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Volume 23, Number 4 F a l l 2 00 8


Special points of interest: • Youngs Receives Winston Award • George Dodge on Chester Brasse


Winston Award New Member Addresses Membership News President’s Message GDC Court Schedule Dodge: Chester Brasse Foundation News

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Once again, the Arlington County Bar Foundation selected an outstanding lawyer to receive its annual William L. Winston Award. This year marks the 19th year the award was presented. The honoree is Arlington County and the City of Falls Church Public Defender, John Curtis Youngs who was recognized for his lifelong commitment to the legal representation of indigent criminal defendants. The award was presented by foundation chairman, Leo Andrews, at the foundation’s annual luncheon at the Army-Navy Country Club on November 21, 2008. The Winston Award was established in 1990 and named after Judge Winston, the first recipient, who was honored for his excellence as lawyer, legislator, and judge. Winston set a high standard to measure future recipients. The board of directors selects a member of the northern Virginia community who has a long-standing record of public service, distinguished themselves by advancing the principles of enlightenment, knowledge and education in the area of the American system of

jurisprudence, as well as the promotion of democratic ideals and the advancement of the rule of law. John Youngs’ life time commitment to the rights of indigent defendants makes him well deserving of this award. In presenting the award, foundation chairman Andrews recognized John’s contribution to the Arlington community. Andrews summarized the three attributes for which John is well know—his civility, compassion and professionalism. Andrews reminded the assembled guests that one of John’s first crusade was to reduce the excessive jail time many small offenders faced in the 1970’s, and as a result of John’s work the court’s modern pre-trial services program was developed. Also, speaking at the luncheon was Chief Circuit Judge William T. Newman, Jr., General District Court Judge Richard McCue and Commonwealth Attorney, Richard Trodden. All three have know John since he began practicing in 1976 after he graduated from Georgetown

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Law School and Harvard University. Judge Newman spoke of John’s passion, fairness and dedication to work. Judge Newman has know John from the beginning and worked with him when they were both young lawyers, sharing cases, and trial preparations. He summed-up John’s work ethic as grounded in a passion for fairness and dedication to his work. Another of his passions is opera music, especially Puccini. Dick Trodden reiterated what the other speakers noted about John Youngs recognizing his dedication to the constitution and his ability to see humanity in all individuals. Judge McCue, who once worked with John on several serious criminal defense matters saw first hand John’s talents and his inherent desire to teach younger lawyers. When the office of public defended was established, no one was surprised that its first director would be John Youngs. Since joining the Arlington County Bar Association over thirty years ago, John has held every position as an officer, director and president (19871988). Before opening his law office in Arlington, Youngs was a youth counselor and parole officer for the Ohio Youth Commission (1967-1968) and the DC Pretrial Services Agency from 1973 to 1978, rising to chief of operations. From 1978 to his appointment as public defender in 2004, John was a sole practitio-

ner representing mainly indigent criminal defendants. In 2004, when the office of the Public Defender was created, Youngs was appointed as the first Public Defender, a position he still holds. In 2006 the Arlington County Board appointed John to the Community Services Board, which advocates for those suffering from mental illness and substance abuse. Many of his board members were present at the luncheon. John Youngs rightly joins a list of distinguished law-

yers, legislators and others who most epitomize the principals established by the Foundation for recognition with the Winston Award. He joins past recipients of the award who include, in addition to Judge Winston, former state Delegate Mary Marshall (1991); former state Senator Clive L. Duval, II (1991); former Juvenile Court Judge Frank Ceresi (1992); community activist, former Arlington County Board member, and champion of voting rights Edmund D. Campbell (1993); community activist Lillian Brown (1994); Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, John Robinson (1994); former state Senator Edward M. Holland (1995); longtime Arlington Bar Association Executive Director Betty J. Waldow (1996); Clerk of the Arlington County Circuit Court David A. Bell (1997); retired Arlington County Police Chief William K. “Smokey” Stover (1998); Judge Thomas R. Monroe (1999); Delegate (now Circuit Court Judge) James F. Almand (2000); attorney Earl E. Shafer (2001); Judge Andrew B. Ferrari (2002), Delegate L. Karen Darner (2003), retired Chief Circuit Court Judge Paul F. Sheridan (2004), attorney Betty M. Thompson (2005), attorney Ken McFarlane Smith (2006), and Arlington Director of County Commission on Aging Terri Lynch (2007). Our congratulations to John Youngs. We hope he will quickly resume working for the causes most dear to his heart and continues to serve Arlington for many more years.♣

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Office Space for Rent Arlington Near 7-Corners Arlington Law firm on Wilson Blvd near 7 Corners has three offices (10 x11, 10x11 and 14 x14) and a workstation/cubicle for lease preferably to single tenant including use of reception area, conference rooms (2), and a kitchen. Sharing of equipment and phone service will be considered. Contact Dee Dee Payne at 703-534-4800.

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Jennifer Clarke Office of the Commonwealths’ Attorney 1425 N. Courthouse Rd., Suite 5200 Arlington, VA 22201 (703) 228-4410 Susan Mangan Benzinger Mercer 1255 23rd St. N.W. Washington DC 20037 (202) 263-3969 John E. Foster City Attorney, City of Falls Church, VA 300 Park Avenue, 3 East Falls Church, VA 22046 (703) 248-5010 Susan Fremit 2007 N. 15th Street, #106 Arlington, VA 22201 (571) 277-2348 Arianna S. Gleckel Bean, Kinney & Korman 2300 Wilson Blvd., 7th Floor Arlington, VA 22201 (703) 525-4000 Joe Katzen 14520 Avion Parkway, #210 Chantilly, VA 20151 (703-378-5770 K. Leigh Taylor Susan Hicks Group 9302 Lee Highway, #700 Fairfax, VA 22031 (703) 691-4848 Ana Isabel Kaldenbach-Montemayor Buckley & Kaldenback 3621 S. 6th Street Arlington, Virginia (703) 97-3076 Justina O. Ehiawaguan 2300 Clarendon Blvd., #201 Arlington, VA 22201 (703) 8750-1111 Julia Ovando PO Box 4421 Falls Church, VA 22042 (703) 371-9630 Joseph O. Hankins Arlington County Circuit Court 1425 N. Courthouse Rd. #12100 Arlington, VA 22201 (703) 228-7000 Alexander B. Berger Law Office of Alexander Berger 4121 Wilson Blvd., #101 Arlington, VA 22203 (703) 243-8100 Michael J. Smith Walton & Adams, PC 1925 Isaac Newton Square, #203 Reston, VA 20190 (703) 790-8000 Raymond S. Dietrich, 11921 Freedom Drive, #500 Reston, VA 20190 (703) 722-0741

New Student members: Jessica Farace Reid MacHarg Raliza Aleandrova Grigorova

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Brent E. Baxter has joined the law firm of Manning & Murray, located at 6045 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22205. His phone number is (703) 532-5400 & fax number is (703) 532-6451. Kevin R. Appel has joined the law firm of Linebargar, Goggan, Blair, & Simpson LLP, located at 5600 S. 7th Street, Arlington, VA 22204. His phone number is (703)-380-3501. The law firm of Rucker & Rucker has relocated to 405 N. Washington Street, Suite 101, Falls Church, VA 22046. New phone number is (703) 536-0022 & new fax number is (703) 5360025. Philip Rhodes has relocated to 405 N. Washington Street, Suite 101, Falls Church, VA 22046. Edward M. Holland has relocated to 405 N. Washington Street, Suite 101, Falls Church, VA 22046. His phone number remains (703) 5284505 & new fax number is (703) 536-0025

Town Home For Sale
Two Story Commercial Town Home in Arlington off Wilson Boulevard owned by Ken McFarlane Smith. The neighborhood is a well established commercial/residential district with neighborhood and community retailers as well as local professional service firms, i.e. attorneys, accountants, real estate agents, insurance agents, etc.. occupying much of the space. Located near the Ballston community and Ballston metro station contribute to the office and retail appeal $400,000. Please call J. Michael Smith Arlington Realty 703-4245518 or 703-836-6000 Email:

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It’s time to put away the sun-tan lotion and bring out the wool sweaters. This summer was filled with good weather and great times. One terrific event that stands out is the cocktail party Judge Newman hosted at his home on September 19. The weather could not have been better and Judge Newman and his wife were gracious to open their home to our members. I want to personally thank them for hosting a wonderful party. For those members who attended the Arlington County Bar Picnic on September 20, I think you would agree that the weather was also picture perfect. The food was great and I should know - I went up for second and, yes, third helpings. Oh well, back to the treadmill. I want to thank Harry Dennis, Denman Rucker, Bill Hassan, Bill Hicks, and John Boneta for sponsoring this year’s picnic. In an effort to assist our members in meeting their annual continuing legal education requirements, there was a Domestic Relations CLE luncheon program on October 14, 2008, at the Wal-

ter T. McCarthy Law Library. Judge Almand was one of the featured speakers who discussed equitable distribution. On October 22, 2008, there was a Ethics CLE luncheon program at the Liberty Tavern restaurant. Karen Gould, the Virginia State Bar Executive Director, presented an overview of the disciplinary system. For your 209 CLE credits I encourage members to go online at www. or contact Barbara Head at (703) 2283390 for more information to register for these programs. For those of you who enjoy Halloween, there will be a costume party at Ragtime on October 30, 2008, at 6:00 p.m. I saw a good number of witches, pirates and ghouls at this spook-tacular party. Mark this event down on your 2009 calendar - it should be another howling good time! ♣

It’s time to put away the sun-tan lotion and bring out the wool sweaters.

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Court Schedule — Arlington General District Court
Criminal Court (3A) Traffic Court (3C) Monday though Friday Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9:00 a.m. Bond Motions 9:00 a.m. Arlington County Police Traffic Cases 9:30 a.m. Trials (non jailable), In-Custody including Accidents and Midnight Officers Arraignments 10:00 a.m. VA State Police & Arlington Sheriff’s 10:00 a.m. Motions, Out-of-Custody Arraignments Office Traffic Cases* 11:00 a.m. Trials/Preliminary Hearings referred by (* Sheriff=s Office Traffic Cases only on Monday) other Courts Monday Wednesday 2:00 p.m. Capias Review 9:00 a.m. WMAA Police Traffic, Accidents and Tuesday Midnight Officers 2:00 p.m. Sentencing/Rules 10:00 a.m. WMAA Police Traffic, all other Cases Wednesday Friday 2:00 p.m. Drug Court 10:30 a.m. Arlington County Police (SOS evening Friday shift) 10:00 a.m. Bond Forfeitures Civil Court (3D) Trial Court (3B) Monday, Tuesday, Thursday (Wednesday; No court, civil judge sits in Falls Church) Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. Traffic Cases 9:30 a.m. Assault & Battery/Property/Larceny 10:00 a.m. Civil Motions and Trials Misdemeanor Trials (10*) 2:00 p.m. Civil Returns/Pre-Trial Conferences 10:30 a.m. DWI/all other Misdemeanor Trials 2:30 p.m. Pro-Se Returns (10*) Fridays 11:30 a.m. Preliminary Hearings (15*) 9:00 a.m. Traffic Cases (*) Maximum number to be set/day 9:30 a.m. Small Claims Cases (except 1st Friday Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday of the month) 2:00 p.m. Trials/Preliminary Hearings taking 2:00 p.m. Civil Returns/Pre-Trial Conferences more than 2 hours 2:30 p.m. Pro-Se Returns Tuesday 1st Friday of each month 2:00 p.m. Sentencing/Rules 9:30 a.m. Photo Red Light Cases

Office Space Available
Tysons/Greensboro Drive $1300/mo Attorney Office available in suite of attorneys, full service and use of all common areas. Contact: Bud Roeder at (703) 749-6006 or send email to

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Chester Brasse and The Rise and Fall Of the Commissioner in Chancery

George W. Dodge
and two code sections in his review but there is only a passing reference to divorce cases. Judge Benjamin N. A. Kendrick recalled that Brasse’s office was like a “factory” for divorce cases. Judge Joanne F. Alper pointed out that prior to the abolishment of the minimum fee schedules a Commissioner in Chancery was handsomely paid for his services. According to Brendan Feeley, when the minimum fee schedules were ruled as a restraint on competition in Goldfarb v. Virginia State Bar 421 U.S. 773, (1975) the Commissioner in Chancery fees were dramatically reduced. In 1869, the Virginia Code permitted a maximum of three Commissioners in Chancery in the same circuit. Currently there are 16 such commissioners in Arlington but they are not busy. Circuit Court Clerk’s Office records in 2008 indicate that there is on average only one referral per month to a commissioner. According to Arlington Circuit Court clerks these referrals are primarily for pro se divorce plaintiffs who were unsuccessful in obtaining a divorce at an ore tenus hearing. In Ken Smith’s book Bar Nostalgia: Memories and Reflections of the Arlington Legal Community from the 1950’s to the Present page 102 refers to Brasse as being “best known as a very active Commissioner in Chan-

In 1880, during the so-called Victorian era, less than 5% of marriages in the United States ended in divorce according to attorney R. T. Barton. Barton authored an article for the 1895 Virginia Law Register titled “The Rise and Fall of the Commissioner in Chancery.” He cited the case of Shipman v. Fletcher as being the death knell to Commissioners in Chancery because the case held that they were not the final arbiters of questions of fact. Seemingly, that office took a hit for whatever types of cases they were hearing. Enter Chester Brasse who becomes a Commissioner in Chancery in Arlington in 1952. In the decade of the 1970’s he is practicing law in the Dixie Building and is presiding over divorce cases as a Commissioner in Chancery. His office becomes a divorce mill as there are only a couple other Commissioners in Chancery in Arlington while the divorce rate increases nearly 40% from 1970 to 1975. Francis Thomas and Joe Newlin are marrying couples on one floor of the Dixie Building and on another floor Chet Brasse is attending to divorces in record numbers. At perhaps the zenith of his career, Brasse wrote an article in 1977 for the Virginia Bar Association entitled “Practice Before Commissioners in Chancery: A Brief Guide.” The five-page article cites eight cases

In 1880...less than 5% of marriages ended in divorce

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cery.” For a 1970’s bar smoker Chuck Vasaly wrote a song that referenced the significant fees Brasse was generating as a Commissioner in Chancery. One lyric Chuck wrote was: “divorce isn’t cheap as you see, your house now belongs to Chet Brasse. So what happened? Sometime in the early 1990’s the Alexandria Circuit Court chose to conduct ore tenus hearings for uncontested divorces as they adopted the position that venue for divorces was no longer jurisdictional. The Fairfax Circuit Court soon followed this practice as did the Arlington Circuit Court. Lawyers naturally discontinued referrals to a Commissioner in Chancery because the ore tenus process was faster and cheaper. So what happened to Chester Brasse? He appears to have retired in the 1980’s. He had been an active Mason in Glebe Lodge #181 and, according to Dan Levin, served as Worshipful Master in the

early 1950’s. His wife, Ethel, served as Chester’s legal secretary and according to Ruth Levin was at one time active in the Order of the Eastern Star in the Grace D. PerLee Chapter 120 now known as Unity Chapter of the Grand Chapter of Virginia— a charitable organization for wives, widows, mothers, and daughters of Master Masons. Ethel P. Brasse died in 1983. Brasse was born in 1911 in Washington D.C. and moved to the Barcroft area of Arlington in 1918. In a 1977 article in the Arlington Historical Society Magazine, Brasse writes of life near Columbia Pike, skinny dipping in Four Mile Run (what would George Washington--a former landowner of Four Mile Run--say about that!), and attending Washington-Lee High School. He was president of the Arlington County Bar Association in 1958 and President of the Arlington Historical Society from 1967 to 1968-- following the footsteps of former Arlington Commonwealth Attorney Frank L. Ball who was

the second Arlington Historical Society president from 1957-1958. The legendary Ball was also ACBA President from 1926-1928. Brasse also served in the Virginia History Federation. Chester died on March 22, 1992. He and is wife are interred in Columbia Gardens Cemetery in Arlington—a cemetery which is a Who’s Who of the Arlington bar and political community. They rest a couple of rows behind the interment site of U.S. District Court Judge Oren R. Lewis and are in front of the section where Frank L. Ball is buried. ♣

Note: Read more about the historical figures in Arlington National Cemetery in George Dodge's book “Arlington National Cemetery” , part of the Images of America Series, available at many local stores. Editor

Arlington— Two Offices in modern suite with other lawyers working in areas of labor, P.T., commercial, criminal and domestic relations. Facilities, include library, conference room, reception, secretarial station, photocopier, fax, file room, work area, kitchen, and telephone answering. DSL available. Indoor parking. One block from courthouse and Metro. Available now. Contact: Sheldon I. Cohen, (703) 522-1200.

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In several respects, 2008 was a successful year for the foundation. Ken Smith’s book, Bar Nostalgia, Memories and Reflections of the Arlington Legal Community, from the 1950s to the Present was distributed to nearly half of the members of the Arlington Bar Association. If you did not receive your complimentary copy of the book, please stop by the bar office and see Barbara Head,

who has a copy for you. Many people have made donations to the foundation, in Ken’s memory, and for that generosity we thank you. Names of the donors are listed below. On February 12, 2009, the foundation will conduct its annual phone-a-thon to raise money for its permanent sustaining fund, from which annual charitable grants are

distributed. In 2008, the foundation made grants totaling more than $30,000. Not all money raised in the phone-a-thon goes to the foundation, since one-half of the money raised is given to the library foundation to support this valuable research facility. When you are contacted, please be generous to the foundation and the library.♣

Raymond B. Benzinger Jennifer A. Brust Leonard Buscemi Double Platinum (Lifetime Contribution over $5,000) Marni E. Byrum Manuel A. Capsalis Betty A. Thompson Mark D. Cummings Ken McFarlane Smith William Dolan, III Griffin T. Garnett, Jr. Platinum Karen A. Henenberg (Lifetime Contribution of $5,000) Gerald L. Kesten Leo Andrews Jr. Mark Cummings David Lasso William Dolan Charles McD. Radigan Law firm of Shadyac & Shadyac Timothy J. McEvoy Deceased: John L. Melnick Hon. Andrew Ferrari Mark D. Seidelson David E. Sher Gold Richard E. Trodden (Lifetime Contribution of $3,000) Paul D. Varoutsos Charles E.K. Vasaly Silver William L. Winston (Lifetime Contribution of $2,000) Deceased: William E. & Cherie B. Artz Joseph Gwaltney James W. Korman Lifetime Trustees Lyla Shealy (Contributions of $1,000) David A. Oblon Joanne F. Alper Deceased: Thea Rossi Barron Norris Shealy Leroy E. Batchelor Alan E.J. & Susan Branigan Sustaining Trustees Paul D. Brown (Pledges of $1,000) Howard M. Bushman James F. Almand Bankhead T. Davies Kevin R. Appel


Bankhead Thornton Davies John P. Ellis Daniel S. Fiore Griffin T. Garnett III Ronald L. Hiss Edward M. Holland Richard E. Knight Berton V. Kramer Donald O. Manning James B. Miller William G. Murray Alan R. Plumley, Jr. John F. Rutledge Leonard S. Sattler Philip Schwartz Earl E. Shaffer Ethan Allen Turshen George D. Varoutsos Martin D. Walsh William A. Wildhack Jr. John C. Youngs Deceased: Robert J. Arthur George W. Campbell, Jr. Richard W. Corman Berton V. Kramer Thomas W. Phillips

Kelly Thompson H.S. Hulme, Jr. Michael Rieger Ed Nolen Speiser Krause Giroux Opticians Beth Arthur Richard Trodden Richard Klein Peter Vliet M.S. Foster Betty Sandler William Lawson William Sale Nadine Clilft Renice Myers John Borsari Alan Tonelson Warren Kane Larry Demarest Scott McCaffery Betty Thompson Joanna Taylor William Koerner Ms. T Smith Leo Andrews Tim Hughes Ron Cohen Frank Gilkison George Varoutsos Donations in memory of Ken Dorothy Clarke McFarlane Smith: Barbara Ryland Carol Shehan Joseph Engler Gerald L Kestin

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Arlington County Bar Association
1425 North Courthouse Road Suite 1800 Arlington, VA 22201 Phone: 703.228-3390 Fax: 703.228.7360 Email:

OFFICE SPACE WANTED Office space for one lawyer to use in Courthouse area. Reply to

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YOUNG LAWYERS! NEW LAWYERS! If you are under 35 years of age or have been practicing less than five years, the Arlington Bar Association's Young Lawyers Section is for you! If you're interested, please let Bill Wittig know by sending him an email at with the subject line: Young Lawyers.

Arlington Bar Officers and Directors 2008-2009 President: President-Elect: Secretary: Treasurer: Past-President: Directors: William K. Wetzonis William Hassan Brent E. Baxter John C. Lynch William R. Koerner, Jr.. Raymond B. Benzinger. Denman A. Rucker David A. Oblon Frank A. Frio Jeffrey P. Jankovich Jay E. Burkholder Dennis W. Cuppy Barbara Head 703-228-4410 703-243-7552 703-228-3248 703-228-4410 703-875-8940 703-525-1362 703-525-4900 703-312-0411 703-228-0703 703-528-0701 703-228-4410 703-228-4465 703-228-3390 Arlington Bar Journal Editor: Advertising & Notices: John A. Borsari Barbara Head 703-524-5800 704-228-3390

Council Members - 17th Circuit Mark D. Cummings Raymond B. Benzinger Theophani K. Stamos Gregory T. Hunter Adam D. Elfenbein 703-525-1200 703-525-1362 703-228-4410 703-966-7226 703-243-9223

Exec. Dir: Asst. Exec Dir: