One of Loudoun's top prosecutors will be leaving the county at the end of the week to take up the top post in his home county of Fauquier.
Loudoun's Chief Deputy Commonwealth Attorney James Fisher has been appointed to fill the vacant Commonwealth's Attorney post in Fauquier County--a position he will take up July 1. Fisher was appointed by the 20th Judicial Circuit Court and will finish out the term, which ends Dec. 31.
Fauquier County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jonathan Lynn was appointed to a judgeship by the General Assembly.
Fisher had already filed paperwork to be on the ballot for Fauquier County's top prosecutor this November.
"I am honored that the court has appointed me to serve," Fisher said in a statement. "I plan to work on a transition into the position while continuing my campaign for a new term in the general election this November."
Fisher also has committed to continuing work on a handful of pending murder cases in Loudoun after his appointment begins.
An attorney in Virginia for the past 23 years, Fisher began his career in his native Prince William County as a law clerk for Commonwealth's Attorney Paul B. Ebert. As an intern, Fisher was involved in case preparation for Ebert, who holds the record in Virginia for capital convictions. In that position, Fisher researched and did other file development work for Ebert. When a job opened as a full-time assistant prosecutor in Fairfax County, Fisher went to work for Robert F. Horan Jr., who was known statewide as the "Dean of Commonwealth's Attorneys." In his time there, Fisher worked in the high-volume office involved in as many cases as he could handle. He tried more than 100 jury trials by the time he left for private practice.
"It was the second time that fortune smiled on my legal career," Fisher stated. "Working for Bob Horan and watching him in court was an unbelievable learning opportunity."
In private practice, Fisher handled legal matters ranging from criminal law and personal injury to construction litigation and condominium law. Among his largest clients were The Rotonda Condominium Association of Tyson's Corner as well as the Southern States Police Benefits Association. He eventually left private practice for the opportunity to serve as Chief Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney in Loudoun, where he has supervised an office of nearly 40 employees.
Fisher came on board as Chief Deputy with Commonwealth's Attorney James Plowman when Plowman was elected in 2003. The two worked to revamp many office programs and to increase efficiency in prosecutorial services.
In his time in Loudoun Fisher has tried a number of murder and other high profile cases, including overseeing the case against Daniel Miller, who beat and burned a 2-year-old in his care over a period of hours while trying to set up drug deals from his girlfriend's apartment. Fisher successfully convicted Miller and a jury fixed a sentence of 20 years in prison.
Fisher also tried the case against Praveen Mandanapu, where a man strangled and dismembered his wife. Mandanapu attempted to dispose of his wife's body by enclosing the dismembered parts into a suitcase and dumping the case in a South Riding apartment complex dumpster. Fisher convicted Mandanapu and his convictions have stood up in all appellate courts.
In another notable case, the Virginia Court of Appeals upheld the use of a "jury view" in a case Fisher tried that involved his successful motion to the court to allow the jury to visit the crime scene. Fisher wanted the jury to view the scene so that members could examine the physical layout of the shooting scene where a disgruntled drug dealer named Tyrone Smith murdered a customer over a drug dispute. Smith's lawyers vehemently objected to the jury view, but the court allowed the little-used tactic based on Fisher's argument that the defendant's claim of accident could be refuted by an examination of the shooting scene where Smith fired into an apartment dwelling. Smith was convicted after a multi-week trial.
Fisher has spent his life involved in law enforcement. His father was a Virginia State trooper and a founding member of the Prince William County Police Department. After growing up in Manassas, Fisher attended Shepherd College where he received a degree in political science. He went on to graduate from Capital University Law School in 1988. He worked at the Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney's Office until 1995, when he went into private practice. He has been in the Loudoun Commonwealth's Attoreny's Office since 2003.
A long-time resident of Fauquier, Fisher is active in the Scouts and coaching youth sports.
Information about his campaign, as well as his legal work in Fairfax and Loudoun can be found online at www.wesupportjim.com.