Judge Denies Petition to Remove Dumler - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Judge Denies Petition to Remove Dumler

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A judge ruled against a petition calling for Chris Dumler's removal from the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors Friday morning.

Albemarle County Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Higgins found no grounds to remove Dumler from the board due to his misdemeanor sexual battery conviction or neglect of duty.  Higgins said the court understands the frustration of the people but she finds no grounds to remove Dumler without finding a neglect of duty with an impact on the office.

Dumler says he is happy with the decision and says if anybody has a problem with the law they should take it up with the General Assembly.

"We don't rely on activist judges to remove people from office just because we don't like someone, disagree with them politically, have a problem with something they did in their personal life and the judge clearly got this one right,"   Dumler stated.

Albemarle Supervisor Duane Snow says Higgins' decision sends a bad message to the community. 

"It's never been about politics; it's about what is perceived in the community and not so much with older citizens but what message are we sending to our youth?" Snow said.

Protesters stood on the steps outside Albemarle County Circuit Court Friday morning.  The group chanted at Dumler on his way out and one protester followed him the entire way to his car.    

One protester, Jamie Morgan, said, "I want people to feel how they've been wronged, the court has let us down, Cheryl Higgins has let us down, the entire system is destroyed." 

Higgins told the courtroom that a lack of confidence by the public and the board of supervisors does not equal a neglect of duty.

Dumler says he is confident he will be able to move forward and work alongside other supervisors.  He says Albemarle County is going through a critical time right now and it's important for him to continue doing his job.

Now that the judge has made a decision, what's the next legal step and what does this mean for Dumler's future?   NBC29 legal analyst, Lloyd Snook, says the commonwealth could decide to appeal the judge's ruling to the Virginia Supreme Court but appeals cost money.

Snook says he's not surprised by the judge's decision. "It was not a frivolous motion to bring.  Clearly there are important issues of public policy to bring that the petitioners raised. The purely legal question, I think, the judge got it right," he stated.  

Snook also says he's not aware of an appeal ever being granted in a case like this.    

Friday afternoon Dumler released the following statement: "The only thing I'm disappointed in is that the conservative and tea party elements behind this petition were allowed to waste such a significant amount of taxpayer money and valuable court resources on such an obviously frivolous lawsuit. For a group of individuals who purport to hold in such high regard to principle of "efficient use of taxpayer dollars" and in such disregard the notion of "activist judges," they sure wasted a lot of taxpayer money pursuing a frivolous lawsuit in an attempt to circumvent the electoral process. Maybe they should add a caveat to their beliefs: '... except and unless its politically opportunistic to believe otherwise.'"

Video Extra:  Watch the video below for Judge Higgins ruling on the Dumler petition. (Decision begins at 17:49).

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