THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1997, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Saturday, February 22, 1997 TAG: 9702220342 SECTION: LOCAL PAGE: B1 EDITION: FINAL SOURCE: BY MARC DAVIS AND LAURA LaFAY STAFF WRITERS LENGTH: 121 lines
Three lawyers from an unusual mix of backgrounds - a former Miss Virginia-USA, a chief prosecutor and a lawyer in private practice - were named new judges in South Hampton Roads by the General Assembly on Friday.
The Assembly also promoted a fourth judge in Chesapeake, where he will become the first African American on the city's Circuit Court.
The judges were named late Friday as the General Assembly - deadlocked all day in a partisan struggle over the appointments - rushed to fill empty seats on benches throughout Virginia.
Two Portsmouth openings - one in General District Court and one in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court - remain unfilled.
The General District seat is empty as the result of an apparent rift between Democratic Sen.L. Louise Lucas and Sen. Frederick M. Quayle, R-Chesapeake.
Lucas nominated Morton V. Whitlow, a Portsmouth lawyer who chairs the Sports Authority of Hampton Roads. But Quayle nominated John H. ``Jay'' Underwood III, Portsmouth's chief public defender for the past 11 years, who had already been approved by the House of Delegates.
Nominees must get 21 votes to prevail in the Senate. And neither Whitlow, with 20 votes, nor Underwood, with 19, made the grade. The decision will therefore likely fall to Portsmouth's circuit judges.
Portsmouth's empty juvenile and domestic relations seat, vacant since Robert F. Babb retired last month, went unfilled on purpose.
The chief candidate is state Del. William S. Moore Jr. Moore could not get the job immediately, however, because the state constitution bars the General Assembly from appointing one of its own members to a judgeship.
Instead, the General Assembly will go out of session this week, freeing Moore to resign from the legislature and be appointed to the judgeship by Portsmouth's circuit court judges.
Also chosen Friday:
S. Bernard Goodwyn, a young and relatively new judge in General District Court, was elevated to Circuit Court.
Goodwyn will become Chesapeake's fourth judge on that court, joining Russell Townsend, Preston Grissom and Thomas Forehand. His seat is newly created. He will not replace a retiring judge.
Goodwyn, 36, was formerly a partner with the Norfolk law firm of Willcox & Savage. He also taught law at the University of Virginia. Goodwyn became a judge two years ago, when the General Assembly chose him for General District Court.
At that time, there were no black judges in Chesapeake. Goodwyn was one of two named in Chesapeake that year, along with Eileen A. Olds in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
Now, Goodwyn will become the first black judge in Chesapeake Circuit Court. There have been no women.
David L. Williams, the city's chief prosecutor for the past eight years, was appointed to General District Court to replace Goodwyn.
Williams, a 48-year-old Republican, has been commonwealth's attorney since 1989, when he defeated three-term incumbent Robert E. Kowalsky Jr. He was re-elected with no opposition in 1993, and would have faced re-election again this year.
Instead, an interim commonwealth's attorney will be appointed by Chesapeake's Circuit Court judges. The regular election will be held in November.
This is the third time in recent years that a local commonwealth's attorney has been named a judge. It happened most recently in Norfolk in 1992 with William F. Rutherford and in Portsmouth in 1991 with Johnny E. Morrison.
Williams began his legal career at a private law firm in 1978, then spent two years as a Norfolk prosecutor, followed by a stint in criminal defense with the Norfolk firm of Sacks & Sacks.
Timothy S. Wright, an attorney in private practice, was appointed to General District Court. This is a new seat on the court. That brings the total number of judges there to four.
Wright, 48, is a partner with the Chesapeake firm of Basnight, Wright, Kinser, Telfeyan and Leftwich. He has been practicing law for 24 years and has been a substitute judge since 1990.
Wright is past president of the Chesapeake Bar Association, the Great Bridge Jaycees and the Great Bridge Sertoma Club. He has an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a law degree from Washington and Lee University.
Pamela Hutchens Albert, a former Miss Virginia-USA who has been a prosecutor for 13 years, was appointed to General District Court. She will replace Judge John B. Preston, who retired this month.
Albert, 38, is a deputy commonwealth's attorney under Robert J. Humphreys. She was Miss Virginia-USA in 1981 and was one of 12 semifinalists in the Miss USA pageant that year.
She has an undergraduate degree from Duke University and a law degree from Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif. She joined the commonwealth's attorney's office in 1984. Albert is a director of the Virginia Opera and the Tidewater Performing Arts Society. MEMO: After a nine-hour stalemate, the General Assembly's delays filling
a slot on Virginia's highest court/B2 ILLUSTRATION: THE LIST
Judges appointed or promoted Friday by the General Assembly:
S. Bernard Goodwyn: Elevated to Circuit Court. Now a judge in
General District Court.
David L. Williams: General District Court. Now Chesapeake's
Timothy S. Wright: General District Court. Now in private
Pamela Hutchens Albert: General District Court. Now a deputy
Portsmouth juvenile court: Still vacant.
Portsmouth General District Court: In dispute
S. Bernard Goodwyn
Pamela Hutchens Albert
David L. Williams
KEYWORDS: PROFILE JUDGES GENERAL ASSEMBLY APPOINTMENT