Judge Horne, Journalist Morton to be Honored as Loudoun Laurels

Loudoun Laurels Chairman Joe May announced Monday that legendary Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge Thomas D. Horne and journalist Margaret Morton will be the 2016 honorees at the Loudoun Laurels Gala, Sept. 30 at Belmont Country Club in Ashburn.

“Judge Horne and Margaret Morton exemplify the very best of the traditions of public service, stewardship, and personal contributions to the life and history of Loudoun County,” May stated in making the announcement. “Their lives and work are role models for us all to follow and admire, and we are all, every single one of us, in their debt in some way.”

“Their stories will not only add immense understanding and depth to the Thomas Balch Library’s permanent research collections on the history of the county,” May stated, “they will be preserved online for young citizens and future generations seeking role models and standard-setters for how to live lives of stewardship and service.”

Judge Thomas D. Horne

When Chief Judge Thomas D. Horne retired from the Loudoun County Circuit Court in December 2013, he had served longer than any other judge in the circuit.

Horne is a 1965 graduate of Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, and a 1969 graduate of the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary.

For three years, from 1980 to 1982, he served as the county’s commonwealth’s attorney. He first took the bench in 1982, and served for the next 31 years until he reached the mandatory retirement age of 70.

In addition to his long and distinguished history as a judge, Horne was a driving force in establishing and maintaining a landmark educational experience for young people considering a career in law, the 20th Judicial Circuit’s Law Camp. There, students meet and interact with professionals in both classroom lecture and moot court environments.

A keen preservationist, he has worked diligently to protect and serve Loudoun County’s historic courthouse building in Leesburg. He also serves on the Board of the Friends of the Thomas Balch Library.

Margaret Morton

The dean of the active Loudoun County press corps, Margaret Morton is a 1958 graduate of Edinburgh University in Scotland.

In 1966, she left her native Britain to come to America after marrying a Virginian, W. Brown Morton III, later an Episcopal priest and Professor of Historic Preservation at Mary Washington University.

Margaret Morton
Journalist Margaret Morton has covered Loudoun County since 1992, first for Leesburg Today and currently for Loudoun Now.

Morton entered the world of journalism in 1992 joining the staff of Leesburg Today in September of that year. Last year, she became a founding member of the writing staff of Loudoun Now, recently recognized as the New Business of the Year by the Town of Leesburg.

With nearly a quarter century of experience, Morton has covered Loudoun, its history, its people and its places, with grace, style, wit and integrity, exemplifying the highest standards of both journalism and community service.

An active preservationist, Morton who served on Loudoun County’s first Historic District Review Board, has been a dedicated, active, personal and professional supporter of a host of county nonprofit and charitable activities.

The Gala

The annual Loudoun Laurels award ceremony is a highpoint of the Northern Virginia philanthropic season, with many leading individuals, companies and organizations supporting The Loudoun Laurels Stewardship Trust, the education arm of the organization.

Since 2013, the LLST and its supporters have presented $10,000 scholarships to deserving Loudoun County high school students. As of September, 11 such scholars will be attending Virginia schools. Each scholarship winner receives $10,000 a year for four years provided their academic record meets standards.

To reserve tickets to the Sept. 30 Loudoun Laurels Award Ceremony, go to loudounlaurels.org or call 703-787-7807.

The Loudoun Laurels is a registered 501c3 not-for-profit organization. Proceeds from tickets sales and other contributions support both the Loudoun Laurels and its Stewardship Trust scholarship fund.

4 thoughts on “Judge Horne, Journalist Morton to be Honored as Loudoun Laurels

  • 2016-05-31 at 12:49 pm

    It’s rather sad what has become of Loudoun’s judicial system. Are all the judges bad/biased? Of course not. We have some very honorable professionals. But here is a summary of some “weaknesses” in our system:

    1. The current Commonwealth Attorney knowingly censors comments on his social media page in violation of the Constitution. Yes, our “enforcer” of justice intentionally violates the very basis of our legal system – the US Constitution – to avoid bad press. It’s a good thing he doesn’t have to worry about bad press from the local newspapers, isn’t it? And he refuses to prosecute either conflicts of interest by public officials or unambiguous fraud/perjury committed in these very courtrooms. Jim Plowman is an embarrassment and a complete joke. It would be funny if he didn’t hold such an important position.

    2. Judge Jeanette Irby literally creates imaginary facts to absolve LCPS officials. Irby claimed that LCPS officials had complied with FOIA requests for salary info despite no evidence/testimony whatsoever to support that conclusion. She cites emails as being written two years later than they actually were to imply that officials were actively engaged in satisfying such requests. And she concludes that an official can literally vote to reject any competitor of the official’s employer without that constituting a conflict of interest which must be disclosed. Irby is so contemptuous of citizens seeking open government that she fines them $1,000’s and threatens much higher fines if citizens dare to hold Loudoun officials accountable. Is it possible to inflict more damage on the public’s perception of our legal system (and I would say real damage) short of actually taking bribes?! (I have never accused anyone of taking bribes for the record)

    3. And do we hear a peep out of the press? Have you seen any of these stories reported in either local newspaper?

    Today, we have opposing attorneys who both represent Loudoun citizens yet file their cases in neighboring districts just so they don’t run the risk of encountering either a biased judge or one who is incapable of comprehending the law in Loudoun. It’s rather ironic that Judge McCahill is so respected in legal circles while other courtrooms in that building are avoided like the plague.

    • 2016-06-01 at 8:08 pm

      I agree virginia_sgp, the Loudoun judicial system is troubled and not trustworthy. I have experience with Judge Horne, he was not the fair judge that he is credited to be. He refused , consistently ,to allow discovery of an alleged document from a Federal Government Agency. The document had no seal or phone number and Judge Horne allowed it into evidence while denying any and all attempts at discovery.

      He was determined to placate Lorrie Sinclair no matter what, while trampling the integrity of the Courtroom and turning it into a kangaroo Court. Not to mention that he was the one who selected Lorrie Sinclair as a special justice in the 20th Circuit. We have a judicial system in Loudoun that defends itself but doesn’t correct itself.

      I also agree the local media needs to be more involved , it was a free lance journalist who filed a FOIA request to expose the latest Chicago Police scandal. Radley Balko, of the Washington Post does an excellent job in covering judicial corruption at a national level but we need a reporter at the local level to bring our issues to the public’s attention.

  • 2016-06-02 at 2:04 pm

    Sally Cowen, yes the silence from the legal circles in Loudoun is deafening. I guess when you have to repeatedly step foot in front of these judges, 1+ at least who have shown willingness to retaliate against outspoken critics, folks aren’t eager to speak out.

    But folks can’t ignore the wanton disregard for the law by so many of our officials. Jim Plowman had his lawyer go before a federal judge today and make a false statement. The attorney probably was just repeating the lie that Plowman told him. But think about that. We have a “top attorney” charged with enforcing the law in our county. Not only does he violate the US Constitution to protect his image but he deceives his attorney to the point where false statements are made to a sitting federal judge!

    When neither Horne nor Cahill nor Sincavage nor Fleming nor Parker will speak out on this obvious corruption, should we continue to give them a pass because it didn’t occur in their courtroom? The legal system only works when folks have faith in it. That’s why judges are directed to recuse themselves when there are apparent conflicts (not even real ones). And yet we have a sitting Loudoun judge, Irby, who literally makes up facts that don’t appear anywhere in the record. Attorneys and their client commit perjury in her courtroom. But when asked to recuse herself in a follow-on case, she refuses to even let the party asking for the recusal be heard.

    This county will become the laughingstock when this all hits a jury in federal court. But go ahead, Loudoun judges and attorneys, keep thinking this is just going to blow over. You didn’t see the demeanor of the federal judge overhearing Davison v Plowman (1:16-cv-180) today. And you shouldn’t expect to hear a peep about it from the local newspapers who are all but bought and sold by the corrupt officials.

Leave a Reply