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J&DR District Court Judicial Screening December 2017

Fairfax J&DR District Court Judicial Screening Online Membership Vote

The online membership vote for candidates for one or more anticipated judicial vacancies on the J&DR District Court bench will take place from December 13, 2017 through December 28, 2017 at 4:00 PM. Only Regular and Honorary Members of the FBA are eligible to vote. In order to vote, Regular and Honorary Members must have a valid email address on file with the Fairfax Bar Association.

 

Eligible members may vote from any location providing Internet access. A computer will be made available at the FBA office, should any member need to vote at that location. 

 

EXPLANATION OF VOTING CATEGORIES: The following are general definitions of the judicial ballot voting categories. A vote must be entered for each applicant. If you do not have sufficient knowledge about an applicant, your vote should be "No Opinion.”
 
  • ENDORSED: By voting "ENDORSED" you are affirmatively asserting your belief that the particular applicant’s name should be submitted to the legislature for consideration as a judicial applicant by the Fairfax Bar Association. 
  • NOT ENDORSED: By voting "NOT ENDORSED" you are asserting your belief that the particular applicant’s name should not be submitted to the legislature for consideration as a judicial applicant by the Fairfax Bar Association.
  • NO OPINION: A "NO OPINION" vote means you do not feel you have sufficient knowledge of the applicant to vote "ENDORSED" or "NOT ENDORSED".

 

Candidate Information: Below you will find the following information for each candidate.

  • Biographical information submitted by the candidate
  • Photograph
  • Findings of the FBA Judicial Screening Panel that screened the candidates
  • Executive Summary of the FBA Screening Panel (click on the candidate's name to view this)

                 
Note: the Executive Summary for each candidate will also be found on the ballot – click on “Read A Full Description” under each candidate to review the Executive Summary as you vote. 

 

If you have any questions about the online election, please contact the Fairfax Bar Association at 703-246-2740.

 

Candidates

Biographies

Maha-Rebekah Abejuela
Committee Recommendation - Recommended

Maha-Rebekah Abejuela is currently working as an Assistant County Attorney for Fairfax County representing the Department of Family Services in abuse and neglect cases involving both children and incapacitated adults.  She previously worked as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for Fairfax County for over five years.  She prosecuted numerous felonies and misdemeanors, and specialized in domestic violence cases for the majority of her time there.  She began her practice of law with the Legal Services of Northern Virginia and Potomac Legal Aid Society where she focused primarily on foreclosures and domestic violence related family law cases for over three years.  

Donna R. Banks
Committee Recommendation - Not Found Qualified 

Donna Banks, a long-time resident within Fairfax County, is an Assistant County Attorney in the Fairfax County Attorney's Office and has been serving in this position since 2001. She has held the position of Special Counsel with the Division of Child Support Enforcement and prior to that was a Magistrate in the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit. Donna has been engaged in the practice of law for over 22 years, covering a wide variety of cases involving criminal, domestic relations and civil law. She litigates on a daily basis in the Fairfax J&DR District Court amassing extensive experience in juvenile and family law in dedication to public service.

Joseph B. Dailey
Committee Recommendation - Recommended

Joseph Dailey is a 1998 graduate of American University, and received his J.D. in 2003 from the George Mason University. Joe started practicing in Fairfax as an Assistant Public Defender from 2003-2007. Joe then worked at the Magee Law Firm until 2013; when he started his own law firm. Joe has been heavily involved in the JDR Court system, involved in juvenile and adult criminal charges, foster care and support cases, and seeking protective orders for victims of domestic violence.  Joe is a current member of the Fairfax County Bar Association Board of Directors and a previous chair of the FBA’s JDR Committee.

Jonathan D. Frieden
Committee Recommendation - Highly Recommended

A substitute judge since 2015, Jonathan Frieden has heard more than 2,200 cases and decided more than 430 contested matters in the Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.  Jon is an AV-rated litigator and shareholder at Odin, Feldman & Pittleman, where he has practiced for 20 years and served as lead counsel in hundreds of cases.  Jon is a commissioner in chancery and a conciliator for the Fairfax County Circuit Court and Treasurer and Public Relations Chair for the Fairfax Law Foundation.  He lives in Fairfax County with his wife and two daughters (ages 12 and 10). 

Jessica L. Greis-Edwardson
Committee Recommendation - Recommended

 

Jessica L. Greis-Edwardson is a Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for Fairfax County, joining the office in 2009.  Jessica prosecutes felonies and misdemeanors, specializing in domestic violence and crimes against children.  Between 2003 and 2009, Jessica practiced as a family law attorney with Legal Services of Northern Virginia, Potomac Legal Aid Society and a private firm.  Jessica co-chairs the Fairfax County Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team, and is a member of the Domestic Violence Prevention, Policy Coordinating Council and Domestic Violence Action Center board.  In 2011 Jessica received the Champion of Justice Award from the Northern Virginia Victim Assistance Coalition.

Jennifer S. Joffe
Committee Recommendation - Recommended

Jennifer Joffe has specialized in complex family law and litigation since 2003. She previously clerked for the Honorable Jane Marum Roush on the Fairfax County Circuit Court. She received her J.D. from Washington College of Law, American University; a M.S.W. degree from University of Michigan; and a B.A. degree from Ohio State University. She also previously had a distinguished career serving in the Fairfax County Office of Probation and Parole.

Ms. Joffe's academic credentials, experience as a practicing attorney and litigator, community involvement, and prior career as a Probation and Parole Officer uniquely qualify her for this position. 

John A. Kassabian
Committee Recommendation - Recommended

John Kassabian is a partner at Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C., engaged in the general practice of law with emphasis in criminal defense. He is the Fairfax City Prosecutor and since 2007, has regularly served as a substitute judge. John is a former Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney. He serves on the Virginia State Bar Lawyer Disciplinary Committee, the FBA Board of Directors and the Circuit Court, General District Court and J&DR District Court Committees. He is the Ombudsman of the FBA General District Court Judicial Feedback Program and recipient of two FBA President’s Awards. John is a lifelong resident of Fairfax County.   

    

Christie A. Leary
Committee Recommendation - Highly Recommended

Christie Leary began her criminal and civil litigation practice in 2001 as an associate and later partner at Greenspun, Shapiro, Davis & Leary, PC before opening her own firm in 2011.  Selected in 2014 as a Substitute Judge, Ms. Leary has presided over family law, criminal and civil matters in Fairfax County district courts.  Ms. Leary graduated from the College of William and Mary and received her law degree from George Mason University School of Law.  Ms. Leary serves as the President-Elect of the Fairfax Bar Association and past President of the Young Lawyers Section and Fairfax Law Foundation. 

Edward V. O'Connor, Jr.
Committee Recommendation - Highly Recommended  

 

Edward V. O’Connor, Jr. has practiced law in Fairfax County since 1982. He handles complicated family law matters in the Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Courts, Circuit Courts, and Appellate Courts. Ed serves the people of Fairfax County through his pro bono representation of numerous individuals. He served on the Boards of Directors of both Legal Services of Northern Virginia and Potomac Legal Aid Society. Ed is active in both the Fairfax Bar and the Virginia State Bar. He actively serves as a Substitute Judge of the District Courts since his appointment in January of 2007.

Kyle E. Skopic
Committee Recommendation - Qualified

 

Kyle Skopic has practiced for 30 years. After a Circuit Court clerkship, she worked as an Assistant Fairfax County Attorney handling child abuse cases. In 1998, she started a solo practice focusing on juvenile and family law, mental health law and covering Division of Child Support Enforcement dockets. She now frequently serves as a Guardian ad litem (1998 -) and as a Commissioner (2005 -). 

Kyle served on the FBA's Board of Directors and many other FBA committees. In recognition of her work, she received the FBA's James Keith Public Service Award (2014) and Fairfax CASA's Child Advocacy Award (2013). 

 

Lauren Waller Smith
Committee Recommendation - Not Found Qualified


Lauren Waller Smith heads Parents Work, a public interest law firm that provides family law representation at sliding scale rates to parents who prioritize caring for their children over economically rewarded work.  She has an extensive history of public service, including active involvement in the Fairfax Bar Association (FBA).  Ms. Smith has served on the FBA Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Committee since 2007 and is a Co-Chair of the FBA Family Law Section.  She has been representing low-income parents since 2001.  Ms. Smith graduated from Columbia University School of Law in 1995 and from Dartmouth College in 1990.

  Melinda L. VanLowe
Committee Recommendation - Highly Recommended

Helping children and families resolve critical life challenges, motivates Melinda VanLowe to serve on the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. Melinda grew up in Reston, Virginia and graduated from the American University, Washington College of Law. After working as law clerk to the Honorable Dennis J. Smith, in 2003 she started her career litigating criminal, domestic relations, and administrative appeal matters.  In 2011, Melinda opened her own practice.  She has been recognized as a Virginia and D.C. Super Lawyers Rising Star.  Melinda has been elected to the Virginia State Bar Council and is a substitute judge in Fairfax County. 

  Robert M. Worster, III
Committee Recommendation - Qualified

Rob Worster served in the USMC before graduating from the University of Richmond Law School. He volunteered with Legal Aid, the offices of the U.S. Attorney and Public Defender and interned for the U.S. District Court in Richmond (J. Hudson). 

Rob clerked for the Circuit Court (J. Bellows) and prosecuted as an Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney. Rob now practices family law.

Rob was named 2018 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year. He serves on the FBA's Board of Directors, the faculty of the VSB's Professionalism Course, and the VSB Disciplinary Committee.

Rob is married with two children. 

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