State Government

‘Equity’ state’s attorney named Superior Court judge

By Guy Page

Days after one of Gov. Phil Scott’s judicial appointees was lambasted by a state senator for giving low bail to a repeat criminal and known flight risk, Scott appointed to the Vermont bench former Washington County prosecutor and Attorney General candidate Rory Thibault, who during a campaign last year called ‘equity’ a core value of Vermont criminal justice.

“Seriously Senators!,” began an email about Superior Court Judge Justin Jiron early last week from Sen. Russ Ingalls (R-Essex) to every other senator. “An assault weapon, cocaine and warrants, and is out on $200 bail, and this guy is still a Judge!?” Jiron was appointed by Scott in 2021 and will serve until 2027 before going before the Legislature’s Judicial Nominating Board. Vermont Daily Chronicle outlined several previous ‘catch-and-release’ decisions by Jiron from the Caledonia County Court bench – including some criticized by prosecutors and police. 

On Friday, Scott announced the appointment of Thibault. Like Jiron (former Chittenden County deputy state’s attorney), Thibault is a former state prosecutor with experience in the Attorney General’s office.

“Rory has a proven track record of public service in Vermont throughout his time as a prosecutor, in the U.S. Army, and as an active member in his community,” said Governor Scott. “I’m confident his experience, work ethic and temperament will make him a strong Superior Court judge.”

Thibault has over fifteen years of experience practicing law with a background in criminal, juvenile, and military law. In 2018, he was appointed by Governor Scott as Washington County State’s Attorney and was elected to a full four-year term later that year. Previously, Thibault served as an assistant attorney general, deputy state’s attorney, and served in the United States Army as a judge advocate where he earned the rank of Major.

“I am excited to begin this new chapter in my career and look forward to being part of a judiciary committed to promoting fair and efficient justice for all Vermonters,” Thibault said in a press release published by Scott’s office. 

An interview Thibault gave to WAMC last May, during his unsuccessful run for the Democratic nomination for Attorney General, sheds light on his understanding of ‘fair and efficient’ justice:

“When someone does come into the criminal justice system, we need to look at them beyond just the title of the offense,” Thibault said. “The focus needs to be on, who is this person? What do they need? And what can we do to reduce the risks they present to the community or ultimately what needs to be done to rehabilitate them and ensure that they have the tools and are situated in the community to not go down that path again. And frequently it’s the essentials. It’s housing, employment, and in some cases the means to sustain recovery or absence from substances.”

Thibault also spoke up for equity as a Vermont value. 

“I want to pursue a system of justice that’s rooted in Vermont values,” he told WAMC. “And quite simply put I think those are equity, integrity, and empathy. These are foundational to good stewardship of a public position.”

Thibault earned a B.A. in political science from the University of Richmond, and a J.D. from Vermont Law School. Thibault is a member of the Vermont Sentencing Commission and previously served as a member of the Governor’s Community Violence Prevention Task Force. Thibault and his wife have two children.

In 2019, Thibault issued a public letter claiming Northfield Police Chief John Helfant had withheld evidence favorable to an Hispanic man and a Black man caught possessing drugs during a traffic stop. “These cases raise concern that Chief Helfant engaged in disparate treatment of a Hispanic male and an African American male” compared to the white women who were driving the cars, Thibault said. 

In a rebuttal letter, Helfant disputed the charge of ‘disparate treatment’ based on race: “This is a disingenuous statement to make for several reasons. As explained above, there are no constitutional issues. Secondly, both Caucasian female operators were also arrested so there is no bias. All four people were arrested because they had committed drug crimes deemed illegal by the Vermont Legislature, nothing more or less.”

Thibault, who is also a part-time farmer, lives in Cabot with his wife and two children.

Categories: State Government

8 replies »

  1. At a Constitutional Rally two years ago on the Statehouse lawn three of my friends were pepper sprayed and physically assaulted in an unprovoked attack. The woman who committed these crimes was then involved in a hit and run where she struck two of them.
    All on video, personally witnessed by many including two ” Security Officers ” from VT State Buildings and Grounds.
    All three of my friends required medical treatment at the scene.
    Mr. Thibault refused to charge the woman assailant and in fact gave her Court Diversion.

    Governor Scott has ensured that Law abiding Vermonters will continue to be in harms way while the injustice system continues to ignore the Law they are supposed to enforce.
    Mr. Thibault will give Chittenden County State Attorney George a race to the bottom.

    Pay attention Vermonters, Scott, Thibault, George and every marxist in the Legislature ignores the Constitutions of VT and America while forcing their equity and free the criminal agenda.
    Ironic how equity never applies to Constitutional Americans.

    Why do we never hear any condemnation of Scott and every other transrepublican that violates the VTGOP Platform at will ?
    There will be none, because VTGOP Chair Dame, Rules Committee Chair Koch and National Committeeman Shepard support them.

    I have called on Scott to pull a Jeffords for years. He is no more Republican than Pelosi.
    But Dame wanted his Big Tent agenda which gave him Liam Madden and every transrepublican that voted for H89.
    Conservative Vermonters have almost no voice.

  2. Amazing that equity never starts with yourself. He’s going to have to put so much weight on the scales to make up accepting this position as a white man. If you ever end up in front of this guy, you better get a pink wig, and insist on being called “xir”, or you’re hosed.

  3. Equity is like homogenized milk. It has nothing to do with Equality which is a real Vermont value. In homogenization, milk from diverse farms and herds is subjected to high pressure until there is a standardized outcome of broken down fat molecules and whiter milk. Nothing is left of the individual traits of the cows. The cream is dispersed and the smaller particles that can cause digestive problems and it decreases the nutritional value of the milk. Similarly, the real gifts and talents of individuals are lost in the “equity” mix. Attributing the same gifts and talents to all and expecting a quality outcome is doing a great disservice to all and defies common sense.

  4. Rory what a joke, and so is Phil for appointing him. Why do we need a democrat party in VT when the republican will only appoint dems!

  5. This precedent and attitude gives the judge the ability to ask the defendant: “What political spectrum do you support?” If the defendant answers one way, they will be lightly treated. The other way, and hold my beer.

  6. The same equity that has collectively produced only negative results in public schools and our criminal divisions? Let’s be honest, if you’re not a moonbat, Vermont is no longer safe for you or your family.

  7. The robe and the title doesn’t mean they cannot be indicted for treason and crimes against humanity. The court of public opinion is shifting and shaking. Their fear and their nightmare will hit them broadside. Declared and decreed in a court of law far away from here.

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