Virginia judge Jeffrey Parker tramples property rights

Virginia’s judges should be elected, not appointed

In a ruling that provides compelling evidence that Virginia is in dire need of judicial reform, 20th Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey W. Parker (Fauquier County) Dec. 21 dismissed charges brought by farmer Martha Boneta against the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) while allowing Boneta’s case against her neighbors, Phillip and Patricia Thomas, to proceed.

In a case that has attracted national attention, Boneta, owner of a 64-acre farm in Paris, Va., and her Piedmont Agriculture Academy, LLC (PAA), charged the PEC with unlawful and unreasonable conduct in connection with the enforcement of a conservation easement on PAA’s farm, including instigating and coordinating litigation against PAA with Mr. Thomas to purportedly enforce the conservation easement even though Thomas is not a holder of the easement and cannot legally have enforcement rights, encouraging Fauquier County officials to issue unwarranted zoning citations against PAA; and encouraging government officials to audit PAA.

Even though Boneta presented mountains of evidence

Judge Jeffrey W. Parker

Judge Jeffrey W. Parker

showing collusion between the PEC and the Thomases, Parker dropped all charges against the Warrenton, Va.-based land trust. In fact, the allegations against the two parties were the same. How impartial was Judge Parker? Months before the PEC case was even heard, Judge Parker proclaimed from the bench that he “didn’t believe the PEC was guilty of wrongdoing.” This bizarre statement foreshadowed how Parker would rule when the case and the evidence were finally before him nearly a year later. For her part, Boneta plans to appeal the ruling and has separate suit pending against the PEC.

Fit to Serve on the Bench?

In accordance with Virginia law, the Executive Secretary of the Virginia Supreme Court Dec. 1 submitted evaluation reports for 27 judges eligible for reappointment. Among the circuit court judges to be officially evaluated for reappointment, Judge Parker finished dead last. All told, 155 attorneys and jurors submitted evaluations of Judge Parker. Of those, only 56% found that he displays knowledge of the law every time, only 58% found that he is faithful to the law every time, only 54% found that he allows lawyers appropriate latitude in presenting their case every time, and only 58% found that he exhibits fairness to all parties every time. Only 55.6% rated Judge Parker’s performance as “excellent.”

During his stormy 16-year term, Parker has seen many of his decision overturned. Widespread anger over the judge’s erratic behavior led Virginians from all walks of life to gather in Richmond Dec. 2 to air their complaints before the Courts of Justice Committee’s Judicial Review. Citing Parker’s controversial rulings in cases ranging from domestic abuse to land-use disputes, outraged Virginians demanded that Parker not be reappointed.

Unlike most states, where judges are elected and thus accountable to the public they serve, judges in Virginia are appointed to the bench by a committee of the General Assembly. The General Assembly’s Courts of Justice Committee is composed of practicing attorneys and other members of the bar who, at one time or another, may have cases before the very judges they appoint and reappoint. This odd arrangement, rife with potential conflicts of interest, explains why relatively few judges are not reappointed. Furthermore, Virginia’s judges are not subject to term limits and generally don’t vacate the bench until they retire.

Virginia’s circuit court judges are appointed for terms of eight years. Parker’s next term would begin April 30. Parker, 65, has acknowledged suffering from severe hip and back pain and has indicated that he might not serve out his full term, pointing out that he’s eligible for retirement in two years. “It hasn’t been easy,” Parker told fauquiernow.com (Dec. 16). “I’m still struggling through it.”

Why would the Courts of Justice Committee reappoint a judge who has received such poor evaluations for his performance on the bench and whose health may not allow him to carry out his duties much longer?

In deciding cases, judges are not only issuing legal opinions, and in some cases setting legal precedents, they are also determining the fate of the people who come before them.

Virginians, whether plaintiffs or defendants, have the right to expect that the judges who hear their cases are competent, fair, as well as physically and mentally capable of discharging their duties.

“Justice is Supposed to be Blind and without Bias”

“It is heartbreaking to know that a sitting judge would have such an unfavorable history and continue to be on the bench,” Boneta said. “The ethical conduct of our judiciary is fundamental to a fair and just legal system. No citizen in the United States should be so maliciously targeted only to face a judge who seems to encourage collusion and bullying of the citizenry. Justice is supposed to be blind and without bias. It is my hope and prayer that no American citizen ever has to suffer the way we have on our family farm.”

As a first step toward judicial reform in Virginia, the Courts of Justice Committee should refuse to reappoint Judge Parker.

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About the Author: Bonner Cohen, Ph. D.

Bonner Cohen, Ph. D.

Bonner R. Cohen, Ph. D., is a senior policy analyst with CFACT.

  • ted towny

    Some of these people like the Judge should have their comments sense checked, totally political which means ???? Money / Pocket!?

  • Bobby

    This judge should be disbarred at the very least,nah.He needs to be arrested.And be forced to cover her costs.It’s been time not just to make an example of these crooked and rights stealing judges to let all know that they have serious consequences for abuse, bribes and crimes against the people.Being in a position like this, the penalties should be even higher.Enough of these EnvironMENTALISTS and their Green religion.And brainwashing,deceiving children in schools.Trying to enslave everyone with their doctrines from demons.Deceived and deceiving.Thanks for your work and the Lord bless you!

    • Dano2

      disbarred at the very least,nah.He needs to be arrested.And be forced to cover her costs.

      Why? Be specific.

      Best,

      D

      • psychicbloodbrother

        Because his actions were criminal. Did you read the article? Its about property rights and this judge was inconsistent in his ruling and there fore should be disbarred and face charges under the color of authority. Are you a paid shill or just a shill Drano2?

        • Immortal600

          He is a troll. Stupid one too.

          • Dano2

            “He”

            Best,

            D

            • Immortal600

              Dano = FRAUD

        • Dano2

          You can’t show the actions were criminal, or that the judge should be disbarred. You’re just mad because the landowner had a conservation easement on their property, aren’t you?

          Best,

          D

          • J T

            And you’re just mad that everyone knows you’re a dchbg.

            • Dano2

              Can YOU show the actions were criminal or wrong in any way?

              Best,

              D

  • real talk 1

    America it’s time over due to put people that like to trample on others rights lets stop this now we have sat on the side line to long . It’s time to stop it in it’s tracks and tell these people where to get the hell off you may have the right to be nut’s but keep it in your own hut !!!!

  • Dano2

    Did Martha comply with the contract or did she not?

    Best,

    D

    • Pam Dunn

      WHAT “contract”; They attempted to impose illegal non-existent limitations and restrictions on her farm and business including a BOGUS claim that some union general camped on the farm during the war of northern aggression.

      • Dano2

        “It” is a parcel under conservation easement. She “agreed” to the deed “restrictions” at time of “sale”.

        Best,

        D

        • psychicbloodbrother

          So tyranny is ok if its written down….wrong. The courts are supposed to protect the freedoms of individuals. Contracts that violate your constitutional rights are null and void. Only a progressive idiot would stand on the side of tyranny and say its fine. Why do you hate America?

          • Immortal600

            Don’t expect Dano the kook to understand much. He suffers from OCD thus his phony ‘Best, D’ at the end. It is impossible for him to make a post without it. A sad little troll.

            • psychicbloodbrother

              Oh i get it…D is for Demon. Happy New Year. Lets make it a great one !!!!

              • Dano2

                So you can’t tell anyone the specifics of why you are complaining here? Shocker.

                Best,

                D

          • Dano2

            Hilarious.

            Flailing comedy aside, what specifically – specifically – did the court do – specifically – that didn’t – specifically – protect the freedoms of individuals.

            Tell us – specifically – how this particular contract violate[d] someone’s constitutional rights and specifically why the courts to date have been silent on that issue.

            Specifics only, please.

            Best,

            D

    • psychicbloodbrother

      How’s that deal with the devil working out for you? Do you think you can get out of that contract?

      • Dano2

        Did she or did she not?

        Best,

        D

  • wally12

    Martha Boneta should have the right to request a different judge to hear and decide on her claims. The judge’s per opinion of supporting the environmental agency must not be allowed to occur in the US. I hope their is some group like Judicial Watch to take up her case. I wish her every success in her fight for real justice and not the corrupt approaches of the PEC environmental agency.

    • Dano2

      “agency”

      Best,

      D

      • wally12

        @Dano2: So PEC is not an agency. Bravo, is that all you have got? I’ll answer that for you. Yes, that is all your have. I have read too many of your one word remarks. Try many some relevant statements.

        • Dano2

          Try answering my question upthread.

          Best,

          D

          • wally12

            @Dano2: Answer it yourself.

            • Dano2

              Just pointing out the flailingly wrong portion of your comment: Yes, that is all your (sic) have.

              ❤ ❤ ❤

              Best.

              D

              • Immortal600

                Dano=KOOK

                • Dano2

                  ” = ”

                  Best,

                  D

                  • Immortal600

                    Dano = TROLL

                    • Dano2

                      “Dano”

                      Best,

                      D

                    • Immortal600

                      FRAUD

              • wally12

                @Dano2: You finally got a laugh out of me. You gave me 3 hearts. Wow! I didn’t realized you even loved men. By the way I don’t. Ha,ha ,ha, ha.

                • Dano2

                  I’m just making sure I gave you a safe space.

                  Best,

                  D

                  • J T

                    So you’re a queer, too? That doesn’t surprise me.

                    • Dano2

                      Standard fear-filled flail, lashing out at the need for a safe space.

                      Best,

                      D

                    • Immortal600

                      Does coming here to troll make you feel superior?

                      hahahahahahaha

                    • Dano2

                      Another one scared and needin a safe space now? Sheesh.

                      Best,

                      D

                    • Immortal600

                      No. I have no need for it. But you? You have a NEED to come here to troll. To make yourself feel superior. The ironic thing is………you aren’t

                      hahahahahahaha

                      hahahahahahaha

  • Judges all across America are running a gangster scheme on taxpayers and citizens!

    Nov 1, 2016 Watch California Cops Steal Every Penny from an Innocent Family

    Can the government take all of a family’s money based on suspicion that one family member committed a crime? That is exactly what happened to the Slatic family earlier this year, when the San Diego County District Attorney seized over $100,000 in personal bank accounts belonging to James Slatic, his wife Annette, and their two teenage daughters, Lily and Penny, without charging anyone with a crime.

    https://youtu.be/gI3hHVcIcdY

  • fantomnutt

    Let’s get to the root of this problem, the judges being appointed and not elected. Being appointed the people have no control over the judiciary. The Virginia legislature needs to change that law or what ever controls this and put the people back in control. A judge such as Mr Parker would have been voted out long ago.

    • Dano2

      So you want to elect judges to not follow the law?

      Weird.

      Best,

      D

      • Immortal600

        The law? Another topic you have no clue about. Dano the OCD KOOK

      • fantomnutt

        I have no idea where you got that from. If a judge is NOT following the law then he is voted out. Or had you rather a bunch of lawyers put the judges in that they fell more comfortable with.

        • Dano2

          Well, the judge did nothing wrong, so who knows what it is that you are complaining about.

          Best,

          D

  • Jim_AZ

    You can tell from his right eye, that he turned off the left side of his brain.

  • RT

    Time for voting from the rooftops is rapidly approaching.