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Attorney Belongia ranked highest among candidates for judge

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Martinsville attorney Kimberly Belongia, a candidate for Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court judge, was ranked highly qualified for the post by almost 75 percent of her peers at Monday’s meeting of the Martinsville-Henry County Bar Association.

She was the only one of the six candidates who received a majority of votes indicating she was highly qualified, according to a bar association news release.

Belongia and five other area attorneys have expressed interest in filling the judgeship now held by Junius P. Warren, who plans to retire April 1.

Local members of the General Assembly asked the local bar association to review and submit rankings of potential candidates by Tuesday. The bar met Monday in the Martinsville Municipal Building and interviewed the six candidates before casting ballots.

Of the 40 members casting ballots, 29 ranked Belongia “highly qualified” to be a Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court judge, the release stated. An additional 10 found her to be “qualified” for the position.

Stuart attorney Alan Black received the second most votes, with 19 ballots as “highly qualified” and 14 as “qualified,” according to the release.

Others who expressed an interest in the position were Henry County Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert (Bob) Bushnell; Assistant Patrick County Commonwealth’s Attorney Marcus Brinks; Assistant Henry County Commonwealth’s Attorney Wayne Withers, and attorney Timothy Halpin, according to Janine Jacob, president of the Martinsville-Henry County Bar Association.

Jacob said the tally was forwarded to state legislators Tuesday morning, and the General Assembly will appoint Warren’s successor.

“The next judge to sit in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court will make important decisions affecting many families in our community, and it is important that the right person is selected,” Jacob said in the release. “There were a number of good candidates, and the lawyers of our community, who have unique insight into the position and the candidates, went through a very deliberative and thoughtful process to make sure our legislative representatives know who we think is highly qualified.”


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