Circuit Court is a court of unlimited general jurisdiction in certain matters. It can issue writs of mandamus, prohibitions, and certiorari. Divorce suits are heard in the Circuit Court. It has appellate jurisdiction in all cases, civil and criminal, from the lower courts and original jurisdiction for all felony indictments and for presentments, informations, and indictments for misdemeanors. Appeals from the Circuit Court are either to the Court of Appeals or to the State Supreme Court. In criminal trials, trial by jury is mandatory unless waived by the defendant, the prosecutor, and the court. See Prosecution in Alexandria's Courts for additional information.
Deeds, wills, deeds of trust, and other papers are filed with the Clerk of this Court (703-746-4044). The Clerk maintains and processes land record documents for the City, handles probate and fiduciary matters, issues marriage licenses, and provides clerical assistance to the judges in all civil and criminal matters. Other duties include issuing notarial certificates, administering oaths to elected and appointed officials, and maintaining historical records and statistics for the City. The Clerk is a constitutional officer and is elected for an eight-year term. See additional information on the Clerk of Circuit Court-Court of Record.
Judges are elected by a joint vote of both houses of the General Assembly and are commissioned by the Governor for a term of eight years. The Governor can make interim appointments when the General Assembly is in recess. Alexandria has three Circuit Court judges. The judges are: Lisa B. Kemler, Chief Judge; Nolan B. Dawkins and James C. Clark . Contact Information: Judges' Chambers (703.746.4123). For additional information see Local Procedures.
The Court of Appeals of Virginia provides for intermediate appellate review of all decisions of the Circuit Courts in traffic infractions, in criminal cases, except where a sentence of death has been imposed, and in decisions of the Circuit Court involving domestic relations matters and appeals from administrative agencies. The Court also hears appeals from the Industrial Commission. It sits in panels of at least three judges at locations designated by the Chief Judge, so as to provide convenient access to the various areas of the Commonwealth. The 10 Court of Appeals judges are elected in the same manner as Circuit Court judges and serve a term of eight years. The Chief Judge is elected by the 10 judges and serves a term of four years.
For more information visit the web site of the Court of Appeals of Virginia.
The Supreme Court of Virginia's primary purpose is to review the decisions of lower courts in which appeals have been allowed. The Court, which is located in Richmond, also has the power to issue writs of mandamus, habeas corpus, and prohibition; it has original jurisdiction in cases of judicial censure and removal.
The Court has seven justices who are elected by joint vote of both houses of the General Assembly and are commissioned by the Governor to serve 12-year terms. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is the administrative head of the state judicial system.
For more information visit the Supreme Court of Virginia web site.
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