September 27, 2017
“Free to go,” Judge Parker has assault charge dropped
With the assault charge dropped Wednesday morning, Fauquier County Circuit Court Judge Jeffery W. Parker will seek to have his Sept. 5 arrest expunged.
Judge Parker and I are delighted the case has been resolved in his favor.
— Warrenton lawyer Robin Gulick
Parker Assault Case
• What: Hearing to drop assault and battery charge against Fauquier Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey W. Parker.
• When: 9:11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27.
• Where: Stafford County General District Court
• Details: Judge Parker on Tuesday, Sept. 5, allegedly assaulted a Walmart employee over jewelry he allegedly found in the parking lot of the Stafford store.
• Complainant: Valeria K. Sanchez
• Defense attorney: Robin Gulick of Warrenton
• Prosecutor: Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Olsen
With lights dimmed Wednesday morning in a Stafford County courtroom, the prosecutor cued a 90-second video showing a Fauquier County Circuit Court judge grabbing the hands and wrist of a Walmart clerk to reclaim jewelry he found in the store parking lot.
Judge Jeffrey W. Parker’s tussle with the store employee Sept. 5 led to his arrest that night on a misdemeanor assault and battery charge.
“The facts are not really in dispute,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Olsen said moments after telling Judge J. Bruce Stickland that he had decided to drop the charge.
Reviewing the facts, Mr. Olsen told the court that Judge Parker found in the parking lot a wristwatch with three “diamond” rings threaded along the strap.
“It looked fairly valuable,” the prosecutor said of the jewelry.
The video, which included no audio, shows Judge Parker presenting the jewelry to a Walmart service clerk.
The judge sought a receipt, with the expectation that he later would return for the jewelry if the owner failed to reclaim it, according to investigators.
The clerk explained Walmart does not provide receipts under such circumstances, Mr. Olsen said.
After some discussion with the clerk, Judge Parker reached across the counter and clutched her hands and right wrist.
The Walmart clerk told investigators that “her hand was being squeezed” by Judge Parker, Mr. Olsen told the court. “She felt discomfort or pain.”
Judge Parker then called the Stafford sheriff’s office to report the incident.
After reviewing the video, a Stafford deputy determined that “probable cause” justified Judge Parker’s arrest.
Stafford Deputy J.J. Bryan took Judge Parker in handcuffs from the Walmart on Route 17 north of Falmouth to the county magistrate’s office.
While Deputy Bryan had cause for the arrest, not all assault charges should be prosecuted, Mr. Olsen said.
Given the nature of the alleged assault, “this is not a case that warrants prosecution,” the prosecutor said. “It’s not an assault that merits a criminal prosecution.”
After the prosecutor’s brief presentation, Stafford County General District Court Judge Strickland told the defendant: “You’re free to go.”
“Thank you,” Judge Parker said.
“Judge Parker and I are delighted the case has been resolved in his favor,” Warrenton lawyer Robin Gulick, who represents the judge, said after the hearing.
Judge Parker and Mr. Olsen refused to comment on the case.
Mr. Gulick originally had been scheduled to appear in court at 10 a.m. Wednesday to request evidence sheriff’s deputies collected during the investigation in anticipation of an Oct. 19 trial.
Mr. Olsen called Mr. Gulick last week to tell him that the assault and battery charge would be dropped and that a hearing on the matter would be moved to 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Judge Parker will ask the Stafford County Circuit Court to expunge his arrest from the record.
Judge Parker, 65, first appeared in general district court Tuesday, Sept. 19, to face the assault charge and agree to a trial date. His trial had been scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 19.
The misdemeanor charge carries a maximum 12 months in jail and a maximum $2,500 fine.
The sheriff’s office issued a press release that provided a detailed account of the incident.
At about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5, deputies responded to a call involving a “business/customer dispute” at the Walmart on Route 17, according to a sheriff’s office press release.
The judge told the deputies that “he had found some jewelry in the Walmart parking lot” and took it “to the customer service desk, where he turned the items over to the clerk,” the press release said.
Judge Parker, who lives about 15 minutes northwest of the store, “asked the clerk for a receipt or something in writing noting the jewelry found, along with the date and time he turned the jewelry over to Walmart.”
He also told deputies “he wanted some type of receipt or documentation so that he could return and claim the items if the rightful owner was not found.”
But, the clerk refused to give him a receipt or return the jewelry to him, Judge Parker told the deputies.
“The clerk advised deputies that she was going to place the found jewelry into the safe in case the rightful owner returned,” the press release read. “The clerk acknowledged that Parker requested a receipt and that she advised him that she couldn’t provide him one.”
The clerk and other Walmart employees claim that Judge Parker “got aggravated and aggressive when the clerk would not provide a receipt,” according to the press release.
At some point, Judge Parker “reached across the counter and grabbed her hand, causing her hand to hurt,” the clerk told the deputies.
The clerk also told the deputies “she was scared of what Parker would do if she didn’t return the jewelry to him.”
The Virginia General Assembly elected Judge Parker to his first eight-year term in 2001.
Before he joined the bench, he served as managing partner of Niles, Dulaney, Parker and Lauer from 1986 to 2001.
Judge Parker earned a law degree from the Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington in 1977 and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in 1974.
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TooTrue · September 28, 2017 at 3:24 pm
Even with hard evidence this rubbish continues in this area. Scum
BJ · September 27, 2017 at 5:38 pm
Wow, just wow!! They have video and witnesses of him touching the young woman and he gets off!!! My daughter and wife have black belts in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Mr. Parker would have been kissing the tile floor if he had tried this with them.
citizen observer · September 27, 2017 at 5:02 pm
"the prosecutor cued a 90-second video showing a Fauquier County Circuit Court judge grabbing the hands and wrist of a Walmart clerk"
Sad for the women working at WalMart. This judge just set a new legal precedance on what you can do to them if they provide unsatisfactory customer service.
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