Daniel T. Lopez was ceremonially sworn in last Friday (May 17) as a General District Court judge, becoming the first Latino to serve as a judge in Arlington County.
“I’m very proud to represent my community,” Lopez told ARLnow.
Michael F. Devine, a circuit court judge for the 19th Circuit in Fairfax County, administered the investiture ceremony.
Lopez and his family were joined by members of the Arlington County Bar Association, as well as Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49th) and Del. Patrick Hope (D-47th), who helped shepherd his nomination through the General Assembly.
“I was honored to be on hand with Delegate Hope to present the Commission at the Investiture of Daniel Lopez as a Judge of the General District Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit,” said Del. Lopez, who shares a last name with but is not related to the new judge. “Judge Lopez is immensely qualified and a truly wonderful person. If his work over the years as a substitute judge is any indication, he will be an exceptional judge for our community for years to come.”
A 22-year Arlington resident, Judge Lopez had previously served as a substitute judge in the Circuit Court and the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts. He said he was delighted to become a full-time judge.
“It’s something that I’ve been looking forward to for years,” he said.
Lopez was also pleased to be the first Latino to serve as a judge in Arlington. Judges should reflect the community they serve in, he said, and having a Latino on the bench in such a diverse county was a sign of great progress.
Friday’s investiture ceremony was not Lopez’s official swearing in. That will take place 3o days prior to July 1, when he signs the oath of office and begins his six-year term on the General District Court bench. Lopez will succeed Judge Richard McCue, who is retiring.
“My job is to uphold the Constitution and to be fair and impartial, and make sure everyone is welcomed and respected in the courtroom,” he said.
David Black, who was convicted in November of murdering his estranged wife in her home near Pentagon City, will serve two consecutive life sentences in prison.
The sentence, which was recommended by the jury, was confirmed by an Arlington Circuit Court judge Wednesday afternoon.
Black lived just blocks away from his wife, Bonnie Delgado Black, in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood. Prosecutors say he broke into her home on April 17, 2015 and stabbed her to death.
The murder scene was discovered after neighbors found Black’s two young children wandering around outside the home that morning.
More from an Arlington County Police Department press release:
David Black, 45, of Arlington, VA was sentenced on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 in the Arlington County Circuit Court to two consecutive life terms in prison for the 2015 murder of Bonnie Black.
Theophani K. Stamos, Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney and M. Jay Farr, Arlington County’s Chief of Police made the announcement following the court appearance.
On April 17, 2015, officers were dispatched to the 1100 block of 18th Street S. after two concerned citizens located the Black children alone outside their residence and called police for assistance. Arriving officers located Bonnie Black deceased from an apparent stabbing inside the residence. Detectives began an intensive investigation revealing that Bonnie Black was the victim of domestic violence.
David Black, the estranged husband of Bonnie Black, was taken into custody in October 2015 pursuant to an indictment issued by a special investigative grand jury. The indictment and subsequent bench warrant charged him with one count of first degree murder and one count of burglary while armed with the intent to commit a felony. On November 8, 2016, a jury returned a unanimous verdict finding David Black guilty on both counts.
Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney Theophani K. Stamos said, “The imposition of two life sentences for the murder of Bonnie Black speaks volumes about our community’s views when it comes to domestic violence. We’re grateful to Judge Newman and the jury for their hard work, deep consideration and attention throughout a very difficult trial.”
Arlington County Deputy Chief Daniel J. Murray, Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division said, “This horrific murder personalized the investigation for the entire Criminal Investigations Section, many of whom had children themselves. They worked relentlessly for the cause of justice. The complex investigation, prosecution and ultimate conviction were possible because of a strong partnership between the Homicide/Robbery Unit and the Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. Unfortunately nothing can bring Bonnie Black back to her loving family colleagues and friends but it is our fervent hope that we have been able to provide them with some closure.”
The victim was testifying at the trial of an alleged trespasser when he started “gasping for air,” his friend George told ARLnow.com. George, who declined to give his last name or his friend’s name, alerted Judge Thomas J. Kelley Jr., who cleared out the courtroom and came down from the bench to render aid.
When it became apparent that the victim was having a heart attack, Kelley laid him on the floor and started performing chest compressions, George said. Sheriff’s deputies Edwin Hill and Phyllis Henderson assisted Kelley and performed mouth-to-mouth, according to Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Maj. Susie Doyel.
“It was a flash, [Kelley] was down off that bench in a hurry,” George said. “When I got to the hospital, the EMTs stabilized him and said whoever performed CPR on him probably saved his life.”
George and the heart attack victim are childhood friends and Arlington natives, and the victim’s house was allegedly broken into recently, which is why they were in court.
Between the time Kelley began administering CPR and paramedics arrived, George said the victim began breathing and regained his pulse — but then his heart stopped again, prompting the hero judge and deputies to begin CPR again.
“The judge had control of everything. He didn’t blink,” George said. Later Thursday afternoon, after ensuring his friend was in stable condition, George went back to the court house to thank Kelley. “He was telling me he had [performed CPR] years back and he was glad he still had the skill set.”
Photo courtesy Maj. Susie Doyel
Resolution Honors Arlington’s First Female Judge — The Virginia House of Delegates has passed a resolution honoring Eleanor Spence Dobson, Arlington’s first female judge. Dobson served in the General District Court from 1982 to 1997. She passed away on September 18, 2013. The resolution honoring Dobson was sponsored by Del. Patrick Hope (D). Another Hope-sponsored resolution, honoring the late Arlington civic activist Robert Atkins, is scheduled to come to the House floor on Friday. [Sun Gazette]
Chick-fil-A ‘Date Knight’ Returns — Missed your chance to go on a medieval-themed fast food date with your mom last year? Good news: Chick-fil-A is once again holding its Mother-Son Date Knight at Ballston Common Mall (4238 Wilson Blvd). The food court eatery is one of the participating Chick-fil-A locations nationwide that are hosting the whimsical event. As of last night there were still a dozen reservations available for the event, which is being held the evening of Monday, Feb. 10. The Crystal City Chick-fil-A location has already sold out of its Date Knight reservations. [Chick-fil-A]
Starr Hill Brewing Tasting Tonight — Virginia brewery Starr Hill will be holding a complimentary tasting tonight. The event is scheduled from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Copperwood Tavern (4021 Campbell Ave). Reservations are required. [Shirlington Village Blog Spot]
Ceresi was hired by the late Abe Pollin — former owner of the Washington Wizards — to be curator of the MCI National Sports Museum, according to the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).
The National Sports Gallery closed in 2001, but afterwards, Ceresi decided to continue his career away from law with collectibles and sports artifacts. He was recently named curator of The National Pastime Museum, an online baseball museum.
Ceresi grew up in Alexandria and moved to Arlington in 1975 after graduating from University of Richmond law school. According to SABR’s obituary, he went into general practice before being appointed a Family Court judge in 1987.
From SABR’s obituary:
Ceresi’s contagious enthusiasm and his passion for historical artifacts led him down a fulfilling new career path.
Over the next two decades, until his death of pancreatic cancer at age 64 on January 14, 2014, Frank Ceresi became a respected expert in sports memorabilia and appraisals, consulting and acquiring artifacts for museums and auction houses, and authoring many articles on baseball history. He also acquired for himself many “national treasures” — as he liked to call them — including a Shoeless Joe Jackson “Black Betsy” bat, Mickey Mantle’s first home run baseball, and a vast collection of scorecards dating back to the 19th century.
When the National Sports Gallery closed in 2001, he and longtime partner Carol McMains established FC Associates, a business specializing in museum consulting, appraisals, and legal services. He also co-authored and contributed to several books, including Baseball Americana: Treasures at the Library of Congress; Baseball in Washington, D.C.; The Washington Nationals and Their Grand Tour of 1867; When Baseball Went to War; and Deadball Stars of the National League, where he and McMains wrote the SABR biography of catcher and World War I veteran Hank Gowdy.
Photo via SABR
APS Announces Make-up Day Plan — Arlington Public Schools has lost three days this school year due to inclement weather, including the day lost as a result of the controversial decision to close this past Monday for what turned out to be mostly drizzle. APS has announced its make-up plan, though most schools will not actually have to make up any days due to additional hours built into the school calendar this year. Those impacted by the make-up plan are elementary schools with early release and the Stratford Program, which will see three abbreviated days turned into full days as part of the make-up plan. [Arlington Public Schools]
County to Explore More Options for Reeves Farmhouse — Arlington County is issuing a ‘request for information’ for the historic Reevesland farmhouse. The county is now seeking ideas from individuals and groups who want to use the farmhouse and its grounds but don’t have the nearly $1 million necessary for repairs to the property. That’s a win for one group of residents who have been pushing for the property to be used as a learning center. “We’re open to the idea of shared investment,” said County Manager Barbara Donnellan. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Judge to Retire — Arlington County General District Court judge Karen A. Henenberg is retiring. Henenberg and her husband plan to spend more time with their sons: Kenneth, a rock band guitarist, and Benjamin, a professional golfer. [Falls Church News-Press]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick