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Effort to Remove Dumler from Office Moves Forward

April 2, 2013

Albemarle County Supervisor Christopher Dumler left the Albemarle County Circuit Court Tuesday morning with no comment about the hearing to have him removed from office.

The hearing came about when a county resident, Earl Smith, submitted more than 580 signatures last month as part of a petition to have Dumler removed following his guilty plea to a misdemeanor sex charge in January.

"He made a mistake which, I think, he should've stepped down and helped the county heal that way, and I would still encourage him to do the same thing," Smith said outside of the court.

A number of protesters also greeted Dumler before and after the hearing.

"Why does Mr. Dumler all the time decide he doesn't have to follow the rules, doesn't have to follow the law?" protester Steve Peters said.

A special prosecutor, Lynchburg Commonwealth's Attorney Mike Doucette, has been assigned to the case. Dumler has retained lawyer Jessica Phillips to defend him.

Circuit court Judge Paul Peatross continued the show cause hearing Tuesday at the request of both lawyers. Both have only recently been assigned to the case and have not had the proper time to review materials.

"You look to the case law on this, the most recent case I can find is from 1954," Doucette said after the hearing. "The other cases are from the 1920s. This does not come up all that often, and there's not a whole lot of guidance out there."

Dumler's next court appearance will be a motions hearing on April 29, when his lawyer is expected to argue Smith's petitions are insufficient for any trial to take place.

If the judge denies the defense's argument, a bench trial will take place on May 20. Per Virginia code, Dumler had the option of choosing a bench trial or a jury trial.

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