Superior Court Judge Daniel Richardson has ruled against holding a special election to determine who will be the Orleans County State’s Attorney. St. Johnsbury defense attorney David Sleigh had questioned the appointment of Farzna Leyva by Gov. Phil Scott earlier this year, arguing that state law prohibits the appointment of a state’s attorney by the governor once the previous state’s attorney’s term has expired. But on Monday, Judge Richardson said in a written ruling that Gov. Scott properly appointed Attorney Leyva as State’s Attorney. The Vermont Constitution is clear that a governor can appoint a state’s attorney when a vacancy arises,” wrote Judge Richardson. “The Vermont Legislature did not limit Governor Scott’s power to appoint Attorney Leyva to this position. While the Vermont Legislature has chosen to require a special election in other circumstances, it has not done so when it comes to vacancies in the State’s Attorney offices…This matter is hereby DISMISSED as a matter of law.” Attorney Sleigh argued that there should be a special election held to replace former state’s attorney Jennifer Barrett because her term ended on Jan. 31. Judge Richardson denied Attorney Sleigh’s request for an injunction to stop Gov. Phil Scott from swearing in Leyva. Attorney Sleigh says he has no problem with Leyva becoming the state’s attorney but is concerned about the governor’s office following state law.
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