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.