Senate confirms Dunston, Molloy, Francois as Superior Court judges
Published: September 27, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - Four nominations - three of them to the territory's Superior Court bench - sailed through their final confirmation votes as the Senate on Thursday began a two-day legislative session that may extend into three days.
V.I. Superior Court Judge Michael Dunston's renomination for a second six-year term, along with the new nominations of Denise Francois and Robert Molloy to the Superior Court bench, came off without a hitch.
The 30th Legislature also gave a nod to the nomination of Calford Martin to the V.I. Housing Finance Authority.
Molloy was the only one of the four who had sparked any controversy at all, with the V.I. Bar Association opposed to his nomination, contending that he does not at this point have the depth or breadth of experience to be a judge. The Bar said Molloy lacked criminal litigation experience in particular.
Nonetheless, almost all senators opted to throw their support behind Molloy. Sen. Tregenza Roach, also an attorney, was the only senator present who cast a no vote.
Roach raised the question of whether the interest of justice would be served by putting someone without the type and amount of experience needed on the bench.
"This is not a case we should take very lightly," Roach said.
Other senators were generous in their praise and support for Molloy, with Sen. Alicia Hansen saying he is a "no-nonsense person" who deserves a chance. Some spoke of the energy and youth he will bring to the bench.
The other nominations were confirmed with a unanimous vote of all 14 senators who were present. Sen. Donald Cole was out of the territory.
Francois will replace Superior Court Judge James Carroll III on St. Thomas. Molloy will replace Superior Court Judge Darryl Donohue Sr. on St. Croix. Dunston will assume Donohue's role as presiding judge.
Dunston, who was off-island, sent a letter thanking senators and Gov. John deJongh Jr.
He wrote that he would "continue to strive to do justice in a fair, neutral and timely fashion," and would do everything in his power to ensure public confidence in the judiciary.
Francois thanked senators for the opportunity to serve the people of the Virgin Islands.
Molloy thanked senators and the governor - even the Bar Association for its participation in the process - along with his family and co-workers.
He said he appreciates the significance and importance of a judgeship and does not take it lightly. He said he will do his best to make fair and reasonable decisions.
- Contact Joy Blackburn at 714-9145 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.