Rupen R Shah becomes first Indian American judge in Virginia

  • Shah was recognized by the Virginia State Bar as a local leader of the year 2009.

    Rupen Shah

The Indian American judge Rupen R Shah, who is currently the Chief Deputy of Augusta County Commonwealth, has been elected as the district judge of 25th Judicial District.

According to the press release of the local General Assembly delegation, Shah’s election as the new district judge has been confirmed.

A resident of Staunton, Shah will become the first ever Indian American judge to be elected in the commonwealth of Virginia.

Shah’s term of six years will commence on Feb. 1.

According to the press release, incumbent Judge of Augusta County, Willian C Goodwin has been promoted to a circuit judgeship in the 25th Judicial Circuit. He will serve a term of eight years in his current position.

The names of the new Judges and their roles were announced on Thursday by Del. Dickie Bell, Del. Steve Landes, Del. Ben Cline and Sen. Emmett Hanger whose districts collectively include Waynesboro, Staunton, and Augusta County.

“It was an honor for us to put forward for consideration these two distinguished gentlemen from Staunton,” the legislators said in a joint statement. “Their commitment to serving the people of the commonwealth in this manner is to be commended. We are confident their knowledge and expertise will be valuable assets to the 25th Judicial Circuit and Judicial District respectively, and we are grateful for their willingness to serve. We are also pleased to note that Rupen R. Shah is the first Indian-American judge elected in the commonwealth.”

Tim Martin, the Augusta County Commonwealth’s Attorney, said Shah is deserving of the judgeship.

“The bottom line is he is an excellent choice,” Martin said. “I will miss him both personally and professionally. Our office’s great loss is the judiciary’s gain.”

Shah has served on executive committee and council of Virginia State Bar and was recognized for his valuable service to the Virginia State Bar in 2014. He also served as chair of Diversity Conference of Virginia State Bar.

He was recognized by the Virginia State Bar as a local leader of the year 2009.

During 2008-2009, he served as president of the Augusta County Bar Association.

Shah, who has a law degree from Syracuse University, founded the nonprofit Valley Children’s Center, which helps law enforcement and Child Protective Services workers interview abused and neglected children.

The Indian American also has extensive experience in teaching law, having taught law at the Shenandoah Criminal Justice Academy and Blue Ridge Community College for six years. He has also taught at the Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Spring Institute and at the National District Attorney’s Association prosecutor’s boot camp.

He conducted seminars to give lawyers in the rural Shenandoah Valley easier access to continuing legal education.

 

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