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Former prosecutor named judge

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State legislators make judge appointments

By Landmark News Service

Former Grayson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Dawn Cox was chosen as a juvenile and domestic relations court judge on Tuesday by the General Assembly.
She fills the position that has been vacant since the 2008 resignation of Judge Michael Keith Blankenship of Wytheville.

Cox’s appointment was one of three judgeships affecting the judicial circuit that includes Carroll and Grayson counties and Galax. Cox is a resident of Galax and has had a law practice in Grayson.
Lawmakers appointed Montgomery County Commonwealth’s Attorney Brad Finch to another juvenile and domestic relations judgeship in the region, and also filled a long-vacant circuit court judgeship in the New River Valley.
Named to the 27th circuit court seat was Montgomery County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Judge Marc Long of Blacksburg.
Long fills the circuit court seat that has been open since Judge Ray Grubbs retired in 2010. Finch was tapped to take Long’s spot on the juvenile and domestic relations bench.
Both seats are in the 27th judicial circuit, which includes the counties of Bland, Carroll, Floyd, Giles, Grayson, Montgomery, Pulaski and Wythe, and the cities of Radford and Galax.
Long’s eight-year term will begin July 1, as will Finch’s six-year term.
Finch, a Republican, was re-elected as Montgomery’s commonwealth’s attorney last November.
The judicial elections dragged into the wee hours of Tuesday morning after a marathon floor session that began Monday afternoon.
Lawmakers spent most of the day and night debating and voting on Gov. Bob McDonnell’s amendments to the state budget. The session ended when the House adjourned at 1:54 a.m.
The circuit court seat initially was held open because of budget constraints, then by a disagreement over who would fill the seat.
Long and 27th Circuit General District Judge Gino Williams had been candidates for the circuit vacancy. Long and Finch appeared before a panel of state lawmakers for a final round of interviews in early March, shortly before the end of the General Assembly’s regular session.
Republican legislators in the judicial circuit said there was a consensus in favor of Long.
But Democratic senators who represent the circuit initially wanted to have the say on filling one of two juvenile and domestic relations court vacancies in the region.
Democrats Phillip Puckett of Russell County and John Edwards of Roanoke initially backed Pulaski County Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Fleenor for the judgeship that ultimately went to Finch.