Allamong sentenced after pleading guilty in marijuana case
By Sally Voth firstname.lastname@example.org
Nearly a year after police found dozens of marijuana plants growing on his property, former judge James H. Allamong pleaded guilty to reduced charges in Shenandoah County Circuit Court on Monday.
Allamong, 63, of Copp Road in Fishers Hill, entered into a plea agreement that requires him to spend 30 days in jail. The agreement states the jail sentence is deferred until Oct. 5, and he can serve it at the Warren County Jail if it doesn't cost Shenandoah County to do so.
Firefighters putting out a fire on his property on Oct. 3 found suspected marijuana growing.
According to a Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office criminal complaint, Allamong, an attorney who served as a substitute judge in General District Court prior to his arrest, allowed investigators to search his home.
They found 41 marijuana plants growing outside, as well as more pot inside his home, according to the release.
Originally charged with manufacturing marijuana and possession with the intent to distribute the drug, Allamong saw his charges amended to possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia -- both misdemeanors -- as part of the plea agreement.
For the former charge, Allamong was sentenced to a month in jail and a $500 fine, and for the paraphernalia charge, he received a 12-month suspended sentence, according to the agreement.
Allamong must perform 200 hours of community service and be on unsupervised probation for two years. He is also subject to random drug testing.
The original charge of manufacturing marijuana carries a minimum sentence of five years in prison, with a 30-year maximum sentence, and a maximum fine of $10,000, according to the agreement. Possession with the intent to distribute can be punished by one to 10 years in prison, or 12 months in jail, the agreement states.
In an interview following his arrest last year, Allamong said he grew the marijuana which he used to combat the pain of injuries suffered 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."
Prince William County Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert acted as special prosecutor in the case and retired Judge Paul F. Sheridan presided, according to court documents.
The Virginia State Bar likely will contact the court system to secure documentation surrounding Allamong's convictions, Deputy Clerk Vivian Byrd said Monday afternoon.
"Typically, once the state bar receives notification from the court documentation showing that this attorney has been found guilty of a crime, then this office opens up a case," she said.
That usually results in an attorney being called before the disciplinary board to show why his license shouldn't be suspended or revoked, Byrd said.