Virginia Federal Courts

Find out the answer to many questions like what you need to know about Virginia Federal Court? In this article, Virginia has a state supreme court, a federal district court and several circuit courts. The decisions made by these different courts can be appealed.

Federal courts hear cases that involve federal law, such as cases with diversity jurisdiction or those involving patents or copyright claims. The attorneys at Scrofano Law have years of experience defending clients in Virginia’s state and federal court system.

What is the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals?

The Richmond-based Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals handles cases that are appealed from the Eastern and Western District courts. Judges on the Fourth Circuit are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate, just like state judges. Judges on the district court level and above have lifetime appointments.

There are fifteen judicial positions for the Fourth Circuit. Currently, there are four active judges and five vacancies. Judges on the circuit court are assigned to panels of three judges that are constituted by computer. Judges on the court may also ask retired United States Supreme Court Justices or District Court judges from within its jurisdiction to sit on panels to manage a heavy docket.

All visitors must pass through security before entering the courthouse and annex building. Guests are subject to searches and are not permitted to bring electronic devices into the facility. You must check in at the front desk and show proper identification when entering.

What is the Eastern District Court of Virginia?

The Eastern District Court of Virginia covers 43 of the state’s 95 counties. It is one of two federal district courts in the state and has been referred to as “the Rocket Docket.” In this court, motions must be filed by Friday, any opposition by Wednesday, and arguments are heard and decisions made quickly.

Whether you have been charged with a civil or criminal case, working with an attorney familiar with the district courts and the fourth circuit court of appeals is critical to your success. The attorneys at Scrofano Law have years of experience working with these judges and prosecutors.

Judge Henry Hudson discusses the rich history of this unique district court with John O. Peters, author of From Marshall to Moussaoui: A History of the Eastern District Court of Virginia. This event is part of the Courtroom Lecture Series presented by the Virginia Museum of History & Culture. Admission is free. Seating is limited.

What is the Western District Court of Virginia?

Virginia is home to two federal district courts, a state supreme court, and a state court of appeals. Each of these has its own jurisdiction and handles different types of cases.

Unlike state courts, which are limited by the jurisdictional boundaries they operate within, federal districts have the ability to draw their jury pools from a wider swath of the population. This can make a difference in criminal cases, where it is important to have as many potential jurors as possible.

Decisions from the Eastern and Western Districts can be appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond. This court consists of 11 judges who are nominated by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

The Western District Court has several divisions throughout the state, including Abingdon, Big Stone Gap, Danville, Harrisonburg, Roanoke and Lynchburg. In 2007, this court dealt with more than 540,000 civil and criminal cases. It also hears appeals of decisions from J & DR courts, circuit court cases involving domestic relations issues and administrative agencies like the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission.

What is the Supreme Court of Virginia?

The Supreme Court of Virginia reviews rulings from lower Virginia courts. It also has original jurisdiction in extraordinary writ proceedings such as habeas corpus, mandamus, quo warranto and prohibition.

Its justices are elected by peers for 12-year terms. The Court consists of five active Justices and five senior Justices who assist with reviewing writs.

The Court has a staff that includes a Chief Staff Attorney, who assists the Justices in reviewing petitions for appeal and cases in their respective appellate districts, and the Office of the Executive Secretary which provides administrative assistance to judges and magistrates through its eleven departments.

In addition, the Supreme Court has a Magistrate System Coordinator who oversees the administration of the statewide magistrate system. It also has eight regional supervisors and a Magistrate System Advisor who provide supervision, training and legal advice to the magistrates. They are responsible for the management of a statewide system that consists of 94 districts with courthouse locations in Abingdon, Big State Gap, Charlottesville, Danville, Harrisonburg, Lynchburg and Roanoke.