The Circuit Court is the only trial court of general jurisdiction in Virginia, having the broadest judicial powers in the state. In Arlington, the 17th Judicial District includes the City of Falls Church.
Circuit Court judges are elected by a majority vote of each House of the General Assembly, and serve for eight-year terms. Interim appointments are made by the Governor, subject to election by the General Assembly at the next regular session. The chief judge is elected for a two-year term by the judges serving in the circuit. The 17th Judicial Circuit bench is comprised of three judicial appointments.
- The Honorable William T. Newman, Jr., Chief Judge
- The Honorable Daniel S. Fiore, II
- The Honorable Louise M. DiMatteo
- Judicial Chambers
The Clerk of the Circuit Court is an elected constitutional office in each county and large city in Virginia and performs more varied functions than any other office in the Commonwealth.
Arlington County’s current Clerk of the Circuit Court is Paul Ferguson.
A grand jury is convened at the beginning of each term of the Circuit Court, a grand jury is convened. These juries serve two purposes:
- consider bills of indictment
- determine whether there is sufficient probable cause to believe that a person accused of having committed a serious crime:
- did commit such crime,
- and should stand trial.
The grand jury does not hear both sides of the case and does not determine the guilt or innocence of the accused.
A special grand jury is convened to investigate any condition which tends to promote criminal activity in the community or which indicates malfeasance of governmental agencies or officials. This grand jury has subpoena powers and may summon persons, documents, or records needed in its investigation.
- Modifications to the Circuit Court’s Calendar and Filing Requirements: See full details in the Memo from the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court
The Circuit Court offers probation violators with substance abuse issues participation in the Drug Court Program as an alternative to incarceration.
The Probation Department, Commonwealth Attorney’s Office and the Public Defender’s Office must approve probationers before they can participate in the program.
Drug Court runs every Thursday, 8:30-9:30 a.m. (except holidays) in Courtroom 11B. For more information about the Drug Court Program, call 703-228-7160703-228-7160 or review:
The Audio Visual Handbook describes the technology used in Courtrooms 10A, 10B, 10C and 10D located on the courthouse’s 10th floor.
For more information on courtroom technology, contact the Court’s Technology Coordinator