|Wednesday, January 21, 2004
General Assembly elects Trumbo circuit court judge
|Former state Sen. Malfourd "Bo" Trumbo will serve in the 25th Circuit.
By Michael Sluss
RICHMOND - Former state Sen. Malfourd "Bo" Trumbo soon will be a circuit court judge, thanks to his former legislative colleagues.
The General Assembly on Tuesday unanimously elected the Fincastle lawyer to fill a vacancy in the 25th Circuit, which includes the counties of Botetourt, Craig, Rockbridge, Alleghany, Bath and Highland and the cities of Lexington, Buena Vista and Covington.
Trumbo, 49, will replace the late Judge Duncan Byrd Jr., who died July 16 in a traffic accident in Bath County. Trumbo's eight-year term will begin Feb. 1.
"I had not planned on doing this," said Trumbo, who decided against seeking a fourth Senate term last year because of health problems. He said friends and fellow lawyers persuaded him to pursue the judgeship.
Trumbo, an independent-minded Republican, served one term in the House of Delegates and three terms in the state Senate. He chaired the Senate Rules Committee, served on the Courts of Justice Committee and enjoyed solid working relationships with lawmakers in both parties.
"He'll be a fantastic judge," said House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, a member of the House Courts of Justice Committee. "I think everybody recognizes that, if anyone here epitomizes judicial temperament, it's Bo Trumbo."
Byrd regularly presided in Craig, Bath, Alleghany and Highland counties. The Alleghany-Bath-Highland Bar Association wanted someone from that area to replace Byrd and endorsed General District Judge Gregory Mooney. But Trumbo had the endorsements of the Botetourt and Lexington-Rockbridge County bar associations and the support of Craig County's commonwealth's attorney.
Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath County, said the judgeship should have gone to a candidate from the Alleghany Highlands. But, after recognizing that most lawmakers supported Trumbo, Deeds voted for his former colleague.
"It should have been a local, but it's not," Deeds said. "Bo will do a good job. He has the right temperament."
Trumbo said he was not sure exactly where he will preside in the four-judge circuit, which stretches to Augusta County. Judge Thomas Wood, the circuit's chief judge, will make that decision, Trumbo said.
But Trumbo would not be a newcomer in the Alleghany Highlands. He grew up in Covington, represented the area for most of his Senate career and still has family there.
"He's no stranger in that part of the district," said Del. Jim Shuler, D-Blacksburg, who represents Alleghany, Bath and Craig counties. "He'll do a fine job."
Trumbo, a diabetic who has battled weight problems, said his health has improved since he decided to leave the legislature. He expects that improvement to continue as he embarks on a new career.
"It will allow me to have a more structured life as opposed to politics," said Trumbo, who will dissolve his Fincastle law practice.
Trumbo never sought the limelight during his legislative career. But he was highly regarded as the Senate's foremost authority on its arcane rules and a devoted protector of its traditions. Having his former colleagues choose him for a judgeship made the honor that much sweeter, Trumbo said Tuesday.
"It's a nice thing having the folks who've known me, who've seen me in times that were emotionally tough and issue-tough over the last 14 years to say, 'Yeah, we trust you,'" Trumbo said.
Staff writer Kevin Miller
contributed to this report.
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