Petula C. Metzler to Become Prince William County Judge
Prince William’s newest judge will also be the first African American to serve in the county’s General District Court.
Virginia’s General Assembly recently appointed lawyer Petula C. Metzler to a new fifth judgeship in the court in Manassas. She is to begin a six-year term July 1.
Having an additional jurist is expected to relieve an overcrowded docket in the general district court, and Metzler, an associate with the Woodbridge-based firm of Compton & Duling, was hailed by legislators and lawyers last week as a thoughtful and considerate choice for the position.
Del. Richard L. Anderson (R-Prince William) said that there was “pretty universal agreement” among the legislature’s Prince William delegation that Metzler was well qualified to move from a practice of mainly civil litigation and land-use law to the bench.
State Sen. Scott A. Surovell (D-Fairfax) said Metzler brings a rare perspective to the bench, in that she is an Army veteran. Surovell is a lawyer who, like Metzler, is a member of the Prince William County Bar Association.
“She’s a leader within the community and within the bar,” said Surovell, whose district includes part of Prince William.
Jeani Wiethop, the Prince William bar’s president, said she got to know Metzler through her work with the organization’s executive board. Metzler, who served as the county’s bar president from 2012 to 2013, was both diplomatic and assertive in voicing her opinions in that setting, Wiethop said.
Metzler will be thoughtful, not impulsive, in rendering decisions, Wiethop said.
“She’s a class act,” she said.
Jason E. Hickman, Compton & Duling’s managing member, said that one of the most important things a lawyer or judge can be is a good listener. And, as a judge, Metzler will be able to rule correctly because she can calmly listen to both sides in a dispute and determine the right outcome based on the law, he said.
Del. Jackson H. Miller (R-Manassas) also said that a general district judge can be the “face” of the commonwealth for many residents, the main Virginia official they might encounter in daily life if they are charged with a traffic infraction or misdemeanor offense.