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June 26, 2019

Scott C. Hook appointed interim chief prosecutor

Photo/Lawrence Emerson
Fauquier native Scott Hook, who has practiced law in Warrenton for 13 years, will lead the county prosecutor’s office that has a deputy, three senior and four assistant commonwealth’s attorneys.
I’m honored that the judges picked me, that they have the confidence in me to handle this office for six months, until the general election ultimately decides who’s going to be in that office.
— Scott C. Hook
Scott Christopher Hook
Scott C. Hook

• Age: 42

• Home: Near Warrenton.

• Office sought: Fauquier County commonwealth’s attorney.

• Party: Republican.

• Work: Owner, sole practitioner, Warrenton-based law firm; 2017- present.

• Experience: Associate attorney, Mark B. Williams & Associates, Warrenton, 2008-17; prosecutor, Town of Warrenton, 2006-08. 

• Education: Law degree, Seton Hall (N.J.) University, 2006; bachelor’s degree, geography, Radford University, 2003; associate’s degree, New River Community College, 2001; Massanutten Military Academy, 1995.

• Organizations: St. James’ Episcopal Church School Board, Warrenton, 2017-present; Fauquier County Chamber of Commerce, 2010-present; Fauquier County Bar Association, 2006-present; Virginia Bar Association, 2006-present.

• Family: Wife, Kristy; children, Kaden, 8, Oliver, 6, and Isla, 4.

• Website: Click here

• Facebook: Click here
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Fauquier’s interim commonwealth’s attorney will take office July 1.

Warrenton lawyer Scott C. Hook learned Wednesday morning of his six-month appointment to the job in a letter from 20thCircuit Court Chief Judge Stephen E. Sincavage. A panel of four circuit judges, including Jeffery W. Parker, who presides in Fauquier and Rappahannock counties, chose Mr. Hook to fill the position.

He will succeed James P. Fisher, whose four-year term as chief prosecutor will end Dec. 31. Mr. Fisher will resign June 30 to become a circuit court judge.

The Virginia General Assembly in January elected Mr. Fisher to an eight-year term on the bench. He will join the court July 1 and hear cases in Loudoun County, where he previously worked as a prosecutor. 

“I’m honored that the judges picked me, that they have the confidence in me to handle this office for six months, until the general election ultimately decides who’s going to be in that office,” said Mr. Hook, a sole practitioner with 13 years of experience. “Eager to get started.”

The Republican nominee for the chief prosecutor’s job faces no opposition on the Nov. 5 general election ballot.

The court set a Monday, June 17, application deadline for the interim appointment. A week before, he emailed the 20th Judicial Circuit Court a letter of interest, certification of his “legal qualifications and eligibility” and a resume, Mr. Hook said.

He forwarded the documents to Christie Adler, a program manager who works for Judge Sincavage. Ms. Adler has declined to comment on the selection process. It remains unknown whether anyone besides Mr. Hook, 42, sought the temporary post.

As commonwealth’s attorney, he will focus on drug-related crimes and issues, said Mr. Hook, who lives near Warrenton.

“I definitely want to review the process in which we treat user-level drug offenders,” he said.

Favoring a “medicinal approach along with a criminal approach” to address addiction, Mr. Hook described “relapse” as part of recovery.

For participants in Virginia’s First Offender Diversion Program, “we have to be able to look at the relapse and see if it (involves) a person who has made strives forward and is still moving forward,” he explained. “Or, is this somebody who’s given up on the program and they’re not going to benefit from the program.”

Fauquier has a “lot of great resources” to make such determinations, Mr. Hook said.

“Maybe we can do some evaluations of some of these people and see who truly wants to get better and who’s just using the program to escape being convicted,” he added.

Mr. Hook also will consider ways to streamline office operations.

In other counties, commonwealth’s attorneys assign senior prosecutors to oversee caseloads for specific courtrooms, Mr. Hook said.

Under such a system, senior prosecutors would handle cases and provide courtroom guidance to less experienced prosecutors as needed, he said.

“I’d like to implement that in Fauquier, so it creates a consistency and efficiency in the courts,” Mr. Hook said. “Then you have a person in charge of that court . . . . They know that court. That is their court.”

The office has eight lawyers — a deputy, three senior and four assistant commonwealth’s attorneys.

Fauquier has three courts in Warrenton — circuit, general district and juvenile and domestic relations.

In addition to his supervisory and administrative responsibilities, Mr. Hook plans to handle as many cases “as feasible.”

“First and foremost, I’m a prosecutor,” he said. “So, I think you should see the commonwealth’s attorney in court — all three courts.”

Among other things, that will enable him to “see what’s happening first-hand in our courtrooms.”

Mr. Hook expects to meet with Mr. Fisher to discuss his transition as interim chief prosecutor.

He also will rely on staff to get up to speed on case dockets for all three courts, Mr. Hook said.

“Luckily, we do have some talented people there,” he said. “I anticipate shadowing them for several weeks.”

Still, he added: “I do practice in these courts regularly, so it’s not completely foreign to me. But, I don’t pretend to know everything. And, I’m going to listen to what those attorneys have to say and watch what they do.”

Two other Republicans had declared for the position — Christopher B. Morehouse last August and Senior Commonwealth’s Attorney Charles K. “Chuck” Peters on Feb. 5. Mr. Hook also announced his candidacy that day.

Mr. Morehouse scrapped his campaign after learning of Mr. Peters’ political intentions. Ten days after announcing his bid, Mr. Peters withdrew from the race, citing “personal reasons and my family priorities.”

Prior to canceling his short-lived campaign, Mr. Peters, who lives near Markham, appeared poised to succeed his boss as interim commonwealth’s attorney.

In certain circumstances, the state code allows commonwealth’s attorneys to appoint their interim successors.

Based on his reading of state law, Mr. Fisher concluded that Mr. Peters qualified for the job.

The pertinent code section states that: “The highest ranking deputy officer, or in the case of the office of attorney for the Commonwealth, the highest ranking full-time assistant attorney for the Commonwealth, who is qualified to vote for and hold that office, shall be vested with the powers and shall perform all of the duties of the office.”

The interim commonwealth’s attorney also must live in Fauquier and “have been a resident” of Virginia “for one year next preceding his election and be qualified to vote for that office,” according to state law

In a June 6 notice seeking applications for the interim Fauquier position, Chief Judge Sincavage, who presides in Leesburg, cited the pertinent state code to fill commonwealth’s attorney vacancies.

But, he added: “The statutory successor pursuant to that provision has declined to serve.” 

Contact Don Del Rosso at Don@FauquierNow.com or 540-270-0300.
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Calypso · July 3, 2019 at 11:58 am
Its a shame there were no other candidates. Hopefully one will surface at the 6 month interim........if not....all are in for a huge headache
JDwarrenton · June 28, 2019 at 6:40 pm
Great. Because he runs unopposed, the County will get an inept, ethically challenged, traffic court lawyer for their County Attorney.
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