UPDATE: Pomrenke removed from Bristol Juvenile bench by Supreme Court

(PHOTO: WCYB Archive)

Kurt Pomrenke has been officially removed from his position as Bristol Virginia Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court judge following a final ruling from the Virginia Supreme Court.

The agency announced the news Monday morning following a hearing earlier this month in Richmond where attorneys for the judge pleaded their case following a petition from the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission (JIRC).

Pomrenke was found guilty in September in federal court in Abingdon of contempt of court. That charge was related to his activity during his wife Stacey's corruption trial as part of the Bristol Virginia Utilities scandal. He will be sentenced on Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

Prosecutors said that Kurt Pomrenke broke the law when he submitted evidence to JIRC that was related to the trial of his wife, the former chief financial officer for the public utility. The complaint said that Judge Pomrenke attempted to influence two potential witnesses during his wife's trial including current BVU CEO Don Bowman.

Kurt Pomrenke was charged with violating the Canons of Conducts by not upholding the integrity and independence of the judiciary and by not avoiding impropriety, the report said.

"We conclude that Judge Pomrenke's violations of the Canons were grave and substantial," the opinion said.

"...What Judge Pomrenke did strikes at the heart of the judicial system. It is particularly damaging to the integrity of the judicial process and the confidence of the citizens of the Commonwealth that a sitting judge in the Commonwealth would attempt to improperly influence two potential witnesses in his wife's federal criminal trial.

"...While the court takes cognizance of Judge Pomrenke's family circumstances, such considerations cannot outweigh the extraordinary harm that will be done to the judiciary if he remains on the bench."

The official opinion can be accessed by clicking here.

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