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Judges sworn in at courthouse
Two judges were sworn in yesterday to Fredericksburg's Circuit Court and General District Court

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Date published: 7/16/2011


A packed courtroom watched as Judge Sarah Deneke and Judge Ricardo Rigual were sworn in during a ceremony at Fredericksburg Circuit Courthouse yesterday.

Rigual is now a general district judge (15th Circuit) and Deneke is now a circuit court judge (15th Circuit).

Rigual was an attorney with Willis, Ashby & Rigual, and Deneke was a Stafford County general district judge.

Both were endorsed by the Fredericksburg Area Bar Association and approved by the General Assembly.

Deneke's seat was last filled by Judge Horace Rivercomb, who retired a year ago. His seat has sat vacant.

State Sens. Richard Stuart, R-Stafford, and Edd Houck, D-Spotsylvania, were both there for the ceremony.

Chief Judge Gordon Willis of Fredericksburg Circuit Court and Chief Judge Frank Benser of Stafford General District Court presided over the ceremony.

Deneke's niece, Melanie Clatanoff, a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School, helped Deneke with her robe and held the family's Bible while Deneke took her oath.

Rigual's daughters, Sarah, 6, and Morgan, 10, helped their dad with his robe, and his wife, Cory, held the Bible while he took his oath. His son, Will, 8, led the pledge of allegiance.

From the bench, both gave brief remarks and thanked their friends and families and the legal community for their support.

Deneke joked that after just eight days on the job, she has already found it to be challenging, but loves it.

Rigual spoke highly of his law partner and father-in-law, Mark Willis.

Deneke's term is eight years and Rigual's term is six years.

Robyn Sidersky 540/374-5413
Email: rsidersky@freelancestar.com