Saturday, May 05, 2007

Nominees for U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia

Democratic Sen. Jim Webb is making his presence felt with the recent two vacancies in U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia.

Daily Press reports that Republican Sen. John Warner and Webb have collaborated to recommend the following seven candidates to President Bush for the two judicial openings: Joanne F. Alper of Arlington; Mark S. Davis of Portsmouth; Dennis W. Dohnal of Richmond; David J. Novak of Montpelier; Jeri K. Somers of Arlington; Jonathan C. Thacher of Fairfax Station; and Anthony J. Trenga of Alexandria.

Somehow....Howling Latina doesn't think Fairfax Circuit Judge Thacher has too good of a chance of being chosen by Bush. Thacher was the guy who ran up to the Prince William County jail to investigate whether a "retainer" had been issued by prison officials to John Allen Muhammad, outraging the prosecution team.

Thacher ended up having to recuse himself and the case was eventually thrown out by the new judge.

Virginia Lawyers Weekly in a March 5, 2007 article reports that Arlington Circuit Judge Joanne F. Alper and U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis W. Dohnal of the Richmond division earned the highest ranking of all the nominees.

Alper was the presiding judge in the jury trial of anti-Bush demonstrators. Right before the '04 elections, about 100 protestors had gathered outside the Bush-Cheney campaign headquarters in Arlington. When asked to leave, some refused, chained themselves to doors and each other and started to "chant" against administration AIDS policies.

The protestors were soon arrested and charged with trespassing. And during trial, the no-nonsense judge warned protestors and defense counsel in front of the jury: "I do not want these individuals making speeches about AIDS."

Although Dohnal is actually the top candidate based on recommendations by six statewide bar groups, it may not be enough. You see, he's hardly a loyal "Bushie." Dohmal ruled against the Virginia Republican party in the eavesdropping scandal when they had the balls to sue their insurance company and try to collect the $950,000 they had to fork over for illegally snooping on Democrats.

The Virginia Bar Association highly recommended Dohnal, 61, and Alper, 56 and the Virginia Women Attorneys Association highly endorsed Dohnal; they also recommended Alper.

VWAA recommended Fairfax Circuit Judge Jonathan C. Thacher, 59, Davis of Portsmouth, Novak of Montpelier, Somers of Arlington and Trenga of Alexandria.

VBA endorsed Portsmouth Circuit Judge Mark S. Davis, 44, Jeri K. Somers, 46, an administrative judge for the U.S. Civilian Board of Contract Appeals in Washington, David J. Novak, 45, an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District and Anthony J. Trenga, 57, a civil litigator at Miller & Chevalier of Washington, DC.

The Virginia Trial Lawyers Association rated Dohnal, Alper, Davis, and Trenga highly qualified and Somers, Thacher and Novak qualified.

The Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys rated Alper, Davis, Dohnal, Somers highly qualified.

You may recall, Virginia's Eastern District made post-9/11 headlines in United States v. Zacarias Moussaoui, United States v. John Walker Lindh and Yaser Hamdi v. Donald Rumsfeld.

Dollars to a donut that Novak, the assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District known as the "prosecution team's death-penalty expert" gets the nod from Bush. Just what Virginia needs, another noose happy judge.

Oh, by the way, guys; the two nominees will have to get through the Senate Judiciary Committee and be confirmed by the full Senate. Now ain't we glad we've got the majority and Webb on our team!

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