After hearing presentations from six Loudoun attorneys seeking appointment to a Circuit Court judgeship vacancy Jan. 11, 59 percent of the Loudoun Bar members voting on a recommendation backed Alexander N. Levay for the bench seat.
The General Assembly is expected to vote next month on appointing a successor to Burke F. McCahill, who retired Jan. 1.
Levay earned his law degree from the George Washington University National Law Center in 1987. He came to Loudoun in 1990 to serve as Loudoun’s public defender. In 1996, he went into private practice with David Moyes and today runs his own firm specializing in criminal, family law and personal injury cases.
Former Assistant County Attorney Lorrie Sinclair, now of Biberaj, Snow & Sinclair, garnered the second most votes among bar members. Other candidates are Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Sean P. Morgan, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Alejandra Rueda, Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Germaine “Gigi” Lawless, and Assistant County Attorney Zaida Thompson. Attorneys Robert Hartsoe and Thomas Plofchan initially applied to be considered for the Bar’s nomination, but did not participate in last week’s meeting.
McCahill’s retirement marks an end of an era in Loudoun’s Circuit Court. He was appointed to the bench in 1998 and served most of his 18 years alongside judges Thomas D. Horne and James H. Chamblin. Together they formed one of the most experienced Circuit Court rosters in the commonwealth—serving a combined 75 years on the Loudoun bench at the time of their retirements. And before that trio, Judge Carleton Penn served on the bench from 1970 until 1998, long after his formal retirement.
Until McCahill’s replacement comes on board, the circuit will be served by three judges with a combined six years of experience. Former prosecutor Stephen E. Sincavage was appointed to replace Chamblin in 2013. Jeanette Irby replaced Horne in 2014. Douglas L. Fleming Jr. was tapped to fill a newly created fourth judgeship last January.
Horne, who faced mandatory retirement in 2013, continues to serve as a substitute judge—even before McCahill’s retirement spread an already heavy workload among fewer hands.
According to statistics from the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, the caseload between July 2015 and July 2016 required the service of more than four judges on 55 percent of the court’s days. It’s not just population growth that is driving the workload, the cases are becoming more complex and time consuming. Jury trials increased from 12 percent in fiscal year 2014 to 37 percent in fiscal year 2016, for example, and civil cases categorized as level 3/highly complex increased by 24 percent during that period.