to sexual battery. Consistent with that principle, I'm opposed to Chris Dumler.

Don't talk about hypocrisy here. Those that support Chris Dumler are full of it.

I wonder if Dumler will rise to Mrs. Thorpe's challenge stated above in comments? She threw down the gauntlet. Let's see if he's man enough to pick it up. I doubt it.

Immature boys when challenged by strong women usually shrink. Figuratively and literally.

I saw Cynthia Neff getting behind the wheel of a car to drive away after the hearing. I thought she had her driver's license suspended for a year after her DUI conviction. What gives? I know she challenged the ruling, but the outcome of her challenge was never reported.

Neff is driving and Dumler's on the loose. That means stay off the roads and hide your daughters.

Good idea EARL that you are distancing yourself from the protesters that have been helping your cause in collaboration. It was Jordan McNeish who started the the dumlermustgo Facebook.....with YOU added as an organizer of that page along with Jamie Morgan as well. Early on you told them you didn't approve of of their certain protesting ways such as calling dumler a RAPIST and other rude comments.....but still you hung in there with that group since they had the same idea you have and that is to get rid of Chris.

I don't know who is involved in the website chrisdumlermustgo.com - but they are the rudest of the bunch. On that site, they have pretty much told the audience to boycott just about every aspect of the town of Scottsville. Just look under the Scottsville link and you will see a majority of the businesses from Scottsville on a list ....... Most of Scottsville does not approve of this attack. (and it is an unwarranted attack). It's also abuse.

The Devil's Dictionary defines Schadenfreude (actually happiness) as an agreeable sensation caused by seeing the misery of another (I paraphrase here).
This court decision (which I fully expected) allows me to feel that way about all those harridans screeching their rage in that video. Good for Dumler that he's got the stones to stand up to the pails of ordure poured on his head over these months. Now it's over...

Dumler has cost this community a lot not to mention the damage done to his victims. Time,money and continued distress.

He now tries to turn that on the community in his statement copied below. This man is a sociopath. Now he sits to voice his control over us as a County Supervisor. Heads up, bad forces see this as an opportunity. The empire of evil is planning to reign over Albemarle County. The comming election will tell a lot concerning the people of Albemarle.

"The only thing I remain disappointed in is that the conservative and tea party elements behind this petition were allowed to waste such a significant amount of taxpayer money and valuable court resources on such an obviously frivolous lawsuit," he said in an email after the hearing. "For a group of individuals who purport to hold in such high regard the principle of 'efficient use of taxpayer dollars' and in such disregard the notion of 'activist judges,' they sure wasted a lot of taxpayer money pursuing a frivolous lawsuit in an attempt to circumvent the electoral process. Maybe they should add a caveat to their beliefs: '... except and unless it's politically opportunistic to believe otherwise.'"

empty , self absorbed, mumbling on about the tea party
and "doing his job"

must be reading every word about himself for the self validation he craves.

although he doesn't realize it , he has reached the end of the road.

Jim, sorry to burst your bubble, but the end of the road is December 31st, 2015 ...

I stand corrected.

My dad Rocky says there will always be a place for him
hustling used cars out here at Ralph Williams Ford 15800 Ventura Blvd.
Encino Ca.

That false smile would be perfect.

Please ...CD don't call and leave a message on the answering machine.
We are going fishing up at Bear Lake.

Hey folks, the REAL BAD GUY here is the prosecutor who let Dumler plead down to a lesser charge. Had there been a felony conviction, Dumler would have been gone.

HAHAHA! Just goes to show what a bunch of raving sexists Charlottesville and surrounds are full of. Makes you wonder if a reasonable person would move here. Especially single males. Females, whatever chance you had of finding a male to copulate with before your biological clock turn off greatly decreases with this stuff. And UVA can well tell you, male application may not be decreasing, but the quality is. I know.

This man is such a coward. I posted a comment to his Facebook page and it was immediately deleted. He is an embarrassment to this county. Legally right and morally right are two different things. It is a slap in the face to women to have him still on the board.

So when they guy pleads guilty to a misdemeanor which everyone involved agreed to he is vilified, and when you folks try and get a second bite of the apple and make it all the way through the courts its still not enough.

So which is worse; the attorney General of the United States lying to congress and keeping his job, or the Secretary of State saying "what does it matter" when her deriliction of duty got an Ambassador killed but she kept her job.... or a top dog in the IRS who personally targeted groups (which one does not matter) and refuses to testify about it and she keeps her job.... or Dumler pleading to a misdemeanor keeping his job.

He is effectively neutered. Anyone who thinks that this guy is worth more effort after this ruling is just a vindictive jerk and deserves a life alone with their attitude and their cats.

Just another UVA sex fiend getting away with it! It's what I call the UVA teflon syndrome. In UVA's homeland all UVA boys are protected.
The UVA Cabal.
Dumbler is a UVA Law grad.
Judge Higgins' fellow judges on the bench:
Judge Hogshire is a UVA Law grad
Judge Bouton teaches at UVA law.
Judge Sanner is a UVA grad

This was obviously going to be the outcome all along. If you don't like the law, then work to get it changed so we can more easily get rid of worthless politicians in general. I'd happily sign a petition to remove Dave Norris, Szakos, and many more locally if the law allowed it.

Instead of whining about the judge following the law as written, how about people contact their state representatives and have the law relating to automatic dismissal of elected officials modified to cover misdemeanor sexual battery.

Congratulations to both Chris Dumler and the voters of Scottsville! The legal system worked. Both parties got their say in court and judge Higgins made the correct ruling. Petition denied, now Chris can get back to work.

I do wish Dumler had the financial wherewithal to fight the original charge in court and face his accuser rather than take a plea and appear guilty.

He doesn't "appear" guilty. He IS guilty.

He's been convicted. That will NEVER change.

There is something perverse about all this. Sexual Battery is a control issue. And now the victim (victims) of the crime return home from court and their Supervisor is their abuser. Hey one court determined they were legal victims and another said the guilty criminal was the legal supervisor and represented their interest.

And Neff is arrested to protect the people. Her sentence includes rehabilitation measures and she cannot operate a motor vehicle for one year and the successful completion of the rehabilitation requirements to provide safety to the citizens. But wait, she drives immediately because she appeals the verdict? What about safety for the people?

Neff was scheduled for an appeal hearing, appropriately, on April Fools Day (April 1). I never heard the outcome reported in the media.

Did she win her appeal or is her license suspension still in effect? Maybe The HOOK can investigate.

FaithInCourtsRestored said "I do wish Dumler had the financial wherewithal to fight the original charge in court and face his accuser rather than take a plea and appear guilty." Mr. Dumler had the support of some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the Piedmont, any number of whom would have been happy to fund his legal defense. Check out the list of people who donated to his political campaign. He was the rising star of the local Democrat Party, after all, and if his reputation could have been saved, they would have done so. Aside from that, he himself is an attorney, he attended law school locally, and has many colleagues who would likely have taken his case pro bono. The fact that he chose to plead guilty, despite the power and wealth at his disposal, and despite his connections in the local legal community, should tell you a great deal.

Dumler has resigned!!!

Interesting that Duane Snow made the announcement of Dumler's resignation and mentioned that they had met on Sunday- I wonder what happened there?

Awesome. Imagine the trouble he would have spared everyone if he did this 6 months ago?

What a jerk, going through the court proceedings. Maybe more dirt was about to emerge...

Onward, upward. Let's make better decisions in the future! Let's enjoy life again!

“[T]he conservative and tea party elements behind this petition were allowed to waste such a significant amount of taxpayer money and valuable court resources on such an obviously frivolous lawsuit,” he said. “For a group of individuals who purport to hold in such high regard the principle of ‘efficient use of taxpayer dollars’ and in such disregard the notion of “activist judges,” they sure wasted a lot of taxpayer money pursuing a frivolous lawsuit in an attempt to circumvent the electoral process.”

Thanks for saving the county all that money, Chris....

Ding dong the Dumler's gone! Yay! Thanks for wasting all the tax payers money, you dope.

@St Halsey:

Dumler asked Duane Snow for a meeting a few days ago where he gave Duane the letter to read. Why he did not choose BOS Chairwoman Mallek, I don't know.

Looks like the hook got scooped by the Progress:

"Dumler quits supervisor post"

http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/dumler-quits-supervisor-post/article_b...

Vast right-wing conspiracy excuse, Chris? In Albemarle County? Hardly. Nice way to deflect your own criminal misconduct. You don't think THAT's why the unruly mobs were after you, do you?

To set the record straight, the loudest and often the most numerous critics were far-left occupier types with ominous signs with your photo on them. They yelled the R word at you. They are the ones who have a facebook page called Chris Dumler Resign, not the Righties. The charge was originally led by the Scottsville victims and their girlfriends. Not a Tea Partier among them. The BOS meetings did seem to have more than a fair share of Tea Party and Republican types, but even some of them called for a Democratic Party replacement. The GOP was the LAST group to call for your resignation, beat to the punch by the Democratic Party, the Socialist Party, the Tea Party, S.A.R.A., liberal Democrat David Toscano, liberal-to-socialist Dave Norris...

Just because certain groups of your detractors are tied together by their already established group identity (that is a member of a political party or other group) does NOT make this rag-tag group of protesters a "conspiracy". However, YOU, Chris Dumler, DID have a well-organized group of liberal democrats who were supporting you, so what does that make YOUR group?

Scooped? When was the last time the hook ran a breaking story?

Once upon a time, the hook posted stories on the web as they were happening. Apparently, now the people at the hook have better things to do. There really isn't any reason to check the hook's website on an ongoing basis anymore.

@Roger_O_Vernout: Bravo for an accurate and illuminating post! The tea party, in particular, issued one organizational statement (second only to SARA's) calling for Dumler to step down - and they would have done that no matter which supervisor was involved. Individual citizens who happen to be JATP members spoke out at the BOS meetings, but there was no coordinated effort to do so. Mrs. Thorpe said the first time she spoke, it was as a private citizen when she was not yet back in tea party leadership. It was only later that their board (without her) wrote and issued the statement. And they had nothing to do with the petition, as he lashed out on Friday.

Fortunately, many people - including well known liberals like Coy Barefoot - called Dumler out for trying to claim persecution by the tea party and other conservatives. It was the most transparent action executed by Dumler since this whole mess began.

Dumler would still sit as a Supervisor if Jamie Morgan had not spoken out. She made the issue. Let's not forget that it was her passion, her outcry for justice that focused the issue.

Ms. Morgan - Thank You