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New General District Court Judge Lucas Hobbs attends investiture ceremony

New General District Court Judge Lucas Hobbs attends investiture ceremony

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BRISTOL, Va. — A lifelong baseball fan, Judge Lucas Hobbs said Monday he’s learned that a well-known comparison between the bench and umpiring a baseball game is quite apt.

Hobbs shared that and other observations Monday during his formal investiture as General District Court judge for the 28th Judicial District.

“A chief justice of the Supreme Court [Justice John Roberts] analogized this and it’s an analogy I find quite appropriate to an umpire calling balls and strikes,” Hobbs told more than 100 guests packed into the Bristol Virginia Circuit Courtroom. “The responsibility I’ve been given is great. I willingly undertake it, and I pledge to each and every one of you I will always perform my duties impartially, following the laws, seeking due justice for all parties forward — the constitution, plaintiffs, defendants and counsel.”

Hobbs was appointed by the General Assembly and confirmed by the Supreme Court of Virginia in September. He has been serving for the past few weeks.

After seeking but failing to secure the job of Cincinnati Reds broadcaster while he was in school, Hobbs went on to graduate from Virginia Tech then secured his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.

He said becoming a judge has been a goal since he served as a law clerk to former federal Judge Glen Williams.

“Twenty or 22 years ago, I remember talking to Judge Williams about how he became a federal judge,” Hobbs said in response to a question. “I still recall Judge Williams encouraging me to pursue this very judgeship. The district court hears all manner of cases — civil, criminal — it’s a wonderful mix. There is always something different every day.”

After a few weeks serving on the bench, he said the umpire analogy is correct.

“I think it is. It’s vital the judiciary retain its independence and be impartial,” he said.

Prior to administering the oath of office, former Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Cynthia Kinser recalled knowing Hobbs and his family for decades.

“I’m always very excited and very proud when one of my former law clerks ascends to the bench,” Kinser said. “We attended church together for many years and went to church with his parents so we go back many, many years.”

Hobbs' parents, wife and family also participated in the ceremony.

Retired 30th District Judge Birg Sergent said the local courts “are very fortunate to get a great young man as judge.”

In presenting Hobbs with his commission for a six-year term, state Del. Will Wampler, R-Abingdon, said selecting a judge is an important decision that lawmakers don’t take lightly.

“When you think of the qualities it takes to become a judge, you think of the legal skill. Judge Hobbs has shown that over his career,” Wampler said. “The patience you are required to have as a judge — we know that Judge Hobbs has patience but also is a man and a practitioner with integrity.”

After the ceremony, Hobbs expressed his appreciation.

“I’m honored and humbled to have been selected as a district court judge,” Hobbs said. “It’s a wonderful experience. Having practiced law for the last 20 years throughout Southwest Virginia — I’m a native of Lee County and lived in Bristol the last 18 years. We call Bristol home, and it’s a tremendous honor to have been selected to serve as a judge on the district court.”

Hobbs previously served as commissioner of accounts working in the Circuit Court for the city of Bristol, Virginia.

He is a partner in the law firm of Elliott, Lawson & Minor and formerly served as an assistant U.S. attorney and an associate of Woods Rogers, PLC in Roanoke.

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