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Judge Geoffrey Crawford Appointed To Vermont Supreme Court

Governor Peter Shumlin has chosen Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Crawford to fill a vacancy on the Vermont Supreme Court.

Crawford is a Harvard Law School graduate who was in private practice in Burlington before being appointed to Superior Court in 2002 by then-Governor Howard Dean.

He will replace retiring justice Brian Burgess.  Both were trial court judges.

He’s going to bring some trial court experience to the Supreme Court.  I think it’s a great choice,” says Vermont Bar Association Executive Director Bob Paolini. 

Vermont Law School constitutional law professor Cheryl Hanna believes Crawford’s trial background was a factor in Shumlin’s decision. Hanna says the new justice will bring both intellectual gifts and a humanistic approach to the law to the court.

“He’s extremely well respected among advocates and folks in the human service community,” she says.  “He’s really one of those judges we talk about that really understands the way the law affects people.”

As a Superior Court judge, Crawford presided in the trial of Christopher Williams who killed two Essex women in 2006, a crime which shook the community.  Hanna says she was impressed by Crawford’s sensitivity to the impact the crime had on the victim’s families and the community.

She says Crawford’s appointment gives a court a slightly more liberal tilt because now four of the five justices have been selected by Democratic governors.  Only Chief Justice Paul Reiber is a Republican appointee.

Hanna says that doesn’t mean there will always be a clear ideological divide in Vermont Supreme Court decisions but she says she expects to see more 4-1 decisions than in the past.

Montpelier lawyer Paul Gillies, who has authored a book on Vermont's legal history says, "Judge Crawford becomes the 132nd justice of the Vermont Supreme Court and having seen him in action, I think it's a great appointment."

Crawford’s appointment will have to be confirmed by the Vermont Senate.

Steve has been with VPR since 1994, first serving as host of VPR’s public affairs program and then as a reporter, based in Central Vermont. Many VPR listeners recognize Steve for his special reports from Iran, providing a glimpse of this country that is usually hidden from the rest of the world. Prior to working with VPR, Steve served as program director for WNCS for 17 years, and also worked as news director for WCVR in Randolph. A graduate of Northern Arizona University, Steve also worked for stations in Phoenix and Tucson before moving to Vermont in 1972. Steve has been honored multiple times with national and regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for his VPR reporting, including a 2011 win for best documentary for his report, Afghanistan's Other War.
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