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home : news : regional April 17, 2015

Shumlin appoints Crawford to Vt. Supreme Court

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- Gov. Peter Shumlin announced Friday he was appointing Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Crawford to the Vermont Supreme Court.

"Geoff's compassion and his years of experience as a trial judge, where he has served with a collegial attitude and well-regarded intellect, will make him a very strong addition to the Supreme Court," Shumlin said in a statement issued by his office.

Crawford replaces Associate Justice Brian Burgess, who recently announced his retirement. Shumlin was expected to elevate someone with experience as a trial court judge to the five-member Supreme Court. Of the court's four other jurists, only Marilyn Skoglund has previous experience as a trial judge.

In the statement issued by Shumlin's office, Crawford was quoted as saying: "It is a joy and a great honor to serve in the Vermont judiciary with so many dedicated staff members and fellow judges all working together to ensure justice for Vermonters. I am deeply grateful for this new opportunity."

An employee at the Superior Court for Franklin County in St. Albans, where Crawford had been sitting most recently, said Friday that the judge was away until Wednesday. A phone message left for a Geoffrey Crawford listed in Burlington, where the judge lives, was not immediately returned.

As a Superior Court judge, Crawford has ruled in recent years in several high-profile cases involving alleged campaign finance law violations and public access to government records, among others.

In June 2011, he ruled against a Democratic-oriented political action committee, saying the group violated Vermont's campaign laws by going beyond issue advocacy in its ads and openly criticizing the Republican gubernatorial candidate.

That October, Crawford ruled against the Republican Governors Association in a case stemming from the 2010 gubernatorial campaign. Attorney General William Sorrell said the RGA improperly failed to register as a political action committee and exceeded Vermont's spending limits.

Crawford ruled for public disclosure in a case in which state officials were slow to release police video of an officer pulling over former state Auditor Thomas Salmon for drunken driving.

The position of associate justice pays about $124,000 a year.

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