Background: Conscientious Virginia judge James Michael Shull, who smoked out a woman who sought to extend a restraining order based on false charges of domestic violence, was just removed from the bench by this Virginia Supreme Court ruling. Not only was Shull railroaded, but he has been the target of widely-disseminated lazy, misleading reporting by the Associated Press, the New York Post, and others.
Several dozen legal and mental health professionals who worked with Judge Shull wrote to the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission earlier this year testifying to Judge Shull’s good character and conduct as a judge. Below we quote from a few of them.
Lana R. Mullins, MSW, on Judge Shull:
“In regards to his professional behavior it has been my observations that he has researched and familiarized himself with the laws pertaining to the Juvenile Court and has worked very hard to properly administer foster care and child protective services cases. Judge Shull has demonstrated an understanding of the crisis-oriented response DSS must make in certain cases and haw made himself available for emergency hearings as needed. In my experience, Judge Shull has been fair in his decisions and above all has considered the overall safety of the children before his court.”
Read Ms. Mullins’ full letter here.
Attorney Daisy N. Compton on Judge Shull:
“Since Judge Shull was appointed to the bench about four years ago I have been before him on various cases in the Scott County J&DR District Court on at least a weekly basis…On a professional level I have the highest regard for Judge Shull who has proved to me to be a good judge who has made good decisions when faces with those most difficult of family situations that we are all familiar with in the J&DR courts.”
“As a matter of fact, my sister, who is employed by my office part-time as a legal secretary, and I, have often commented on his most courteous of manners and demeanor as a ‘perfect Southern gentleman,’ to all persons in public.”
Read Ms. Compton’s full letter here.
Lee County District Court Clerk Linda Gibson on Judge Shull:
“Judge Shull has been an excellent judge. He has always treated me and other Court personnel with kindness and respect. The attorneys that appear before him are treated with respect also. The litigants that appear before him are allowed to tell their side and leave the courtroom, whether they win their case or not, with the knowledge that they have been before a fair and decent judge.”
Read Ms. Gibson’s full letter here.
Retired Attorney Melanie L. Jorgensen on Judge Shull:
“I am a retired attorney in Jonesville, Lee County, Virginia and have practiced law in the state courts of Lee, Scott, and Wise Counties Virginia since 1983. I served as substitute judge for many years and was appointed to serve as a Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court Judge from 1998 to 1999.
“As such, I met and practiced with James Michael Shull for many years. I also practiced law before him when he began to serve as a Juvenile & Domestic Relations Judge. I limited my practice to the domestic relations area only, and I practiced before Judge Shull in Lee, Wise and Scott Counties weekly.
“Judge Shull has always maintained the highest standards of conduct and decorum in courtroom. My experience in family law practice has taught me that participants’ emotions can sometimes run high and reason is quickly lost. I have never witnessed any situation where he has exhibited improper behavior towards a witness. I have observed multiple incidents where he deftly and professionally defused potentially explosive confrontations of litigants.”
Read Ms. Jorgensen’s full letter here.