Seven lawyers who practice in D.C. Superior Court have signed a statement supporting the reappointment of Judge W. Byron Sorrell, who was found unqualified for a new term last week by the D.C. Bar judicial evaluation committe.
The lawyers, charaterized the bar committee's report as a "shallow piece of work, authored by persons largely unqualified to pass judgment. . ."
"Our position, which, we suggest, is based upon experience with this particular judge of infinitely greater depth than that possessed by the bar committee," the lawyers wrote, "is that Judge W. Byron Sorrell is an exceptionally hard-working, conscientious jurist. . . who is indeed exceptionally well-qualified for reappointment. . ."
The four-page statement addressed to "members of the bench, bar and public," was signed by Leroy Nesbitt, John H. Treanor. William T. Blair, Jerry L. Dier, James F. Doud, P. David Gavin and Richard W. Whitlock.
The bar committee, using the results of an anonymous poll of members of the D.C. Bar, found that 70 percent of the lawyers who know Sorrell best rated him unfavorably on impartiality.
In their statement, the seven lawyers contended that the committee's findings are unfair because they are based on the completed questionnaires of 204 of the bar's 22,000 members. Sorrell's reappointment was opposed by 143 of the 204 lawyers who responded to the poll.
Thomas H. Queen, a member of the bar's committee, has sent a letter to the D.C. Commission on Judicial Disabilities and Tenure stating that he does not agree with majority findings of the committee and that his name was included on its report by mistake.