Two Loudoun County General District Court judges are planning to retire in early 2020.
Chief Judge Frank Buttery, Jr., and Judge Dean S. Worcester notified the Loudoun County Bar Association of their planned retirements in early November.
Buttery will retire Feb. 1, while Worcester will step down March 1. Buttery was appointed to the bench in 2006, while Worcester was tapped in 2002. The two are currently joined on the General District bench by the Hons. Deborah C. Welsh and J. Gregory Ashwell.
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 or the two courts, with higher trials being handled in Circuit Court.
The General Assembly considers a local bar association's recommendations for appointments, but for the past two decades state lawmakers have essentially ignored the Loudoun bar's recommendations.
With the power shift in Richmond following last week's General Assembly races – both chambers flipped from Republican majorities to Democratic control – Loudoun County Bar Association President Renee Berard said it'll be interesting to see what course new lawmakers take in selecting new judges.
Berard, who has been practicing law in Loudoun for 10 years, said she can't remember the last time a bar nominee was appointed by the General Assembly.
“It's been frustrating,” Berard said, adding the Loudoun bar plans to hold a special meeting in December to consider recommendations. “Hopefully we can make a difference this time around."