Madison-Greene Bar backs Downer

Lawyers in Greene and Madison counties gave a thumbs up to Charlottesville General District Court Judge Robert Downer to succeed Albemarle Circuit Court Judge Paul Peatross, who retires tomorrow. That makes the second bar endorsement Downer has snagged.

In early January, the Charlottesville Albemarle Bar Association picked Downer and former prosecutor Cheryl Higgins as "highly qualified" for the judgeship out of seven candidates that include Albemarle Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Camblos.

The latest endorsement emerged from the January 22 meeting of Madison-Greene Bar Association, which sent its unanimous endorsement of Downer, 58, to the delegates and senators representing the 16th Judicial Circuit. Whether those legislators will heed the recommendation is TBD.

Delegate Rob Bell formed his own citizen advisory committee to recommend a candidate, but so far he remains mum about the committee's choice.

There's some speculation that longtime Republican Camblos has the political capital to sway the Republican-majority of legislators in the 16th Judicial Circuit, which includes his former intern, Delegate Bill Janis, to put him on the bench. Camblos, whose office prosecuted four juveniles over a controversial bomb scare last year, is the only candidate who's faced public opposition.

Downer was reelected to his General District Court seat January 23, and an article in the Daily Progress suggested that would make it less likely that Downer would get the nod for Circuit Court, particularly since he's perceived as being a Democrat in a Republican-majority legislature.

In 2001, Downer was named to the General District Court bench with the support of Republican delegate Paul Harris– despite the Republican majority.

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6 comments

Legal machinations can be so complicated. Where's ole Learned Hand when you need him?

I sure hate to see Judge Peatross step down. He, Judge Pickford and Judge Coles are probably the best 3 judges this area has ever seen.

Not that anybody cares what I think, but my vote goes to Cheryl Higgins. She is well qualified and will do an extremely good job on the bench!

Second that about Judge Peatross...It is a shame to see him go. Albemarle is losing one of the greats. If Camblos is elected, it will clearly be against the wishes of the community. Bell et. al. should take that into consideration before making such a decision.

There are rumors flying all over town that Bell has been promised support for an Attorney General run if he names Cambloss. (If true, would that qualify as selling one's soul?) Of course, there wouldn't be all this speculation if there was more transparency.

I think Judge Hogshire is a good one in this area.

From cvillenews.com: JLOR Says:
Latest word on the street is that Janis and Bell, in some kind of political quid pro quo agreement, will back Camblos. Camblos is apparently considered a fait accompli at this point. I've heard that Bell's panel was against Camblos. Not sure who they were for. They submitted a voluminous report and recommendation to Bell, which reportedly, he doesn't care to read since it's not in support of Camblos. Also heard that this is a political ââ?¬Å?hot potato” right now in Richmond and they're going to push it forward as quickly and quietly as possible. Pathetic bunch of jackass losers in Richmond. I suspect what Bell received is support for his long-expected run for Attorney General. He needs to be soundly defeated if this all plays out as expected. Imagine appointed someone truly incompetent as Camblos to judge. The Peter Principle at its worst.