On November 7, Denise Lunsford won the right to be Albemarle County’s Commonwealth’s Attorney, defeating four-term incumbent Jim Camblos. Even though her first official day is not until January 1, Lunsford says she has been "touching base" with all the agencies and organizations she’ll be dealing with as Commonwealth’s Attorney.
"I won’t say it’s taking up all my time, but the vast majority of people I have met and worked with over the course of the last 17 years," says Lunsford, a private attorney who stopped taking felony cases in March. "It’s not as if I’m introducing myself to strangers, but it’s a different relationship."
"I won’t say it was an incredibly easy situation, but Jim [Camblos] and I are both professionals," says county Commonwealth’s Attorney-elect Denise Lunsford.
She also recently had to sit together with her opponent, someone she has battled in court numerous times. "I won’t say it was an incredibly easy situation, but Jim and I are both professionals," Lunsford says. Some of their discourse was taken up with rather mundane affairs, she says, such as ordering letterhead or deciding which furniture is staying. Then there were more weighty matters.
"The two of us certainly share two things," she says. "One is that the office staff and attorneys are taken care of, that they are where they need to be, and that the cases are taken care of. When we sat down, we sat across the desk from each other, and that was the focus of what we were doing. ‘What do you need to tell me and what do I need to tell you to make sure everything is where it needs to be on January 1?’"
Similarly, Camblos says, "nobody’s going to let the ball drop as far as cases and the prosecution of cases, and we’re trying to make sure that those cases are covered the first few weeks in January." Camblos declined to comment on his future plans.
To help ease that change, the new Commonwealth’s Attorney retained three of the four assistant attorneys, dismissing only Rick Moore, Camblos’ deputy. Jon Zug, Darby Lowe and Ron Huber will all remain.
"There are fantastic attorneys on staff, and their overriding interest is to take care of the county’s business," says Lunsford. "I’m actually really excited to get there, to start this work, finish the transition and get to where I need to be so that I can start doing some of the things I’ve planned on."
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