Local News, State News

Governor Scott appoints three superior court judges, including Heather Gray of Quechee

Governor Phil Scott announced his appointment of three Vermont Superior Court judges: Elizabeth Novotny of Jericho, Heather Gray of Quechee and of Underhill, Dec. 20.

“I have often said there are few responsibilities more important than governors making judicial appointments,” said Governor Scott. “The people who are entrusted with interpreting the law and upholding justice are tasked with an enormous duty. People’s lives and livelihoods are often in their hands, and it is critical that judges have integrity, honesty, compassion, and impartiality. Beth, Heather and Justin are all incredibly experienced and will bring these qualities, and a strong work ethic, to these new roles.”

Elizabeth Novotny

Elizabeth Novotny is a Vermont lawyer with over 30 years of experience in the private and public sector. She served as a deputy state’s attorney for the Office of the Chittenden County State’s Attorney, an associate at Perry and Schmucker, and as counsel for the Vermont Dept. of Public Safety and the Vermont Dept. of Financial Regulation.

Elizabeth Novotny

She currently serves as general counsel to the Mosaic Learning Center, an independent school for students with developmental disabilities, and is a government relations specialist for several organizations in the areas of special education, criminal justice and the judicial system.

“I am humbled by Governor’s Scott’s decision to appoint me as a Superior Court Judge,” said Novotny. “It’s a privilege to join the current members of Vermont’s judiciary who have set a high bar in terms of integrity, commitment to the rule of law, and dedication to equal justice. I will strive to honor Governor Scott’s faith in me by continuing my personal commitment to these principles in service to our community and Vermont’s judicial system.”

Novotny previously served as president of the Vermont Bar Association from 2019 until 2020, ending her membership on the board as past-president in October of 2021. She is a former member of the board for the Vermont Bar Foundation, New England Bar Association, and Vermont Bar Association.

Recently, Novotny completed a six-year term as chair of a Hearing Panel for the Vermont Judiciary Professional Responsibility Board. She has served on a variety of other boards, councils and commissions throughout her career including the Vermont Council of Independent Schools, Vermont Sentencing Commission, Department of Justice Grant Board for the Vermont Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Sexual Abuse, Vermont Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Act 173 (special education) advisory group. She is currently on the board for Outright Vermont, a non-profit organization serving Vermont’s LGBTQ youth.

Novotny is a graduate of the University of Vermont and Suffolk University Law School.

Heather Gray

Since September of 2017, Gray has been a traffic safety resource prosecutor with the Vermont Dept. of State’s Attorneys and Sheriffs. Before that, she served as a deputy state’s attorney in Franklin County for nine years.

Heather Gray

“I am humbled and honored that Governor Scott has provided me the opportunity to serve the community on the Superior Court,” said Gray. “I look forward to tackling the challenges that face the judiciary.”

Prior to becoming a prosecutor, Gray was an associate attorney at Clark Werner & Flynn in Burlington, practicing in civil and family law. She has been an instructor and trainer at the Vermont Police Academy.

Gray has volunteered with several organizations over the years, including the Ronald McDonald House, the Woodstock Community Food Shelf, David’s House and the Chips Teen Center.

She received a bachelor of arts degree in paralegal studies from Notre Dame College and completed a clerkship and became an attorney in 2005.

Justin Jiron

Jiron has served as a prosecutor since 2003 in the Chittenden County State’s Attorney’s Office and was appointed to serve as a chief deputy state’s attorney in 2016. While in the office, he has prosecuted a wide variety of cases, including homicides, robberies, assaults, and drug and property crimes. Since 2006, he has been the primary prosecutor for drug sale cases and has worked closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Burlington to coordinate prosecutions between the two offices.

Justin Jiron

“I’m incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve the residents of Chittenden County as a prosecutor for the last 19 years,” said Jiron. “It’s been a joy and privilege to work alongside and learn from so many talented members of the legal community — prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, law enforcement, and community group members. I am honored and deeply appreciative to Governor Scott for the faith and trust placed in me by this appointment and excited to continue serving my fellow Vermonters as a Superior Court Judge.”

Before joining the State’s Attorney’s Office, Jiron worked in private practice for three years with the law firm of McPhillips, Fitzgerald and Cullum in Glens Falls, New York.

He received his law degree from Albany Law School in 1999 and a bachelor of science at UVM in 1991. Between college and law school, he served in the infantry in the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged in 1993. Jiron and his wife, Dr. Haley Woodside-Jiron, have been married for 26 years and graduated together from UVM, where Haley is currently a professor in the college of education and social services. They are the proud parents of two adult children, Jasmine and Ben.

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