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Local attorney picked for the bench

Longtime area lawyer Georgia K. Sutton will be the new juvenile and domestic court judge for the 15th Judicial District, which includes the Fredericksburg area.

Sutton, a partner in the local law firm Gardner, Maupin, Sutton & Haney, was recently selected by the District Circuit Court judges to fill the vacancy created by the appointment of Judge Patricia Kelly to the Circuit Court.

Sutton is expected to sit in Spotsylvania, where Kelly currently sits, but technically could sit anywhere in a district that includes the Northern Neck, Hanover and local jurisdictions. She will begin her judgeship July 1, but will have to be approved during the next session of General Assembly in order to keep the position for more than a year.

The circuit judges still have to fill a substitute JD&R position created by Bruce Strickland’s appointment to the General District Court. Chief Circuit Judge David Beck wrote in a memorandum that that appointment will be considered at a judge’s conference later this month.

Sutton is a 1982 graduate of the University of Richmond’s T.C. Williams School of Law, which now goes by the University of Richmond School of Law.

She served as Fredericksburg’s clerk of the circuit court from 1987 through 1990 and joined her current firm at the beginning of 1991.

She has spent the past 22 years practicing family law, which includes divorce and custody cases similar to the ones she’ll soon be presiding over. The juvenile court also handles criminal cases involving children.

Sutton said Thursday that becoming a judge has always been in the back of her mind and she is grateful for the opportunity that has arisen.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404