Richard Rizk was elected Tuesday, March 3 by a unanimous vote in the Virginia General Assembly to serve as the York-Poquoson Circuit Court judge.
Rizk will assume the position recently left vacant by Richard Y. Atlee, Jr., who was recently appointed to the Virginia Court of Appeals in January.
"I'm honored and more honored by the support from my colleagues and the legislators in Richmond," Rizk said.
He also said while he is looking forward to serving the community with another hat on, he will miss practicing law and helping people in the community during tough times in their lives.
Having received endorsements by both the York-Poquoson Bar Association and the Williamsburg Bar Association, Rizk interviewed with the Courts of Justice Committee on Feb. 23. He said began receiving congratulatory phone calls two days later.
In the past, Rizk served as a prosecutor in the City of Harrisonburg and Hanover County. He served as assistant attorney general of Virginia, and as both assistant and chief deputy commonwealth attorney in Williamsburg and James City County. In 2003, Rizk joined the law firm of Geddy, Harris, Franck & Hickman LLP in Williamsburg, where he practiced in the areas of criminal defense, vehicular incidents and DUI, domestic relations, personal injury, and general litigation.
Gordon Klugh, an area defense attorney and president of the Williamsburg-James City County Bar Association, lawded Rizk, saying he considered him "a role model in every respect."
"He handles his business with integriy," Klugh said. "He's someone who will be fair to everyone, and he has a great perspective on the cases before him."
Since 2004, Rizk has served as a substitute judge in the Ninth Judicial District, which comprises the counties of Charles City, James City, King and Queen, King William, Matthews, Middlesex, New Kent, York, and the City of Williamsburg.
James City County Judge Colleen K. Killilea said Rizk's experience as both a prosecutor and defense attorney provides him with the advantage of being able to see both sides of a case.
Melanie Barbour Economou, assistant county attorney in York, likewise noted Rizk's "well-rounded view of the law."
"Mr. Rizk has always been a very good judge (when he subsituted), very even tempered" Economou said. "He has great judicial temperment, and I'm sure he's going to be an assett to York-Poquoson."
Rizk said he will continue to practice until the end of June. He will take the York-Poquoson Circuit Court bench July 1, 2015.