Judge Peatross to Retire

Albemarle Circuit Judge Paul Peatross will be retiring come January 31, Bob Gibson reports in today’s Daily Progress.

But the real story here is his replacement. Much as word of Del. Mitch Van Yahres’ retirement set aspiring politicians’ eyes agleam last year, Peatross’ retirement is have the the same response among well-known lawyers. Gibson writes that Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Camblos, C’ville General District Judge Robert Downer, Daniel Meador, deputy prosecutor Richard Moore, and assistant prosecutor John Zug are all likely to angle for the position.

Judgeships are not elected, but are appointed by the General Assembly. Having sat through some judgeship appointment votes at the Republican-led GA, they basically all sail through, voting for whomever the Courts of Justice committee has supported who, in turn, often supports whomever the local bar association supports. Interestingly for us, both Del. Rob Bell and Del. David Toscano sit on Courts of Justice. Del. Toscano has called for an open and fair process this time but, frankly, that’s just not going to happen under the current leadership in the General Assembly, who’s actually taken to killing bills under secret votes by a half dozen people in the dark of night.

I don’t know about y’all, but I find the prospect of Judge Camblos terrifying. Jim Camblos is not a man known for his good judgment and definitely not known for being on an even keel or, for that matter, simply being nice.

If you support an open, fair selection process and you’re represented by a Republican (Del. Bill Janis, Del. Rob Bell, or Del. Watkins Abbitt), contact your representative and let him know. If there’s anybody you’d like to see as judge — or anybody you really don’t want to see as judge — contact your representative (of whatever political stripe) and let him know, particularly if you’re represented by Del. Bell or Del. Toscano.

13 Responses to “Judge Peatross to Retire”


  • It’s about time.

  • Well, Zug is an arrogant *&*$& who shouldn’t serve as a judge. Downer is too left and I’m not familiar with Meador. Richard Moore would do a good job.

  • I’m back to being a Cville newbie. The only name I know is Camblos because of local news and that “greatest hits” piece Waldo wrote.

  • “Judge Camblos” :::shudder:::

    Waldo, did you post that just to scare the bejeezus out of us, or does he actually have a chance of it?

    Are we talking UVa Law prof-emeritus Meador or Meador Jr., the employment law attorney?

  • Waldo, did you post that just to scare the bejeezus out of us, or does he actually have a chance of it?

    I wish I knew. The mechanizations that go into this are a mystery to me. I’m aware of them in the abstract sense — basically what I described above — but it would take somebody far more in touch with the process and the personalities than I am to figure out how good his shot is.

    I want him to cease being my commonwealth’s attorney, but not like this.

    Are we talking UVa Law prof-emeritus Meador or Meador Jr., the employment law attorney?

    Bob Gibson writes only that it’s “Daniel J. Meador Jr.”, without further explanation as to who he is.

  • I think too many LLBs dislike amblos ergo no judgeship. You saw it here – maybe not first,

  • Judge Downer would be excellent. But that would mean we would lose him in C’ville. Why no defense attorneys under consideration?

  • Some defense attorneys may well surface before it’s all said and done, but it can be difficult to lure them out of private practice as they would typically be taking a pay cut to go on the bench -not so for prosecutors.

    I know of at least one attorney of local and statewide reknown who would be a shoo-in, but long ago pulled himself out of consideration for a Circuit Court judgeship due to his personal opposition to capital punishment – he reasoned that if he could never bring himself to impose the death penalty, he could not fully discharge the duties of the office. I suspect he’s not alone in that sentiment.

  • No Camblos. No, no, no. I’d rather trust a case to a magic 8 ball than submit to Jim Camblos’ judgement.

  • Wow, where to start, hmmmmmm, well Peatross was not a bad judge, seriously. Sure he yelled at some people, namely Camblos, who can blame him. Peatross liked his court to run on time and with a smooth flow. Camblos is always fumbling around not knowing the case and Peatross would start by asking, “what is the next question” then Camblos would get flusterd and it was off to the races. He will be missed.

    How much he will be missed depends on the next judge. If it is Camblos the County will suffer. He is all bluster and no substance. He thinks that this is simply the next step in he career and he has earned the right to wear the robe. It is true he has been a party loyalist and to that end he deserves to be rewarded by the party but even Virginia Republicans are not that dumb.

    Zug is well simply not qualified. He might be qualified for a Juvenile Judgeship but not the Circuit Court.

    Downer is an honorable man, a bit left and might struggle handing out the tough sentences some of the crimes require. It will be hard to pry him off the GDC Bench.

    Rick Moore could do it but he is not political and these positions usually go to a person who is either close with a delegate, see Tim Sanner’s appointment by Rob Bell, or a party loyalist, god not Camblos.

    I am unsure who the other guy is. The past two Circuit Court Judges around here, Sweat and Hogshire kind of came out of no where

  • “Peatross liked his court to run on time and with a smooth flow.”

    Yeah, the mark of a tremendous judge! Rather than evaluate him on the LAW and a STRONG DESIRE for JUSTICE, you think he’s A-okay if he gets everybody home on time for supper. That just disgusts me, as Peatross did.

    The fact is, Peatross terrorized attorneys to the point of them not being able to do their job properly, but rather try for what Peatross would be known to accept in “his” court. Maybe you have never been on the receiving end of that kind of Roy Bean Justice, but many have! Unfortunately, the condemned don’t have a voice…

    On a further note, I find it reprehensible that in our so-called civilized world today, the parody of Justice that’s carried out on a daily basis by hordes of little regional terrors (district judges) having complete and utter dictate based on frequently entirely subjective viewpoints, can be ignored so universally in our society today.

  • Judge Paul Peatross is widely known in C’ville for his awful rulings against divorced fathers in the areas of child support and custody, not to mention criminal cases. It is a GREAT thing that he will be gone shortly. I really can’t image another judge doing a worse job than he has done except maybe Judge Johnson.

  • the most incompetent judge I have ever known…..

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