Public Defender Named Judge

Posted: November 9, 2013

HARRISONBURG — A public defender has been tapped to serve as the new magistrate judge for the Harrisonburg Division of the U.S. District Court’s Western District of Virginia.


Federal judges for the Western District appointed Joel C. Hoppe to replace Judge B. Waugh Crigler, who retired in September, according to an announcement released Wednesday.


Hoppe’s eight-year term is expected to begin early next year. He will earn $160,080 per year.


A native of Richmond, Hoppe has served as an assistant federal public defender since 2007. During that time, he has represented defendants in Harrisonburg and Charlottesville, according to the announcement.


He earned his law degree from the University of Richmond in 2002 and worked as a law clerk to federal magistrates in both the Eastern and Western Districts of U.S. Circuit Court.


Crigler served on the bench in Charlottesville, but Hoppe will preside over cases in the court in Harrisonburg.


The change was made because the Friendly City’s caseload is more active than Charlottesville’s, Chief District Judge Glen E. Conrad of Roanoke has said.


Roanoke, Charlottesville and Harrisonburg are all in the Western District.


Hoppe’s duties will include conducting most preliminary proceedings in criminal matters, trying and disposing of misdemeanors, and overseeing various pretrial matters as delegated by a district judge.


The Federal Magistrate’s Act of 1968 gave district court judges the authority to appoint magistrate judges.


Meanwhile, Supreme Court justices, court of appeals judges and district judges are nominated by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.


Contact Jeremy Hunt at 574-6273 or

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