§ 17.1-501

Judges of circuit courts; selection, powers and duties of chief judges; exercise of appointive powers

A. There shall be as many judges of the circuit courts as may be fixed by the General Assembly. The judges of each circuit shall select from their number by majority vote a chief judge of the circuit, who shall serve for the term of two years. In the event such judges cannot agree as to who shall be chief judge, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall act as tie breaker.

B. The chief judge of the circuit shall ensure that the system of justice in his circuit operates smoothly and efficiently. He shall have authority to assign the work of the circuit among the judges, and in doing so he may consider the nature and categories of the cases to be assigned.

C. Unless otherwise provided by law, powers of appointment within a circuit shall be exercised by a majority of the judges of the circuit; however, the order of appointment may be signed by the chief judge or that judge’s designee on behalf of the other judges. In case of a tie, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall appoint a circuit judge from another circuit who shall act as tie breaker. Where the power of appointment is to be exercised by a majority of the judges of the Second Judicial Circuit and such appointment is to a local post, board or commission in Accomack or Northampton County, the resident judge or judges of the County of Accomack or Northampton shall exercise such appointment power as if he or they comprise the majority of the judges of the circuit.

D. No person shall be appointed or reappointed under this section until he has submitted his fingerprints to be used for the conduct of a national criminal records search and a Virginia criminal history records search. No person with a criminal conviction for a felony shall be appointed as a judge.


1973, c. 544, § 17-116.2; 1976, c. 124; 1994, c. 407; 1998, c. 872; 2004, c. 452; 2005, c. 183.


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