Four in the running for state’s attorney

MIDDLEBURY — The Addison County Democratic Committee has forwarded three names to Gov. Phil Scott to consider as he prepares to appoint a new state’s attorney to replace Dennis Wygmans, who held that job until May 7.

As the Addison Independent went to press last week, two people had confirmed interest in becoming the county’s top prosecutor: current Addison County Deputy State’s Attorney Peter Bevere and attorney Eva P. Vekos, a litigator with the Middlebury firm Marsh & Wagner.

Later the Independent learned that two others had emerged with an interest in replacing Wygmans: Tim Lueders-Dumont, a Lincoln native and deputy state’s attorney in Washington County; and Addison County High Bailiff Dave Silberman.

Like Vekos, Lueders-Dumont and Silberman are Democrats. Bevere is an independent.

The Addison County Democratic Committee interviewed all four candidates last week and submitted a list — in order of preference — to Scott. The committee gave its top endorsement to Lueders-Dumont, followed by Vekos and then Silberman.

Absent from the Dems’ list was Bevere, who ran against Wygmans in 2018 and fell just 10 votes shy of unseating him.

Wygmans subsequently hired Bevere as deputy SA.

The local Dems’ endorsement was forwarded to Scott, who can appoint someone to fill the state’s attorney vacancy until November’s General Election, when the four-year term will be up for grabs.

Addison County Democratic Committee Chair Zoe Kaslow acknowledged through a recent statement that while Scott doesn’t have to appoint any of the party’s preferred candidates, “it is … a long-standing bipartisan custom and practice for a governor to appoint a successor recommended by the political party of the person whose resignation created the vacancy.”

Jason Maulucci, Scott’s press secretary, told the Independent on Monday the governor’s office had just received the Addison County Dems’ list of preferred candidates and no specific timeline has been set for interviews and a final selection.

“It typically takes several weeks from the time we get names for interviews to be scheduled and references checked before the governor makes a decision,” Maulucci said, adding, “Candidates submitted by the committee are considered, as are other applicants who might reach out directly to our office.”

Wygmans left his job as state’s attorney on May 7 in order to become one of two Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutors in the state.

Here are some basic details about the four people (in alphabetical order) vying for Scott’s appointment:

Peter Bevere: He plans to again run as an independent this fall. His previous work experience includes stints as an associate with English, Carroll & Boe, PC; deputy state’s attorney in both Chittenden and Rutland counties; and chief deputy state’s attorney for the state of Vermont. Bevere has gained great familiarity with the local state’s attorney’s office, taking on hundreds of cases.

Timothy Lueders-Dumont: Was raised in Lincoln and graduated from Mount Abraham Union High School. He’s currently handling around 300 cases as deputy state’s attorney in Washington County. He was assigned to the General Counsel and Administrative Law Division of the Vermont AG’s office, assisting in civil matters concerning labor, employment, and contract matters. He worked as a law clerk for the Chittenden County State’s Attorney and in the Office of the Ulster County District Attorney in New York while serving as a Law Fellow with Fair and Just Prosecution. Prior to becoming a deputy state’s attorney, Lueders-Dumont served as a judicial extern in the chambers of the Honorable Chief Judge Geoffrey W. Crawford in the Federal District Court of Vermont in both Burlington and Rutland.

Dave Silberman: Is a Middlebury corporate attorney who lobbied for — and helped shape — Vermont’s cannabis statutes. He’s been a longtime advocate for drug policy and criminal justice reform. Silberman is a partner in a newly proposed cannabis retail store in Middlebury called FLŌRAL. In addition to being Addison County High Bailiff, he’s a member of the Addison County Democratic Committee.

Eva Vekos: Has worked as a litigator in criminal defense and juvenile law for more than 20 years. With Marsh & Wagner, she specializes in family law matters, such as divorce, child custody, and wills and estates. As a public defender in New York, Massachusetts and Vermont, Vekos was “deeply dedicated to fighting for the rights of those facing heavy-handed prosecutions and to uphold due process for the accused,” according to her bio.

Kaslow urged the governor to move swiftly on a candidate selection.

“While the position is up for election this fall, the office was struggling to keep up with its caseload even at normal staffing levels, and will struggle even more while the current deputy state’s attorney is left to perform two jobs in the interim,” she said in her statement. “An understaffed state’s attorney office is a significant threat both to public safety and to the efficient administration of justice in accordance with our fundamental rights enshrined in the United States and Vermont State Constitutions, including the 6th Amendment right to a speedy trial.”

Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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