The Virginia General Assembly on Friday elected two judges as new justices on the Supreme Court of Virginia. Virginia Court of Appeals Judge Wesley G. Russell Jr. of Henrico County will begin a 12-year term on the court beginning July 1. One month later he will be joined by Fairfax County Circuit Judge Thomas P. Mann. The General Assembly elected Halifax Circuit Judge Kimberley S. White, a former commonwealth’s attorney, to the newly opened spot on the Virginia Court of Appeals for an eight-year term that begins July 1.
Russell, 52, was a deputy attorney general under then-Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, and assisted Cuccinelli in an investigation of grant money used by a former University of Virginia climate scientist. He was also a partner at the law firm of McSweeney, Crump, Childress & Timple PC. He started his career as a law clerk for the Virginia 13th Judicial Circuit. He is from Hampton and received his Bachelor of Arts from University of Virginia and his J.D. from Antonin Scalia Law School (previously George Mason University School of Law).
Mann joined the circuit court in July 2016. He was previously a judge for the 19th Judicial District’s Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court from 2006 to 2016. Mann received his undergraduate degree from New York University and his J.D. from the Washington College of Law. Before becoming a judge, Mann was with the law firm of Greenspun & Mann, PC., where he practiced representation of children, adults and families, in criminal, personal injury, contract, construction. He worked for two years at Deckelbaum, Ogens & Fischer in Washington, D.C. In 2015, Judge Mann and his wife suffered personal tragedy when their only child, Grace Rebecca, was murdered by her housemate Steven Briel in 2015. Briel claimed insanity, but was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
White was appointed to the circuit court in 2012 by Gov. Bob McDonnell, and was the first female judge for the circuit. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Mary Washington in 1985 and her J.D. from Mercer University. White, who was the elected Commonwealth’s Attorney in Halifax County before going on the bench, previously served as a partner with the Woods Rogers in Danville and before that was an assistant and a deputy commonwealth’s attorney for the City of Lynchburg, as a special assistant United States attorney for the Western District of Virginia, and as chair of the Virginia State Bar Committee on Lawyer Discipline. Her sister-in-law is Judge Ellen White of the 24th District Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.
Judge Manuel “Manny” A. Capsalis, a district court judge, was elected to succeed Mann on the Fairfax Circuit. Attorney Dipti Pidikiti-Smith will take Capsalis’ seat on the district court. The General Assembly did not fill White’s seat on the 10th Circuit.