Covid 19 Orders from around the Commonwealth can be viewed here: http://www.courts.state.va.us/news/items/covid_19.pdf
Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office Announcement
Updated VB Courthouse information for Monday, May 18
Starting Monday, May 18, the Virginia Beach General District and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District courts are resuming some hearings pursuant to their respective court orders. However, the Virginia Beach Courthouse remains closed to general public access through June 7 and only those on official business as outlined in the Judicial Emergency orders are permitted inside the building.
All persons entering the building are required to comply with health and security screenings.
In addition, we have implemented the following health and safety procedures for the Courthouse:
• A new traffic flow for ingress and egress, which is marked by signs, cones and fencing.
• Limiting the number of people allowed in the security checkpoint area at one time (to ensure social distancing).
• Mask wearing is strongly encouraged.
Please be sure to give yourself additional time to comply with the health and security screenings when entering the building. Expect delays and plan accordingly.
The court orders and mandatory health screening questions are posted on our website: https://www.vbso.net/coronavirus.
5/15/20: We have posted the updated information about Virginia Beach Courthouse operations on our website and social media. Nothing is changing for Circuit Court, but General District and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court will be having additional hearings as outlined in their respective orders, which are posted on our website along with the updated health and security screening information: https://www.vbso.net/coronavirus.
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
5/15/20: Please visit the Courts website to view General Orders 2020-14 and 2020-15.
1) In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to supplement steps previously taken by this Court to reduce the possibility of exposure to COVID-19 and to slow the spread of the disease, the Court finds it necessary and appropriate to adopt a face covering and social distancing policy for all Courthouse employees, contractors, and visitors. Please see General Order 2020-14 In re: FACE COVERINGS AND SOCIAL DISTANCING IN COURTHOUSES ACROSS THE DISTRICT
2) In response to recent developments, to include the Courts increased capabilities to conduct remote proceedings and thereby reduce the risk that all Courthouses in the District would be rendered unusable at the same time, the Court has determined that it is no longer necessary for the U.S. Courthouse in Newport News to serve as the Emergency Judicial Center for the District, as was previously directed by General Order No. 2020-10. As such, beginning on May 26, 2020, the U.S. Courthouse in Newport News will be reopened to the public and to all employees, subject to the same restrictions on proceedings and visitors as all other Courthouses in the District. Please see General Order 2020-15 In re: CESSATION OF THE U.S. COURTHOUSE IN NEWPORT NEWS AS THE DISTRICTS EMERGENCY JUDICIAL CENTER
Clerk of Court
4/13/20: All civil and criminal in-person proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, including court appearances, trials, hearings, and settlement conferences, scheduled to occur through June 10, 2020, with the exception of critical or emergency proceedings, are POSTPONED, subject to the conditions set forth in this General Order. The instant General Order does not postpone any remote proceedings scheduled by a presiding judge in any civil or criminal case.
Please visit the Courts website to view General Order 2020-12, In re: UPDATES TO THE MODIFICATIONS OF COURT OPERATIONS AND EXTENSION OF THE POSTPONEMENT OF IN-PERSON PROCEEDINGS
Click below for General Order No 2020-9 entered by Chief Judge Davis. The General Order outlines procedures to utilize video conferencing, or teleconferencing, if video conferencing is not reasonably available.
Supreme Court of Virginia
Click below for the Judicial Emergency Extending Order Entered May 6, 2020
Click below for the Judicial Emergency Modifying and Extending Order Entered April 6, 2020
Click below for Third Order Extending Declaration of Judicial Emergency in response to COVID-19 Emergency
Second Order Extending Declaration of Judicial Emergency in response to COVID-19 Emergency
Virginia Supreme Court issues an Order declaring a Judicial Emergency
Court of Appeals of Virginia
Virginia Beach Circuit Court
Click below for Order entered May 15, 2020
Circuit Court Clerk’s Office Opens Satellite Office to Provide Some Services:
Drive-Through Service Only
The Circuit Court Clerk’s Office has opened a satellite office at 1804 Princess Anne Road to be able to provide some services it had to curtail when the Courthouse building closed to the general public a few weeks ago. “We are pleased we can begin offering these services again,” said the Honorable Tina E. Sinnen, Clerk of the Virginia Beach Circuit Court. This office is open 9 AM to 1 PM, Monday thru Friday, drive-through service only, and only for the following:
First-time Concealed Carry Permits – applicants must bring a current application, a government-issued picture ID, proof of competency and $50 fee (cash or check). First time applicants must appear in person. For further information about the requirements, visit the Virginia State Police website at https://www.vsp.virginia.gov/Firearms.shtm or call Nancy White at (757) 385-8532.
Marriage Licenses—both parties must be present, have government-issued photo identification and have completed the marriage license application. It is available online at www.vbgov.com/marriage and at the satellite office. The license fee is $30 in cash (please have exact cash, if possible).
Notary Items for Pick-up – For those who receive notice that your Notary is available to be picked up at the Clerk’s Office, pick these up at this satellite location.
3/30/20: The Probate department of the Virginia Beach Clerk’s Office will not be taking appointments until after May 4, 2020, due to Judicial Emergency Declaration of the Supreme Court of Virginia. The afore date is subject to change with this fluid situation.
3/25/20 Bond Appeal Cutoffs: Per Court directive, it is hereby ADJUDGED and ORDERED that 11:00 is the cut off time for scheduling bond appeals. Any requests after 11:00 shall be placed on next day docket.
3/23/20 COVID-19 Changes for the Virginia Beach Circuit Court Clerk’s Office: The drop boxes for criminal filings, civil filings, and land record recordings will still be on the steps in front of Building 10B, but they will be there from 8:15 am until 2:00 pm, Monday through Friday, as we continue to work with a limited staff. We will continue to serve the public the best way we can, and our phone numbers still remain on the website. I truly appreciate everyone being patient through this very unprecedented and complex time.
The Honorable Tina E. Sinnen, Clerk of Court
Virginia Beach General District Court
5/21/20: The Court’s order entered May 14, 2020, regarding the court’s operations through June 5, 2020, is hereby amended as follows:
All attorneys appearing in the courtrooms of the Virginia Beach General District Court shall wear face coverings or masks over their nose and mouth except when that may inhibit the ability to communicate with the court or as otherwise directed by a judge. All other persons entering the courtrooms of the Virginia Beach General District Court are strongly encouraged to wear such masks or coverings.
5/21/20: Use of General District Court Fax machines – From: Chief Judge Lahne
The Virginia Beach General District Court is being inundated with duplicative documents being filed via fax and mail. This is causing an overload of work for our clerks. Therefore, effective July 1, 2020, the General District Court fax machines should only be used for sending requests for continuances and other emergency filings. Routine correspondence, pleadings and other documents are to be mailed or hand delivered. Any faxed materials that are received that do not comply with this directive will not be accepted for filing.
5/15/20: Click below for the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office Letter regarding cases in Virginia Beach General District Court
5/14/20: Click below for the amended continued operations order for May 18 through June 5, 2020.
5/12/20: Click below for the continued operations order for May 18 through June 5, 2020.
5/4/20: From Chief Judge Lahne:
[BASED ON THERE HAVING BEEN SOME CONFUSION, THE COURT WANTED TO REAFFIRM ITS POSITION ON THIS ISSUE]:
The court will take up motions for a “speedy trial” and entry of guilty pleas at 8:00 and 9:00 a.m., and at 2:00 p.m., in Traffic D. The parties must file a written motion to have the matter put on the docket and this must be done with sufficient notice to enable the jail to make the defendant available. As is always the case, whether the judge will accept the plea and sentence in accordance with any recommendation will be up to the judge sitting that day.
Further, depending on the status of the victim and nature of the crimes charged, the court may decline to accept the plea. In that regard, I am thinking of property crimes in which restitution may be at issue and crimes of violence in which the effect on the victim has to be considered. If counsel has been able to make contact with the victim or charging officer it may be possible to go forward based upon representations from counsel. For example, in shoplifting cases it is often the case that victim is satisfied with time served and restitution. In trespass cases, often time served and a ban from the property is all that is desired…..[T]he phrase “speedy trial” [is being used] as a shorthand to mean a motion to advance a matter on the docket… and accept a guilty plea for those in custody.
By way of further amplification, we will also accept such motions to reduce felonies to misdemeanors for defendants in custody.
4/24/20: The Supreme Court of Virginia has recently clarified to the lower courts that during the judicial emergency the courts should not accept new garnishment filings regardless of the return date. Therefore, the Virginia Beach General District Court will no longer accept these filings during the judicial emergency and any such filings that have been received and not already processed will be returned to the creditor. Hon. Daniel R. Lahne, Chief Judge
4/22/20: In light of the Supreme Court’s order issued today extending the judicial emergency through May 17, 2020, the below order has been issued relating to the General District Court’s operations through that date.
4/17/20: From: Chief Judge Lahne, Virginia Beach General District Court
All attorney issued subpoenas must include the Court’s docket number(s). Further, any requests by attorneys to have the clerk issue a subpoena must also include the docket number(s).
4/13/20: Continuance dates for criminal matters, including DUIs
Given the current COVID-19 crisis, the likelihood that the current judicial emergency will extend into mid-May at the earliest, the Governor’s state of emergency order which runs to June 10th, and the docketing demands on the Court, the Judges of the Virginia Beach General District Court have directed the Commonwealth’s Attorney to coordinate continuance dates with defendants such that the new dates will occur in the second half of June, 2020, or later. The Court has been proactively reviewing the bond status of misdemeanor defendants to determine which defendants might be eligible for bond modifications that would allow a release from custody pending trial. The Court will also entertain, on a case by case basis, motions for a speedy trial if the defendant desires to plead guilty to charges which are holding them in custody. The Court also encourages defendants who are pending a preliminary hearing on felony charges to work with the Commonwealth Attorney’s office to determine if a bond modification might be appropriate to allow the defendant to be released from custody pending further proceedings. Hon. Daniel R. Lahne, Chief Judge
4/9/20: Until the current judicial emergency has ended, bond hearings will be limited to 10 on the 8:00 a.m. felony docket and 10 on the 9:00 a.m. misdemeanor docket. Once those limitations are met, further requests for bond hearings will be scheduled for the next court day. Hon. Daniel R. Lahne, Chief Judge
4/6/20: From this point forward motions for bond hearings must be received by 2:30 p.m. in order for them to be heard the next morning. If they are not received by that time, they will be put on the docket for the day after next. Thank you. Hon. Daniel R. Lahne, Chief Judge
3/31/20: Below is the Court’s order for the continued operation of the court during the current judicial emergency.
The Court requests that creditors file a copy of the abstract of judgment, if available, with the filing of a suggestion for garnishment summons. This will allow our clerks to more quickly process garnishments.
3/24/20 Amended Closure Order: The Court’s Closure Order has been amended to clarify that garnishment exemptions and joint account summons may be filed during the closure and those matters will be heard at 2:00 p.m. in Traffic Courtroom D. The Clerk of the Court will be contacting the parties to obtain available dates for any such motions that are filed. Hon. Daniel R. Lahne, Chief Judge
Virginia Beach Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court
Click below for the Order entered May 15, 2020
Parenting Seminar Requirement
Please be advised that during the Judicial Emergency, parties may satisfy the parenting seminar requirement by attending an approved webinar listed on the Supreme Court’s website. The link is located on the Virginia Supreme Court’s main Parenting Education web page under the “Find A Parent Education Seminar” heading: http://www.vacourts.gov/courtadmin/aoc/djs/programs/parented/home.html.
If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Guilty Plea Form
The below link is for use in the Virginia Beach Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court to use if the attorney for the defendant desires to proceed via video on a guilty plea. The exact form is not necessary. However, the same or similar language is required by the Virginia Beach Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court.
Updated Order Entered April 24, 2020
Updated Order Entered April 3, 2020
While the Virginia Beach Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court is under the Supreme Court of Virginia’s Order Declaring a Judicial Emergency in Response to COVID-19 Emergency and the JDRC Chief Judge’s Emergency Order of March 16, 2020, attorneys may email any documents that need to be filed to email@example.com. We request that you only use this email address for cases to be heard during this emergency time period and any other documents wait to be filed until after the Orders have expired using the normal filing procedures. We sincerely appreciate your patience during this time.
Guidance to all JDR Practitioners and Parties from Clerk of Court, Ms. Amy Burnham
- Counsel may use our email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) while we are under the Judicial Emergency Order. We are trying to respond quickly, but it might take us until the next day to respond. If they do email us, please do not fax the same item. This just causes duplicate work.
- We are processing mail.
- We are processing LOAs.
- We are processing consent/agreed orders; these are encouraged to be sent as soon as endorsed.
- We are still finalizing the continuance plan for custody/visitation and adult criminal cases, but the other cases (with exception to Protective Orders) will be continued to the first available court date after May We have time on these dockets, so court dates shouldn’t be continued too far out.
- It will take us a little longer to process to everything over the next few weeks. If they have any specific concerns, they can contact me (email is best)or any supervisor.
- Thank you all for being patient with us! I really appreciate your flexibility as we figure this all out.
Norfolk General District Court
Click below for the Order entered on May 15, 2020
Updated Judicial Emergency Order signed by Chief Judge Michael C. Rosenblum of the General District Court for the City of Norfolk entered on April 23, 2020.
Updated Order Entered on April 1, 2020
TO: All Members of the Virginia Beach Bar Association
FROM: Hon. Robert G. MacDonald, Chesapeake General District Court
DATE: August 16, 2019
RE: Issuance of subpoenas in automobile accident cases
In automobile accident cases, many attorneys and defendants appear on the first return date merely to set a date for trial, so that the witnesses/victims can be subpoenaed to appear. Concerns have been raised by the Bar, as well as defendants, on our current procedure. In response to the concerns, the Court is modifying the procedure relating to traffic summonses involving an automobile accident.
The following procedure will be effective on January 1, 2020:
When an officer issues a summons at the scene of accident, they will subpoena any necessary witness to appear in court at the same time. The officer will provide the defendant with a copy of DC-217, VIRGINIA PREPAYABLE OFFENSES INFORMATION SHEET (See link below). The DC-217 contains language advising the defendant, “If you were involved in an accident and desire to plead NOT GUILTY and have your case heard on the date set, please notify the court by checking the not guilty box and return this form to the court within 7 calendar days…” For those defendants who notify the court and do not request a continuance, the case can be heard on the original trial date. For those defendants who do not notify and simply appear in court, the case can proceed on the original trial date. Only in those instances where the defendant wishes to plead not guilty and wishes to change the date will the witnesses have to be called off and re-subpoenaed.
If you have any questions, please contact us.
The following candidates submitted applications to the VBBA that were forwarded to the Virginia Beach General Assembly delegation on February 1, 2019 in regard to the Virginia Beach General District Court Vacancy:
- Christopher S. Boynton
- Megan Bradshaw
- John A. Coggeshall
- Wanda Cooper
- Kolleen L. Daniels
- Jonah S. Dickey
- Vonda J. Dunn
- Ryan G. Ferguson
- Eleanor J. Gaines
- Scott F. Hallauer
- Charles D. Hatley
- Vivian F. Henderson
- Michael F. Imprevento
- Aaron F. Kass
- Tariq K. Louka
- Sally J. Moore
- John S. Norris, Jr.
- Stephen P. Pfeiffer
- Sandra L. Sampson
- Gordon C. Ufkes