Loudoun Commonwealth’s Attorney James E. Plowman won’t be returning for a fifth term in 2020. Instead, he’ll be taking a seat on the other side of the courthouse bench.
The General Assembly today elected Plowman to an eight-year term in the 20th Judicial Circuit, to replace Judge Jeffrey W. Parker when he retires this fall.
Plowman was one of two candidates, with Leesburg attorney Lorrie A. Sinclair, to be interviewed for the position following the surprise announcement that Parker would retire effective Nov. 1 with more than five years remaining on his third term.
The action comes just weeks after the assembly tapped Plowman’s former chief deputy, James Fisher to fill the 20th Circuit judgeship that had been held vacant for the past two years.
Fisher will begin service July 1. Plowman’s term begins Nov. 1, just days before Loudoun voters will go to the polls to elect a new Commonwealth’s Attorney for a four-year term starting Jan. 1, 2020.
The 20th Circuit includes Fauquier, Loudoun and Rappahannock counties.
Plowman, 51, had not previously sought to be considered for a judgeship, but said the unexpected opening offered a new opportunity.
“I think the position of Judge, in any court, is something that a person is called to do,” Plowman wrote in a letter to state legislators. “Some may seek out these positions as a desire or culmination to cap off a career. I question whether those are the correct motives. I see this a more of a duty to men and women, whose sense of obligation has called them. These individuals would be well positioned, qualified and vested in their community to best serve the needs of its citizens. These individuals would also understand and know how to ensure that each person has equal access to the court system and is able to provide for the fair administration of justice. I believe I meet those criteria.”
Plowman earned his law degree from George Washington University after receiving a bachelor’s degree in economics at Virginia Tech. He served as an assistant commonwealth’s attorney for Robert Horan in Fairfax County from 1998 to 2001 and then worked as a trial attorney for Allstate Insurance in Falls Church before being elected to serve as Loudoun’s top prosecutor stating in 2004.
To date, there is only one candidate running in the commonwealth’s attorney’s race to replace Plowman. Buta Biberaj, Sinclair’s law partner, is the Democratic candidate.