Virginia Legal Overview
The highest court in the Commonwealth of Virginia is the Supreme Court of Virginia, with seven justices elected by the General Assembly for 12 year terms. The Virginia Court of Appeals is the intermediate appellate court with 11 judges elected for eight year terms. The 120 courts circuit courts over 31 judicial districts are the main trial courts with general jurisdiction. The circuit courts also take appeals from the general district courts and the juvenile and domestic relations district courts. The general district courts have limited jurisdiction over misdemeanors, preliminary felony hearings and civil cases involving less than $1,000.
Top metro Virginia areas for Legal Issues:
1. Capital punishment is legal in Virginia, with the death penalty being administered by lethal injection or electrocution. In Martin v. Hunter's Lessee (1816) and Cohens v. Virginia (1821), the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in to establish their own supremacy over the state supreme courts in matters of federal law. The Virginia courts have thrown up cases that produced landmark civil rights judgments. Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward (1952) was one of the five cases bundled into Brown v. Board of Education (1954), which desegregated public schools. Similarly, Loving v. Virginia (1967) ended restrictions on inter-racial marriages.
2. A Virginia motorist who crashed into a tent filled with sleeping patrons at a West Virginia music festival in 2011 wants to settle three personal injury and wrongful death cases.
3. West Virginia's Supreme Court would like to hear from state officials regarding West Virginia's public financing program for court candidates. A deadline was set by the court for responses to the petition filed recently by Supreme Court candidate Allen Loughry.
Trending Virginia Legal Topics: Virginia has two bar associations. The Virginia Bar Association was established in 1888 as a voluntary organization, and still has 5,600 members. The unified Virginia State Bar (VSB) was established in 1938 as an agency of the Supreme Court of Virginia. VSB membership is mandatory for all 24,000 lawyers licensed to practice law in Virginia. The VSB now has more than 39,000 members. Bar exams are administered by the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners (BBE), also an agency of the Supreme Court. The VSB, BBE, Supreme Court, administrative offices and agencies of the judiciary are based in Richmond, VA.