- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 16, 2008

RICHMOND | The judge who presided over the trial of sniper mastermind John Allen Muhammad was appointed Friday to the Virginia Supreme Court by Gov. Tim Kaine.

The Democrat selected Virginia Court of Appeals Judge LeRoy F. Millette Jr. to succeed Justice G. Steven Agee, who was recently appointed to 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Mr. Kaine also appointed Chesterfield County Circuit Judge Cleo E. Powell to the state appeals court and Richmond attorney James C. Dimitri to the State Corporation Commission (SCC).

The appointments were Mr. Kaine’s to make only because the General Assembly failed to agree on the positions. Lawmakers will vote on his selections when they return to Richmond in January.

House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith, Salem Republican, declined to speculate on the appointees’ chances of confirmation, even though Judge Millette and Judge Powell received legislative approval for the jobs they are leaving.

“We have to sit down and review each of their records,” Mr. Griffith said.

Judge Millette’s record includes less than a year of service on the state appeals court. Before that, he served nearly 15 years as a circuit judge in Prince William County, where Muhammad was convicted of killing Dean Harold Meyers during the 2002 sniper shootings. Judge Millette imposed the jury’s recommended sentence of death.

Before serving on the Circuit Court, Judge Millette served as a General District Court judge, an assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Prince William County and practiced law in private practice. He also has been an associate professor at Northern Virginia Community College since 1976.

“Judge Millette is a first-rate jurist who has devoted his life to the law,” Mr. Kaine said. “His talent is undisputed and his commitment is well-demonstrated.”

Judge Millette, 59, was born in Pennsylvania and raised in Alexandria and Fairfax County.

Judge Powell has been a Circuit Court judge since 2000, and was a General District Court judge from 1993 to 2000. She was an executive and corporate counsel at Virginia Power from 1989 to 1992 and served as senior assistant attorney general from 1986 to 1989.

Judge Powell, 51, is a native of Roanoke Rapids, N.C.

Mr. Dimitri, 57, is a partner at the McGuire Woods law firm, where he represents utilities before the SCC and other regulatory agencies. He was a top lawyer on the SCC staff from 1994 to 2000. Before that, he represented consumers and rate payers before the commission, first as a staff attorney at the Virginia Poverty Law Center and later as assistant attorney general.

The governor’s office released letters from three environmental organizations supporting Mr. Dimitri for the position. Cale Jaffe, senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, noted that Mr. Dimitri had represented “a wide array of constituencies” before the SCC.

“He is widely respected among all stakeholders for his intelligence, expertise, and fair-mindedness,” Mr. Jaffe wrote.

Mr. Dimitri is a native of Somerville, N.J. He will succeed Theodore Morrison, who is retiring.

Mr. Kaine also appointed Fredericksburg Commonwealth’s Attorney Charles S. Sharp and Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court Judge David S. Schell to local Circuit Court judgeships.

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