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Posted March 2, 2012 | comments Leave a comment

Drug case against former Shenandoah County judge advances

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

WOODSTOCK -- The drug case against local attorney and former judge James H. Allamong Jr. has proceeded to the next step in Shenandoah County Circuit Court.

Court Clerk Denise Barb Estep said a grand jury indicted him Wednesday on charges of possession with the intent to distribute marijuana and manufacturing marijuana.

Circuit Court Judge Dennis L. Hupp issued a recusal order Wednesday, and that will be sent to Chief 26th Judicial Circuit Judge James V. Lane, Estep said. Lane will then send a request to the Virginia Supreme Court to select a judge to hear the case.

Estep said the case is due to come back to Circuit Court on April 11 just to see if a substitute judge has been chosen.

Allamong, 62, was arrested after an outbuilding on his property at 1817 Copp Road, Fishers Hill, caught fire on Oct. 3. After firefighters spotted suspected marijuana, a Shenandoah County Sheriff's investigator found 41 marijuana plants growing near the building, according to a criminal complaint.

The complaint says Allamong agreed to let police search his house, and inside a small amount of marijuana was found in the living room, as well as four marijuana plants in small pots in a woodstove, and a quarter-pound of the drug in a basement freezer.

Allamong, who resigned as a substitute general district court judge following his arrest, said in an October interview the marijuana was for his own personal use to combat the chronic pain of injuries he sustained during the Vietnam War.

"Obviously, I wish I had an opportunity to go another way, where you can get medicinal marijuana in Virginia, but that's not an option," he said Oct. 5. "I was wounded in Vietnam from a severe concussion blast and had severe joint and hip problems that just are debilitating."

Allamong waived his right to a preliminary hearing in Shenandoah County General District Court in January. He appeared before substitute Judge Charles B. Foley then.

Shenandoah County Commonwealth's Attorney Amanda Wiseley said Thursday Prince William County Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert will continue in his role as special prosecutor.

This was the second time this week Hupp has recused himself from a case. In Warren County Circuit Court on Monday, he filed an order recusing himself from a lawsuit filed by Ann T. McIntyre, formerly the director of development for the Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging.

One of the defendants in the suit, attorney Benjamin Butler, regularly practices in the 26th Judicial Circuit.

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