Snow, Peach, Biberaj and Taylor

From left, Matthew Snow, Katrina Jalene Peach, Commonwealth's Attorney Buta Biberaj (D) and Lorrie Sinclair Taylor. Snow and Sinclair Taylor were approved by the Virginia Senate this week to be General District judges in Loudoun County.

The Virginia General Assembly has approved two new General District Court judges for Loudoun County, including the county's first black judge, Lorrie A. Sinclair Taylor.

The Senate unanimously approved Sinclair Taylor and Matthew P. Snow for the bench March 3.

The two will succeed judges Frank Buttery, Jr., and Dean S. Worcester, who notified the Loudoun County Bar Association of their planned retirements last November. Sinclair Taylor will begin her term in April, while Snow will take the bench in May.

Sinclair Taylor and Snow were previously law partners with first-year Loudoun County Commonwealth's Attorney Buta Biberaj (D). The trio closed their office at the end of 2019.

Originally from New York, Sinclair Taylor moved to Loudoun County in 1999. She said it's “been quite a journey” to the bench.

“I think I have a unique perspective that will help complement the judiciary,” Sinclair Taylor told the Times-Mirror. “ … It didn't dawn on me that I'd be the first [African American judge], I just had a passion to serve the community.”

Sinclair Taylor, who previously sought an open seat on the bench, said she hopes her diverse background and professional persistence will inspire young people to follow their dreams.

“I want to let young people know to pursue their dreams and work hard and it can pay off,” she said.

Snow, who grew up in Connecticut before locating to Virginia for college, said he thinks his steady temperament and calm demeanor will serve him well as a judge.

“I'm honored to have the responsibility,” Snow told the Times-Mirror, adding he feels like it's the right time in his career, which has included stints as a special justice presiding over cases involving mental health and as a substitute judge.

“Everyone who comes in front of us is a person, and I always want to remember that,” Snow said. “I want to make sure everyone feels heard.”

General District and Circuit Court judges in Virginia are appointed by the General Assembly. District Court judges serve six-year terms, while Circuit Court judges are appointed for eight years. General District is the lower of the two courts – though it handles a broader caseload – with higher trials being handled in Circuit Court.

Pastor Michelle Thomas, president of the Loudoun NAACP, was quick to comment on the historic appointment of Sinclair Taylor.

"On the heels of Black History Month and just in time for Women’s History Month, Lorrie Sinclair will move from arguing cases to deciding them this spring as Loudoun’s first African-American judge takes the bench," Thomas said on Facebook.

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This story has been updated to include comments from Snow and Sinclair Thomas.

 

(27) comments

Lawman

LeesburgD somebody’s listening cause change just keeps a happening. I feel like Dump, just don’t know if I can continue to take all this winning. 3 Supervisors now, Judge, Commonwealth Attorney, heck New Black Captain in LCSD. Stop it please can’t take too much more. Lol

Loudoun4Trump

Now if they could just appoint the first competent judge than we would be in business....

amerigirl

another statement with no backing. What judge was incompetent? Why?

Lawman

Change in this County started when Phillip Thompson became the NAACP President and continues under Pastor Michelle Thomas. The face of Loudoun is starting to look like its citizenship and this is just the beginning. The new census will confirm Loudoun's march to becoming a majority minority County, the school are already well over 50 percent minority. So for all you folks who don't like seeing this change, West Virginia, Alabama and Mississippi have plenty of homes, bad schools, and terrible health care just waiting for you!!

cschmeelk

"majority minority County" ummmm what? Also, fyi, Mississippi is the blackest state in the whole country at 40% African American.

LeesburgD

Lawman, when you are a one-trick pony - race - no one listens.

amerigirl

Sorry LeesburgD, we are listening. We want change not just the good old boys club.

ace10

Defending a bigoted lunatic. Nice!

amerigirl

Ace he's not defending you.

amerigirl

in 2018 the ethnic composition of the population of Loudoun County, VA was composed of 224k White Alone residents (55.1%), 77.2k Asian Alone residents (19%), 56.3k Hispanic or Latino residents (13.8%), 28k Black or African American Alone residents (6.88%), 18.4k Two or More Races residents (4.52%), 1.22k Some Other Race Alone. But I seriously think that all those people who claim only 1 race are probably more ethnic than they think

LetSanityPrevail

By your own statistics Loudoun is not represented by its ethnic composition. How many South Asians are in positions of government, how many Hispanics? Seems to me thise are the communities that have the most to complain about under representation.

Chris McHale

My issue isnt that she was appointed or that she is African American. My issue is that by highlighting it the focus is taken away from her qualifications and placed on her skin color. I hope she does well.

BobOhneiserEsq

Judges Buttery and Worcester were excellent and so will these newly placed judges. Their competence as lawyers and excellence as reasonable human beings are well known by those who have experience practicing with them and knowing them personally. How tall they are, what religious beliefs they have or how much melanin they have in their skin or ancestry should not be differentiators however as a melting pot nation we should not discriminate against someone for inconsequential differences either. Lets' hold off on criticism until and unless cases are mishandled or justice is misapplied. :-)

applicant45554

Bob, are you concerned about the potential for a COI with their prior business relationship?

Chris McHale

COI is always a concern but not until a case comes across their bench being presented by their former partner. If the Judge does not recuse himself/herself then there is concern about the fairness of the outcome.

amerigirl

Prior business is what lets her know that they can do the job.

Virginia SGP

I will take your word that they are bright and fair-minded. That is not the issue here.

The problem is that familiarity, gifts, or close relationships create implicit biases that are almost impossible to overcome or even identify. Folks don't give fair-minded politicians gifts because they believe the politician will explicitily favor them. They give those gifts because of the emotional attachment it generates and the resistance to take a hard stance.

Supposed the CA's office withholds some evidence or takes some position that the defense attorney believes is unethical. Are you seriously suggesting you trust these new judges to conclude that the CA's office, led by their former partner, was unethical and to take appropriate action? One must presuppose that the CA's office will always act ethically in order for no conflicts to arise. I think history has shown us that is a pipe dream.

I'm sure these two would make great judges in Fauquier or Clarke or Prince William. But this is untenable. The fact that a 3-person law firm disbanded in late 2019 and 1 went to the CA's office while the other 2 went to be judges in that county AND this didn't seem like a conflict to any of them is simply shocking. It just shows the state of ethics in LoCo.

amerigirl

That sounds a little on the paranoid side. They should not cross paths in court but that doesn't mean that they can't work in the same location.

amerigirl

Good to know, thanks for sharing. [thumbup]

Djfmer

Anything to meet NAACP quotas.

applicant45554

Am I understanding this correctly? These judges have longstanding personal relationships with the person who will be prosecuting criminal cases in the courts? Are they going to recuse themselves from every trial. And BTW, odd that the two most qualified candidates happened to serve on the same firm with the states attorney. Añdoesnt appear to have been a Bona fide dearch but instead about connections

Twocents

Have you looked at the other candidates? Just wondering. If not maybe you should have to decide if they were qualified.

pvilleresident

How is there not a conflict of interest in this whole thing? Talk about totally being rigged to help promote an agenda. I cry foul on this one.

Twocents

So the former CA is a judge and his asst ca still handle cases. IF they have to call in another judge then they have to call in another judge. It’s not uncommon. The CA does not decide who becomes a judge, the General Assembly does. If you looked into the history of the newly appointed judge you will see she was previously in a judgeship running BEFORE the current CA was elected by the people of Loudoun County. Uninformed people are dangerous. They.. well you, you speak on things as if it is factual yet you know nothing about this particular situation. Stay in your lane OR do your research before you start posting comments and looking like a fool. They both have earned their judgeship. There is no foul on the play. I see hard work, dedication to the community, and divine timing. Congratulations to both of them.

amerigirl

It would only be a conflict of interest if Biberaj had a case that was scheduled with one of those judges. The judge could recuse themselves or Biberaj could assign another prosecutor.

Well Water Person

That's just wonderful.

Well Water Person

Oh just frigging wonderful.

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