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Alumna Sees That Justice Is Served

By Diane Britton

An "awesome, even grave, responsibility" is how Becky Moore, newly appointed judge of the General District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, sees her work adjudicating criminal and traffic misdemeanor cases. The first woman to serve in this position in Alexandria nevertheless says it is a responsibility she feels comfortable carrying out.

"It is so gratifying to be in a position to treat every case as the most important one, which of course it is to the person appearing in court," says Moore, B.A. Government and Politics '82. "It's important that every one of those people sees that justice is done."

Moore's court handles nonjury cases, misdemeanors that carry a prison sentence of up to 12 months or a fine of up to $2,500, and civil cases involving $3,000 or less. The General District Court also has concurrent jurisdiction with the 18th Judicial Circuit Court over claims involving $3,000 to $15,000. Because defendants come before her court in all stages of representation¬some arrive with attorneys in private practice or from the Public Defenders Office, while some come alone¬she must ensure that they all get the same level of consideration. "People aren't treated any differently by me whether they are represented or not," she says.

Moore remembers her years at Mason as being academically challenging and personally rewarding. Even as a student, she worked hard to balance her school, personal, and community responsibilities. She worked part time in the Registrar's Office, where she "forged wonderful friendships" with staff, some of which have endured for 20 years. (One former coworker even came to her swearing-in ceremony.) "I had such a great experience working on campus and going to school there," she says.

Moore was one of the first residents of the newly built Student Apartments, and joined the first sorority on campus, Chi Omega, in whose alumnae group she is still active. Always interested in local politics, she was a member of the student senate at Mason.

By her third year in college, Moore decided that a law career could further her interest in politics, so she moved on to the T.C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond. Upon graduation, she worked as a litigator for the Alexandria law firm of Land, Clark, Carroll and Mendelson, becoming a partner in 1990. She also served as a substitute judge in the General District Court for six years, and in February, was sworn in for a full-time, six-year term.

Moore enjoys coming back to campus for Chi Omega meetings and for an occasional event at the Patriot Center or the Center for the Arts with her husband, attorney Bob Coulter, but with a two-year-old daughter at home, they choose not to indulge those interests too often. Other activities include her recent appointment to her church denomination's judicial board.

Clearly, Her Honor is a woman who has learned to operate in all areas of her life with a sense of balance, responsibility, and enthusiasm. It would seem that her new role of impartial arbitrator is one Becky Moore has prepared for her whole life.

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