Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 16. Local Constitutional Officers, Courthouses and Supplies
5/28/2022

Article 4. Attorney for the Commonwealth.

§ 15.2-1626. Attorney for the Commonwealth.

The voters in every county and city shall elect an attorney for the Commonwealth unless otherwise provided by general law or special act. The attorney for the Commonwealth shall exercise all the powers conferred and perform all the duties imposed upon such officer by general law. He may perform such other duties, not inconsistent with his office, as the governing body may request. He shall be elected as provided by general law for a term of four years. Every county and city may, with the approval of the Compensation Board, provide for employing compensated assistants to the attorney for the Commonwealth as in the opinion of the Compensation Board may be required. Such assistant or assistants shall be appointed by the attorney for the Commonwealth for a term coterminous with his own. The compensation for such assistants to the attorneys for the Commonwealth shall be as provided for assistants to attorneys for the Commonwealth under § 15.2-1627.1.

1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1627. (Effective until January 1, 2022) Duties of attorneys for the Commonwealth and their assistants.

A. No attorney for the Commonwealth, or assistant attorney for the Commonwealth, shall be required to carry out any duties as a part of his office in civil matters of advising the governing body and all boards, departments, agencies, officials and employees of his county or city; of drafting or preparing county or city ordinances; of defending or bringing actions in which the county or city, or any of its boards, departments or agencies, or officials and employees thereof, shall be a party; or in any other manner of advising or representing the county or city, its boards, departments, agencies, officials and employees, except in matters involving the enforcement of the criminal law within the county or city.

B. The attorney for the Commonwealth and assistant attorney for the Commonwealth shall be a part of the department of law enforcement of the county or city in which he is elected or appointed, and shall have the duties and powers imposed upon him by general law, including the duty of prosecuting all warrants, indictments or informations charging a felony, and he may in his discretion, prosecute Class 1, 2 and 3 misdemeanors, or any other violation, the conviction of which carries a penalty of confinement in jail, or a fine of $500 or more, or both such confinement and fine. He shall enforce all forfeitures, and carry out all duties imposed upon him by § 2.2-3126. He may enforce the provisions of § 18.2-268.3, 29.1-738.2, 46.2-341.20:7, or 46.2-341.26:3.

1977, c. 584, § 15.1-8.1; 1978, c. 141; 1988, c. 389; 1997, c. 587; 2011, c. 210; 2017, c. 623, 2020, cc. 1285, 1286; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 550, 551.

§ 15.2-1627. (Effective January 1, 2022) Duties of attorneys for the Commonwealth and their assistants.

A. No attorney for the Commonwealth, or assistant attorney for the Commonwealth, shall be required to carry out any duties as a part of his office in civil matters of advising the governing body and all boards, departments, agencies, officials and employees of his county or city; of drafting or preparing county or city ordinances; of defending or bringing actions in which the county or city, or any of its boards, departments or agencies, or officials and employees thereof, shall be a party; or in any other manner of advising or representing the county or city, its boards, departments, agencies, officials and employees, except in matters involving the enforcement of the criminal law within the county or city.

B. The attorney for the Commonwealth and assistant attorney for the Commonwealth shall be a part of the department of law enforcement of the county or city in which he is elected or appointed, and shall have the duties and powers imposed upon him by general law, including the duty of prosecuting all warrants, indictments or informations charging a felony, and he may in his discretion, prosecute Class 1, 2 and 3 misdemeanors, or any other violation, the conviction of which carries a penalty of confinement in jail, or a fine of $500 or more, or both such confinement and fine. He shall enforce all forfeitures, and carry out all duties imposed upon him by § 2.2-3126. He may enforce the provisions of § 18.2-268.3, 29.1-738.2, 46.2-341.20:7, or 46.2-341.26:3. He may, in his discretion, file a notice of appeal with the circuit court for the appeal of a criminal case for which he was the prosecuting attorney and he may appear and represent the Commonwealth in any criminal case on appeal before the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court for which he was the prosecuting attorney, provided that the Attorney General consented to such appearance pursuant to § 2.2-511.

He shall also represent the Commonwealth in an appeal of a civil matter related to the enforcement of a criminal law or a criminal case for which he was the prosecuting attorney, including a petition for expungement of a defendant's criminal record, an action of forfeiture filed in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 22.1 (§ 19.2-386.1 et seq.) of Title 19.2, or any matter which he may enforce pursuant to this section.

1977, c. 584, § 15.1-8.1; 1978, c. 141; 1988, c. 389; 1997, c. 587; 2011, c. 210; 2017, c. 623, 2020, cc. 1285, 1286; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 489, 550, 551.

§ 15.2-1627.1. Salaries of attorneys for the Commonwealth and assistants.

A. The annual salaries of attorneys for the Commonwealth shall be as prescribed in the general appropriation act, except as otherwise provided in § 15.2-1636.12.

In cities and counties having a population of more than 35,000 inhabitants, the Compensation Board, in determining the salary for the assistants to the attorney for the Commonwealth, shall consider the provisions of §§ 15.2-1628 and 15.2-1630 requiring that such attorneys serve on a full-time basis, and shall also consider the amount of the salaries paid to the assistants to the city or county attorney of such city or county.

These same factors shall also be considered in determining the salary for assistants to the attorney for the Commonwealth in cities having a population of more than 17,000 inhabitants, and less than 35,000 inhabitants when the council for such city and the Compensation Board shall concur that the attorney for the Commonwealth and all assistant attorneys for the Commonwealth shall devote full time to their duties, and shall not engage in the private practice of law.

Any city served by a full-time attorney for the Commonwealth on January 1, 1993, under the provisions hereof shall continue to be served by a full-time attorney for the Commonwealth in the event the population of such city shall have fallen below the 17,000 population threshold in the most recent U.S. census and shall be administered in the same manner as cities with populations in excess of 17,000 but of 35,000 or less. In such jurisdictions, the attorney for the Commonwealth and his assistant attorneys and their successors in office shall be subject to the requirements regarding full-time service and part-time private practice as in effect for such positions on January 1, 1993. No further action by the council of the city or the Compensation Board shall be necessary.

B. Each assistant attorney for the Commonwealth authorized by law, if his services shall be deemed necessary by the Compensation Board, shall receive an annual salary which shall not exceed ninety percent of the salary received by the attorney for the Commonwealth of his county or city. However, after January 1, 1980, in cities having a population of more than 35,000 inhabitants, the Compensation Board shall not provide any compensation for any assistant attorney for the Commonwealth when the attorney for the Commonwealth for any such city does not serve on a full-time basis or engages in the practice of law outside of his duties as attorney for the Commonwealth.

Code 1950, § 14-66; 1950, p. 637; 1952, c. 566; 1954, cc. 648, 662; 1956, c. 630; 1964, c. 386, § 14.1-53; 1966, c. 279; 1970, c. 551; 1972, c. 215; 1973, c. 126; 1974, c. 429; 1976, c. 689; 1977, c. 623; 1980, c. 588; 1981, c. 415; 1983, c. 600; 1989, c. 293; 1993, cc. 446, 620; 1998, c. 872.

§ 15.2-1627.2. Disposition of fees of attorneys for the Commonwealth.

Every such attorney for the Commonwealth shall, however, continue to collect all fees which he may be entitled to receive by law, other than from the Commonwealth and any political subdivision, and shall dispose of the same as in this section provided. One-half of all fees to which attorneys for the Commonwealth are entitled for the performance of official duties or functions, shall be paid by them or such official as may collect the same, not later than the tenth day of the month following their receipt, into the treasuries of their respective counties and cities, and the remaining one-half of all such fees shall be paid by such official as may collect the same into the state treasury, not later than the tenth day of the month following their receipt.

Code 1950, § 14-67; 1964, c. 386, § 14.1-54; 1998, c. 872.

§ 15.2-1627.3. Attorneys for the Commonwealth and city attorneys; in criminal cases; when no costs or fees taxed.

The fees of attorneys for the Commonwealth in all felony and misdemeanor cases in which there is a conviction and sentence not set aside on appeal or a judgment for costs against the prosecutor, and for expenditures made in the discharge of his duties shall be as follows:

For each trial of a single count felony indictment, $40.

For each trial of a multiple count felony indictment, $40 per count.

For each person tried for a misdemeanor in his circuit court, $15, and for each person prosecuted by him before such court of his county or city for a misdemeanor, which he is required by law to prosecute, or upon an indictment found by a grand jury, $15, and in every misdemeanor case so prosecuted the court or judge shall tax in the costs and enter judgment for such misdemeanor fee.

No attorney for the Commonwealth or city attorney shall receive a fee for appearing in misdemeanor cases before a district court notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary.

No costs or fees shall be taxed for, or in any way allowed to, an attorney for the Commonwealth of any city or county or a city attorney of any city in any case, unless he in person, or by a duly authorized assistant, actually appears and prosecutes the proceedings before the court.

Code 1950, §§ 14-99, 14-130; 1964, c. 386, §§ 14.1-88, 14.1-121; 1975, c. 591; 1983, c. 229; 1998, c. 872; 1999, c. 9; 2010, c. 874; 2011, c. 890.

§ 15.2-1627.4. Coordination of multidisciplinary response to sexual assault.

A. The attorney for the Commonwealth in each political subdivision in the Commonwealth shall coordinate the establishment of a multidisciplinary response to criminal sexual assault as set forth in Article 7 (§ 18.2-61 et seq.) of Chapter 4 of Title 18.2, and hold a meeting, at least annually, to (i) discuss implementation of protocols and policies for sexual assault response teams consistent with those established by the Department of Criminal Justice Services pursuant to subdivision 37 d of § 9.1-102 and (ii) establish and review guidelines for the community's response, including the collection, preservation, and secure storage of evidence from Physical Evidence Recovery Kit examinations consistent with § 19.2-165.1.

B. The following persons or their designees shall be invited to participate in the annual meeting: the attorney for the Commonwealth; the sheriff; the director of the local sexual assault crisis center providing services in the jurisdiction, if any; the chief of each police department and the chief of each campus police department of any institution of higher education in the jurisdiction, if any; a forensic nurse examiner or other health care provider who performs Physical Evidence Recovery Kit examinations in the jurisdiction, if any; the Title IX coordinator of any institution of higher education in the jurisdiction, if any; representatives from the offices of student affairs, human resources, and counseling services of any institution of higher education in the jurisdiction, if any; a representative of campus security of any institution of higher education in the jurisdiction that has not established a campus police department, if any; and the director of the victim/witness program in the jurisdiction, if any. In addition, the attorney for the Commonwealth shall invite other individuals, or their designees, to participate in the annual meeting, including (i) local health department district directors; (ii) the administrator of each licensed hospital within the jurisdiction; (iii) the director of each health safety net clinic within the jurisdiction, including those clinics created by 42 C.F.R. § 491.1 and the free and charitable clinics; and (iv) as determined by the attorney for the Commonwealth, any other local health care providers.

C. Attorneys for the Commonwealth are authorized to conduct the sexual assault response team annual meetings using other methods to encourage attendance, including electronic communication means as provided in § 2.2-3708.2.

2009, c. 817; 2012, cc. 343, 625; 2016, cc. 235, 550; 2020, cc. 1072, 1073.

§ 15.2-1627.5. Coordination of multidisciplinary response to child sexual abuse and the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of adults.

A. The attorney for the Commonwealth in each jurisdiction in the Commonwealth shall establish a multidisciplinary child sexual abuse response team, which may be an existing multidisciplinary team. The multidisciplinary team shall conduct regular reviews of new and ongoing reports of felony sex offenses in the jurisdiction involving a child and the investigations thereof and, at the request of any member of the team, may conduct reviews of any other reports of child abuse and neglect or sex offenses in the jurisdiction involving a child and the investigations thereof. The multidisciplinary team shall meet frequently enough to ensure that no new or ongoing reports go more than 60 days without being reviewed by the team.

B. The following individuals, or their designees, shall participate in review meetings of the multidisciplinary team established pursuant to subsection A: the attorney for the Commonwealth; law-enforcement officials responsible for the investigation of sex offenses involving a child in the jurisdiction; a representative of the local child protective services unit; a representative of a child advocacy center serving the jurisdiction, if one exists; and a representative of an Internet Crimes Against Children task force affiliate agency serving the jurisdiction, if one exists. In addition, the attorney for the Commonwealth may invite other individuals, or their designees, including the school superintendent of the jurisdiction; a representative of any sexual assault crisis center serving the jurisdiction, if one exists; the director of the victim/witness program serving the jurisdiction, if one exists; and a health professional knowledgeable in the treatment and provision of services to children who have been sexually abused.

C. The attorney for the Commonwealth in each jurisdiction may also establish a multidisciplinary adult abuse, neglect, and exploitation response team to review cases of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of adults as defined in § 63.2-1603. The multidisciplinary team may be established separately or in conjunction with any already existing multidisciplinary team.

2014, cc. 780, 801; 2019, cc. 170, 775.

§ 15.2-1628. Attorneys for the Commonwealth and assistants in certain counties to devote full time to duties; no additional compensation for substituting for or assisting any other attorney for the Commonwealth or assistant.

A. In counties having a population of more than 35,000, attorneys for the Commonwealth and all assistant attorneys for the Commonwealth, except volunteer assistant attorneys for the Commonwealth appointed by the attorney for the Commonwealth, shall devote full time to their duties, and shall not engage in the private practice of law.

Any attorney for the Commonwealth or assistant attorney for the Commonwealth shall, however, have a reasonable time, not to exceed thirty days, after assuming such office to provide for his disassociation from the private practice of law, if such attorney for the Commonwealth or assistant attorney for the Commonwealth was previously engaged in the private practice of law.

B. The provisions of this section requiring all compensated attorneys for the Commonwealth to devote full time to their duties shall not apply in counties reaching a population of more than 35,000, which had a population of 35,000 or less immediately prior to the commencement of the term for which the attorney for the Commonwealth sought office.

C. Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, no attorney for the Commonwealth or assistant required to devote full time to his duties shall receive any additional compensation from the Commonwealth or any county or city for substituting for or assisting any other attorney for the Commonwealth or his assistant in any criminal prosecution or investigation.

D. In any county where, on January 1, 1993, attorneys for the Commonwealth were required to devote full time to their duties in accordance with subsection A of this section, they and all assistant attorneys for the Commonwealth and their successors shall continue to devote full time to their duties and shall not engage in the private practice of law.

1977, c. 623, § 15.1-50.1; 1981, c. 296; 1982, c. 474; 1983, c. 361; 1991, c. 270; 1993, c. 858; 1994, cc. 780, 792; 1997, c. 587; 2000, c. 913.

§ 15.2-1629. Part-time attorneys for the Commonwealth in certain counties may seek full-time status.

A. Notwithstanding §§ 15.2-1627.1 and 15.2-1628, any attorney for the Commonwealth for a county may, with the consent of the Compensation Board, elect to devote full time to the duties of attorney for the Commonwealth at a salary equal to that for an attorney for the Commonwealth in a county with a population of more than 35,000. Such an election and consent by the Compensation Board shall be binding on the attorney for the Commonwealth and on successors in the office.

B. The Compensation Board shall prepare a list of localities eligible to have a full-time attorney for the Commonwealth and shall prioritize the list according to the same workload measures used by the Compensation Board in staffing standards established for assistant attorney for the Commonwealth positions in Commonwealth's Attorneys' offices statewide.

C. Upon electing to become a full-time attorney for the Commonwealth and upon receiving additional funding of such office by the Compensation Board, the attorney for the Commonwealth shall not thereafter engage in the private practice of law. No such election shall become effective until the July 1 immediately following the date of election, or until another date as agreed upon by the attorney for the Commonwealth and the Compensation Board.

D. The Compensation Board shall fund such additional full-time offices of the attorney for the Commonwealth according to the priority list established in subsection B of this section, subject to appropriations by the General Assembly.

1993, c. 826, § 15.1-50.3; 1996, c. 561; 1997, c. 587; 2007, c. 417.

§ 15.2-1630. Attorneys for the Commonwealth for cities; no additional compensation for substituting for or assisting any other attorney for the Commonwealth or assistant.

The voters in every city shall elect, for a term of four years, an attorney for the Commonwealth. Any city not required to have or to elect such officer prior to July 1, 1971, shall not be so required by this section. Assistant attorneys for the Commonwealth for cities may be appointed by the attorney for the Commonwealth for such city. Such assistants shall receive such compensation as shall be fixed in the manner provided by law. However, volunteer assistant attorneys for the Commonwealth serving without compensation may be appointed by the attorney for the Commonwealth without approval of the governing body or the Compensation Board. All assistant attorneys for the Commonwealth shall perform such duties as are prescribed by their respective attorney for the Commonwealth. In cities having a population of more than 35,000, attorneys for the Commonwealth and all assistant attorneys for the Commonwealth, except volunteer assistants serving without compensation, shall devote full time to their duties, and shall not engage in the private practice of law; however, this provision shall not apply in cities reaching a population of more than 35,000, which had a population of 35,000 or less immediately prior to the commencement of the term for which the attorney for the Commonwealth sought office. In cities having a population of more than 17,000 and less than 35,000, attorneys for the Commonwealth and all assistant attorneys for the Commonwealth, except volunteer assistants serving without compensation, shall devote full time to their duties, and shall not engage in the private practice of law, if the council of the city and the Compensation Board all concur that he shall so serve. The office of assistant attorney for the Commonwealth heretofore created and provided for in the charters of such cities is hereby abolished.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, no attorney for the Commonwealth or assistant required to devote full time to his duties shall receive any additional compensation from the Commonwealth or any city or county for substituting for or assisting any other attorney for the Commonwealth or his assistant in any criminal prosecution or investigation.

Any attorney for the Commonwealth who is serving full time when the population for his city declines to 35,000 or less, according to a new United States census, may elect to continue serving on a full-time basis for the remainder of his current term and any subsequent successive terms. So long as he continues to serve on a full-time basis, he shall be compensated for full-time service on the same basis as an attorney for the Commonwealth in a city having a population of 35,001.

Any city served by a full-time attorney for the Commonwealth on January 1, 1993, under the provisions hereof shall continue to be served by a full-time attorney for the Commonwealth in the event the population of such city shall have fallen below the 17,000 population threshold in the most recent U.S. census and shall be administered in the same manner as cities with populations in excess of 17,000 but of 35,000 or less. In such jurisdictions, the attorney for the Commonwealth and his assistant attorneys and their successors in office shall be subject to the requirements regarding full-time service and part-time private practice as in effect for such positions on January 1, 1993. No further action by the council of the city or the Compensation Board shall be necessary.

Code 1950, § 15-414; 1956, c. 590; 1962, cc. 523, 623, § 15.1-821; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 159; 1974, c. 470; 1977, c. 623; 1981, c. 296; 1983, c. 361; 1986, c. 497; 1991, c. 270; 1993, cc. 446, 620; 1994, cc. 780, 792; 1997, c. 587; 2000, c. 913.

§ 15.2-1631. Part-time attorneys for the Commonwealth in certain cities may seek full-time status.

A. Notwithstanding §§ 15.2-1627.1 and 15.2-1630, any attorney for the Commonwealth for a city may, with the consent of the Compensation Board, elect to devote full time to the duties of attorney for the Commonwealth at a salary equal to that for an attorney for the Commonwealth in a city with a population of more than 35,000. Such an election and consent by the Compensation Board shall be binding on the attorney for the Commonwealth and on successors in the office.

B. The Compensation Board shall prepare a list of localities eligible to have a full-time attorney for the Commonwealth and shall prioritize the list according to the same workload measures used by the Compensation Board in staffing standards established for assistant attorney for the Commonwealth positions in Commonwealth's Attorneys' offices statewide.

C. Upon electing to become a full-time attorney for the Commonwealth and upon receiving additional funding of such office by the Compensation Board, the attorney for the Commonwealth shall not thereafter engage in the private practice of law. No such election shall become effective until the July 1 immediately following the date of election, or until another date as agreed upon by the attorney for the Commonwealth and the Compensation Board.

D. The Compensation Board shall fund such additional full-time offices of the attorney for the Commonwealth according to the priority list established in subsection B of this section, subject to appropriations by the General Assembly.

1993, c. 826, § 15.1-821.1; 1996, c. 561; 1997, c. 587; 2007, c. 417.

§ 15.2-1632. Employment of assistants to attorneys for the Commonwealth, subject to approval of Compensation Board.

Every county and city may, with the approval of the Compensation Board, provide for employing such additional compensated assistant or assistants to the attorney for the Commonwealth as in the opinion of the governing body may be required. Such assistant or assistants shall be appointed by the attorney for the Commonwealth. The compensation for such assistants to the attorneys for the Commonwealth shall be as provided for assistants to attorneys for the Commonwealth under § 15.2-1627.1.

Code 1950, §§ 15-9.1, 15-9.2; 1956, cc. 245, 669; 1960, c. 53; 1962, cc. 189, 487, 623, § 15.1-9; 1964, c. 313; 1964, Ex. Sess., c. 3; 1994, cc. 780, 792; 1997, c. 587; 2000, c. 913.

§ 15.2-1633. Part-time compensated assistants to attorneys for the Commonwealth.

Notwithstanding any contrary provisions of §§ 15.2-1627.1, 15.2-1628 and 15.2-1630, the Compensation Board at the request of the attorney for the Commonwealth may provide for one compensated part-time assistant to a full-time attorney for the Commonwealth.

1983, c. 476, § 15.1-50.2; 1994, cc. 780, 792; 1997, c. 587; 2000, c. 913.