The Patrick County Bar Association has a new recommendation for legislators who are considering four candidates for judge: Don’t choose Eric Monday.

The bar met Thursday as a list emerged of four people who soon may be elected to fill upcoming vacancies in the 21st Judicial Circuit, which includes Henry and Patrick counties.

Monday, city attorney in Martinsville, was one of the four, but the bar in Patrick County on Friday submitted a formal resolution saying the association "finds him unqualified” to serve.

Three judgeships emerged because of a new opening in General District Court and the retirements of judges Bob Bushnell (in Juvenile and Domestic Relations court) and Martin F. Clark (Circuit Court).

District Judge Marcus Brinks and attorneys Jimmy McGarry, Kimberly Belongia and Monday are said to be under consideration by the Senate Committee for Courts of Justice and the House Judicial Panel. That committee would pass along its choices for the openings for final approval by the full General Assembly.

Brinks is likely to be elected to replace Clark and Monday is likely to be elected to replace Brinks. Belongia is likely to replace Bushnell, Martinsville Commonwealth’s Attorney Andy Hall told the Bulletin.

Eric Monday on Saturday sent by email to the Bulletin: "It is unethical for a judge to comment upon the judicial selection process, and I certainly believe that applies to me as well, as a candidate in this process.

"People entering a courtroom need to be assured that the person sitting there will hear their case respectfully, and decide their case free of any prejudice, bias or preconceptions."

The Patrick County Bar had interviewed Belongia Brinks and McGarry and rated McGarry and Belongia as “highly qualified” and Brinks as “qualified.” Monday did not submit his resume or indicate interest to the bar, its resolution said, but the resolution cited members’ familiarity with Monday in private practice and as a former county attorney in Patrick as groundwork for its evaluation.

Awbrey Watts, president of the Martinsville-Henry County Bar Association, had said she would not disclose how her group had voted on candidates.

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