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Prince William may get a new judge

Today, Jan. 20, the Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed Senate Bill 6 to increase the maximum number of justices on the Thirty-First Judicial Circuit from six to seven. This legislation came at the recommendation of the Judicial Council of Virginia.

The bill, was introduced by Senator Scott Surovell, who represents part of Prince William County. He said, “Right now, there is a dire backlog of cases in Prince William County that is overwhelming the court and we need to take action. By adding an additional judge to the court, we can help clear the docket and ensure justice is served fairly and efficiently for the diverse and growing population of Prince William County.”

On October 19th, Prince William County’s six circuit court judges, Commonwealth’s Attorney Amy Ashworth, Clerk of Court Jacqueline Smith, and Chief Public Defender Tracey Lenox sent a 113-page request to the Virginia General Assembly’s House and Senate judiciary committees requesting the addition of a seventh judge.

In the letter, Chief Circuit Court Judge Kimberly Irving wrote “The Court is handling more cases, spending longer hours on the bench and even sending cases away on their scheduled court dates because six judges are not enough, working all day, to hear the scheduled cases”. She added “Our current crisis has been building since 2015, and it will only continue to get worse as the population increases and caseloads continue to grow”.
SB 6 now goes to the Senate Finance Committee.

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