Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge James Plowman recused Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj from prosecuting a criminal case against Scott Smith, a parent who faces a disorderly conduct charge after being arrested at a June 2021 Loudoun County School Board meeting.
While Plowman disagreed with Smith’s defense’s argument that there was a conflict of interest mandating removal of Biberaj, he granted the motion to recuse her and wrote in an order, “The concerns about the public confidence in the integrity of the prosecution as well as the Defendant’s concerns regarding the impartiality of the Commonwealth’s Attorney are sufficiently grounded.”
In May 2021, one of Smith’s children was allegedly assaulted on school property; the school board’s handling of that situation has generated frustration among Republicans and a grand jury investigation. A month later, Smith was arrested at a rowdy school board meeting where officials seemed to deny the existence of assaults in district bathrooms and locker rooms. He faced an obstruction of justice charge and a disorderly conduct charge.
In May 2022, Smith and his attorney State Senator Bill Stanley (R-Franklin) announced that a court had dropped the obstruction charge. In May, Stanley also argued that Biberaj should be recused; Plowman’s September 2 order grants the recusal and appoints Stafford County Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Olsen to take over the criminal case.
Biberaj is disliked by Republicans for her progressive prosecutorial stance and her recusal is a win for those concerned more broadly about Democratic policy in Loudoun County. Olsen is a Republican with over a decade in the role; in 2019 he said the top issues in his district were gun violence, an increasingly complex criminal justice system, and a need to protect victims’ rights, according to Potomac Local News. This is the second time Plowman has recused Biberaj from a case, according to Loudoun Now.
Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. This article originally appeared in The Virginia Star. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of The Republican Standard. Republished with permission.