Circuit Court Local Procedures - Criminal
A. CONTACT INFORMATION
(updated 10/14/22) The Courthouse is located at 520 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. The courthouse is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Cell phones and electronic devices are prohibited inside the Alexandria Courthouse (see "Cell Phone/Electronic Devices Policy" below). A limited number of cell phone lockers are available inside the vestibule of the courthouse and cost a quarter ($.25).
- CIRCUIT COURT CLERK'S OFFICE Room 307 703.746.4044 Website https://www.alexandriava.gov/ClerkOfCircuitCourt
- CIRCUIT COURT IT 703.746.4310 Training is mandatory to use the Electronic Evidence Presentation podium/software and the Court's Technology cart. The training cannot be taken the same as the trial/hearing. Refer to Civil local procedures "Technology in the Courtroom" section for available equipment, how to make a reservation, training, etc.
- CIRCUIT COURT JUDGES' CHAMBERS 4th floor 703.746.4123 Telephone hours: 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. / 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (telephones are not answered during the lunch hour).
- COMMONWEALTH'S ATTORNEY Room 301 703.746.4100
1. CALENDAR (updated 10/7/22) - The Court's calendar is issued by Judges' Chambers annually, and is updated as needed. See "Calendar" section below.
2023 calendar was posted on 10/7/2022.
2022 calendar was revised on 7/1/2022.
2. THE COVID-19 JUDICIAL EMERGENCY ENDED ON 6/22/22 and the Court has returned to pre-COVID procedures.
A. SIGNATURES MUST BE ORIGINAL (not electronic) - Documents must be signed with an original signature. Electronic signatures are no longer acceptable. Orders with electronic signatures will not be entered.
1. AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA)
See Civil Local Procedures at www.alexandriava.gov/CircuitCourt
2. BOND MOTIONS AND BOND RECONSIDERATIONS
A. BOND MOTIONS
At all bond motion and reconsideration hearings, Defense counsel shall bring a proposed order with blank lines to be completed and entered by the judge if the bond motion is granted. If the bond motion is denied, the Clerk of Court will prepare the order.
(1) Commonwealth Day Docket at 10:00 a.m. (including Revised CW Day Docket)
- It is preferable for bond motions to be heard on a Commonwealth Day (“CW Day”) docket (including First Thursday, Regular CW Day docket, or Revised CW Day Docket). A judge’s permission is not required prior to scheduling a bond motion on the Revised CW Day Docket.
- Docketing deadline: See “Deadlines for Filing/Docketing on CW Day Docket” and "Courtesy copies" sections.
(2) Non-Commonwealth Day at 9:00 a.m.
- For good cause only and if a Judge grants permission; and if a 9:00 a.m. criminal docket with a court reporter is already scheduled.
- Before calling Judges’ Chambers (703.746.4123) for permission to docket the bond motion, counsel shall coordinate with opposing counsel or Commonwealth’s Attorney and confirm availability to attend the bond hearing.
- Docketing deadline is 1:00 p.m. on the preceding day. See “Courtesy copies” section for instructions.
B. BOND RECONSIDERATIONS
- A judge’s permission is required to docket the reconsideration motion.
- To request permission to docket a motion for reconsideration, counsel shall prepare a letter to the Judge stating any new information that should be brought to the Judge's attention that supports reconsideration. File the letter in the Clerk’s office and deliver a courtesy copy to Judges’ Chambers.
- Judges’ Chambers shall notify counsel to advise if permission to docket was granted, and, if granted, the motion shall be docketed on a CW Day.
A. ANNUAL COURT CALENDAR (by year)
The Court calendar (prepared by Judges' Chambers) is a one-page document. The calendar for the following calendar year is posted in October, and is updated as necessary.
Posted at www.alexandriava.gov/CircuitCourt (see "Calendars" section).
- General - Holidays, early Court closures, Cell Phone and Electronic Equipment policy, Inclement Weather and Emergency Closure policy
- Civil dockets - Civil Motions Day, Status Conferences, Set Dates for GDC and JDR appeals, Term Day
- Criminal dockets - Commonwealth Day (both First Thursday and Regular CW Days), Grand Jury, and Traffic and Misdemeanor Appeals Docket ("TMAD").
B. CRIMINAL - LIST OF AVAILABLE CRIMINAL TRIAL SLOTS
- List of Available Criminal Trial Slots
updated/posted 11/18/2022 at 1:00 p.m. (Next update: after 11/17/2022 Commonwealth Day)
- Instructions (updated 8/17/2022)
- The list is updated weekly, and the posted list is effective for the next seven (7) days.
- Call Judges’ Chambers (703.746.4123) if you have any questions or need additional trial slots.
- Double-booking of trial dates is not allowed.
- "Holds" - To hold a date in the Court's red docket book (hopefully to avoid double-booking of trial dates), counsel may email the court administrators at Lori.Knoernschild@alexandriava.gov; Lucy.Scalsky@alexandriava.gov; Jennifer.LazoTorres@alexandriava.gov.
- Instructions (updated 8/17/2022)
4. DEADLINES FOR FILING/DOCKETING ON CW DAY DOCKET
To place a case on the CW Day docket, defense counsel shall contact the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office (703.746.4100) prior to the following deadlines. If a holiday occurs in the week prior to the deadline, the deadline is advanced one day for each business day the Court is closed.
A. CW DAY DOCKET, INCLUDING FIRST THURSDAY
- Deadline for docketing is the preceding Friday at 12:00 p.m. After filing the notice and motion, a courtesy copy shall be provided to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office by 12:00 p.m. on the preceding Friday.
B. REVISED CW DAY DOCKET (PREVOIUSLY KNOWN AS "ADDENDUM CW DAY DOCKET")
- Deadline for docketing is Wednesday at 1:00 p.m.
- See “Dockets” section concerning matters that may be added to the Revised CW Day Docket.
C. JURY WAIVER FORM
- In cases appealed from GDC or JDR, if the Defendant intend to waive jury trial, the Jury Waiver form shall be signed in court at least one month prior to the jury trial date.
- See section 10 for Jury Waiver form instructions.
D. MOTIONS - CONSTITUTIONAL/SUBSTANTIVE
- Constitutional or substantive motions shall be scheduled to be heard on a regular CW Day docket (not First Thursday or the Revised CW Day Docket).
- To allow both sides adequate time to prepare, early deadlines have been established as follows:
- Filing and docketing deadline – The Friday 2 weeks prior to the hearing date at 12:00 p.m.
- Response filing deadline – The Friday 1 week prior to the hearing date at 12:00 p.m.
- Courtesy copies shall be delivered to Judges’ Chambers and opposing counsel. See “Courtesy copies” section for instructions.
E. MOTIONS - NON-SUBSTANTIVE (motions in limine to exclude or to allow evidence, motions for discovery, motions to compel, etc.)
- Filing and docketing deadline – The preceding Friday at 12:00 p.m.
- Response filing deadline – The preceding Tuesday at 12:00 p.m.
- Courtesy copies shall be delivered to Judges’ Chambers and opposing counsel. See “Courtesy copies” section for instructions.
F. SHORTER TIME FRAMES TO FILE OR RESPOND TO MOTIONS
- Counsel may agree to a shorter time frame within which to file motions.
- In such instances, a courtesy copy of the motion shall be delivered to Judges’ Chambers.
- If counsel are unable to agree, then, for good cause, counsel may seek leave of Court to file motions prior to the hearing within a shorter time frame than outlined above.
5. COURTESY COPIES
- After filing the original notice, motion, and/or response in the Clerk’s office (Room 307), a courtesy copy is required to be delivered to:
- Judges’ Chambers – 4th floor drop box next to Judges’ Chambers’ door; and
- Opposing counsel or Commonwealth’s Attorney.
- For Commonwealth’s Attorney – To ensure timely docketing of any motion, the Commonwealth’s Attorney requests counsel also (1) email a digital copy of the motion and notice to the attention of (a) the case prosecutor; (b) any deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney; and (c) Eva Acosta at Eva.Acosta@alexandriava.gov.
A. FIRST THURSDAY CW DAY DOCKET - First Thursday of the month at 10:00 a.m.
- One (1) judge docket. Two judges may share the courtroom if a second judge must hear a specific case and that judge is available.
- Matters lasting one hour or less.
- Includes time-sensitive matters, as well as show cause hearings, dispositions by plea, short motions, and other matters if specially set by a judge.
- Time-sensitive matters include bond motions; competency evaluation motions; continuance motions; expert funds motions; furlough motions; jury election/waiver; motions in limine (if it is the last Thursday before the trial date); note counsel; pleas within a week of the scheduled trial; reconsideration motions (if the judge approves docketing the motion, and the defendant can be transported); set-aside verdict motions (if approved in advance by a judge); set-date motions; waiver of speedy trial motions; and withdrawal of counsel motions.
- Docketing deadline – See “Deadlines” section.
- Questions regarding First Thursday may be directed to the Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney at 703.746.4100 or by email to Cathryn.Evans@alexandriava.gov.
B. REGULAR CW DAY DOCKET - All other Thursdays (except First Thursday) at 10:00 a.m.
- Two (2) to three (3) judge docket: If 3 judges are scheduled, the ATC judge will need to conclude his/her docket by 12:30 p.m.
- Matters lasting less than 2 hours. Matters lasting longer than 2 hours shall be scheduled for a date-certain.
- Docketing deadline – See “Deadlines” section.
C. REVISED CW DAY DOCKET (previously known as “Addendum CW Day Docket”) - All Thursdays at 10:00 a.m., including First Thursday.
- The Revised CW Day Docket will be published on Thursday morning.
- Matters not requiring Judge’s permission prior to scheduling on the Revised CW Day Docket include:
- Bond motions
- Set-date motions
- Dispositions by plea
- Uncontested probation violations
- All other matters require Judge's permission prior to scheduling on the Revised CW Day Docket. Follow guidance below.
- If matter requires Court permission to docket, call Judges’ Chambers (703.746.4123). If granted – contact Commonwealth’s Attorney to advise that the Court has granted permission to docket.
- File motion and notice with Clerk of Court (same deadline as docketing deadline).
- Provide courtesy copies to Judges’ Chambers and opposing counsel (see “Courtesy copies” section for instructions).
D. TMAD (TRAFFIC/MISDEMEANOR APPEALS DAY) DOCKET
See “Traffic/Misdemeanor Appeals Day” section.
7. GRAND JURY
A Grand Jury is impaneled on the second Monday of every month at 9:00 a.m., except in May, when the schedule may change due to the Judicial Conference. Specific dates of the Grand Jury are included on the Circuit Court’s Annual Calendar (see "Calendars" section).
8. INCLEMENT WEATHER AND EMERGENCY CLOSURES FOR ALEXANDRIA CIRCUIT COURT
The Circuit Court will be closed when the Alexandria City Government (not the City schools) is closed or when the Alexandria City Government is two (2) or more hours late in opening due to inclement weather or emergency. The Alexandria City Employee Hotline (703.746.4636) is also updated with the information.
9. INTERPRETER SERVICES
10. JURORS NOT NEEDED TO REPORT - CONTACTING JUDGES' CHAMBERS
Counsel shall notify Judges’ Chambers immediately if a case is scheduled for a jury trial and any of the following occur:
- Disposition by plea is scheduled to occur prior to the trial date;
- Counsel agree to remove the jury and proceed with a bench trial (judge's permission required); or
- A continuance is being requested (judge's permission required).
- How to contact Chambers
- 8:30 am to 4:00 pm (Judges’ Chambers’ business hours) - Call Judges’ Chambers at 703.746.4123.
- After hours or on weekends/holidays - Email the court administrators at Lori.Knoernschild@alexandriava.gov; Lucy.Scalsky@alexandriava.gov; Jennifer.LazoTorres@alexandriva.gov; and leave a voicemail for the jury coordinator at 703.746.4347.
11. JURY ELECTION/WAIVER FORM
- Jury Waiver hearings shall be scheduled on any CW Day Docket, including First Thursday and Revised CW Day Docket.
- In cases appealed from GDC or JDR, if Defendant intends to waive jury, unless previously signed at the set-date hearing, the jury waiver form must be signed by the defendant in court at least one month prior to the trial date.
12. SCHEDULING TRIALS
A. TRIAL SCHEDULING - Trial dates are scheduled based on the estimated length of time needed for the trial.
- Trial by Jury is mandatory in all criminal trials unless waived by the defendant, the prosecutor, and the Court. See Prosecution in Alexandria's Courts for additional information.
- If trial dates are available on the List of Available Criminal Trial Slots (see “Calendars” section), criminal felony cases will be set for trial within 60 days of indictment, unless there is good cause for setting the trial at a later date.
- Trial dates that exceed the 60-day rule must be docketed on the set-date docket and both attorneys must appear in court to obtain the Court’s permission to schedule a case more than 60 days from the date of the Grand Jury.
B. GRAND JURY INDICTMENT - After defense counsel receives notice of indictment by the Grand Jury,
- Defense counsel shall immediately contact the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office and case-prosecutor (703.746.4100) to schedule the next court event.
- All matters returned by the Grand Jury will appear on the set-date docket on the following Thursday (seven (7) or eight (8) days after the Grand Jury) unless counsel have agreed on a trial date, date for disposition by plea, or otherwise scheduled the matter.
- Agreed trial dates within 60 days. If counsel have an agreed trial date, and the trial date is within 60-days from the date of indictment, an agreed order may be filed with the Clerk of Court, provided that Chambers staff is notified by email and/or telephone prior to the next CW Day (see “Calendar” section). However, the List of Available Criminal Trial Slots will not be modified or republished prior to the next scheduled update.
C. JURY TRIALS – All jury trials shall be scheduled for a date-certain. Effective 7/5/2022, the Court will schedule criminal jury trials on the following days.
Monday - All Mondays - Maximum of 2 new or carryover jury trials.
Tuesday - TMAD (3rd Tuesday of the month at 9:00 a.m.) (see TMAD section) - Maximum of 6 jury trials on each TMAD docket.
* TMAD Jury trials must be scheduled 6 weeks in advance. Cut-off dates are included on List of Available Criminal Trial Slots.
Tuesday - All other Tuesdays (except TMAD) - Maximum of 2 new or carryover jury trials.
Wednesday - Civil Motions Day – 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month - **No new jury trials may begin**
Wednesday - all other Wednesdays (except Motions Day) - Maximum of 2 new or carryover jury trials.
Thursdays - First Thursday of the month - Maximum of 2 new or carryover jury trials.
Thursdays - all other Thursdays (except First Thursday) - **No new jury trials may begin**
Friday - All Fridays - Maximum of 2 carryover jury trials, longer motions or non-jury trials. **No new jury trials may begin**
D. NON-JURY TRIALS - TWO HOURS OR LESS
- Scheduled on a Regular CW Day or First Thursday docket.
- Not scheduled on the Revised CW Day docket.
E. NON-JURY TRIALS – TWO (2) HOURS OR MORE
- Scheduled on a date-certain.
- See list of available trial slots posted on Judges’ Chambers’ website at www.alexandriava.gov/CircuitCourt >> scroll to Criminal Local Procedures, and then Calendars.
13. SET-DATE HEARINGS
Prior to any set-date hearing, counsel are encouraged to communicate with each other and agree to a trial date using the list of available criminal trial slots – see "Calendars" section.
At the set-date hearing,
- Counsel shall convey the agreed trial date (either jury or non-jury) to the Court.
- If counsel are unable to agree to a trial date, the Court shall provide counsel with available dates, giving priority to those cases involving in‑custody defendants if possible.
- The expectation is older cases will be scheduled on the earliest available trial date.
14. SHOW CAUSE HEARINGS
Show cause hearings are scheduled for any Regular CW Day docket, including First Thursday or the Revised CW Day Docket.
15. START TIMES
- 10:00 a.m. for all Commonwealth CW Day dockets on Thursdays.
- 9:00 a.m. for TMAD (Traffic/Misdemeanor Appeals Docket) on the 3rd Tuesday of the month.
16. TMAD - TRAFFIC AND MISDEMEANOR APPEALS DOCKET
TMAD is the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 9:00 a.m.
- Matters lasting up to 2 hours, including jury trials. The TMAD docket includes post-conviction appeals from the General District Court and the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, Class I and II (jailable offenses), and Class III and IV (non‑jailable offenses).
- Matters lasting more than 2 hours, including jury trials, shall be scheduled for a date‑certain.
A. TMAD Appeal Process (briefly)
- Defendant notes appeal at the GDC or JDR’s clerk’s office on or before the appeal deadline.
- GDC/JDR clerk prepares Notice of Appeal (Form DC-370), including the date on which the defendant must appear in Circuit Court for the set-date hearing.
- Defendant signs the Notice of Appeal. By doing so, defendant promises to appear on a specific date in Circuit Court for a set-date hearing and jury election/waiver hearing.
- Defendant may withdraw the appeal within 10 days.
- After 10 days, if the defendant does not withdraw the appeal, the GDC or JDR clerk sends the appeal paperwork to Circuit Court Clerk, who assigns a docket number, and dockets the case for the set-date and jury election/waiver hearings.
- Defendant must appear in Circuit Court for the set-date and jury election/waiver hearing. (See “Set-date hearings” and “Jury Election/Waiver hearings” sections.)
B. TMAD DOCKETING DEADLINE
- Deadline to docket is the preceding Friday at 12:00 p.m.
- There is not a Revised TMAD Docket.
C. JURY TRIALS – TMAD CASES
- A maximum of six (6) misdemeanor jury trials may be scheduled on each TMAD docket. The number of jury trials will be reduced by one for each felony carryover jury trial scheduled.
- TMAD Jury trials must be scheduled at least six weeks in advance by using the List of Available Criminal Trial Slots that is posted on Judges’ Chambers’ website at www.alexandriava.gov/CircuitCourt >> scroll to Criminal Local Procedures, and then “Calendars” section.
- The List of Available Criminal Trial Slots includes
- The jury slots remaining for each TMAD docket.
- The deadline dates for scheduling juries on each specific TMAD docket.
D. NON-JURY TRIALS – TMAD CASES
- Two (2) hours or less
- Scheduled on a TMAD docket (3rd Tuesday of the month at 9:00 a.m.).
- An unlimited number of non-jury trials may be scheduled on the same TMAD docket.
- Two (2) hours or more
- Scheduled on a date-certain by using the List of Available Criminal Trial Slots that is posted on Judges’ Chambers’ website at www.alexandriava.gov/CircuitCourt >> scroll to Criminal Local Procedures, and then “Calendars” section.
17. TRANSPORT OF IN-CUSTODY DEFENDANTS
(effective 9/1/2022) All in-custody defendants will be transported for court hearings/trials.
- If transport is not required, counsel shall email the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office (“ASO”) Records Department and Transportation Division to cancel transportation, with a courtesy copy to the Commonwealth’s Attorney or opposing counsel.
- ASO emails are firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
18. VOUCHERS FOR COURT-APPOINTED COUNSEL IN CRIMINAL CASES
- Attorneys who accept criminal cases on a court-appointed basis shall file a complete and properly filled‑out payment voucher for approval by a Circuit Court judge.
- Court-appointed attorneys who hire other individuals, such as private investigators, mental health experts and the like, shall be responsible for having those persons submit complete and properly filled‑out payment vouchers to the Clerk of Circuit Court for approval by a Circuit Court judge.
- The voucher must include the “in court” and “out of court” time, the statutory fee amount requested and any fee waiver that is sought.
- The original voucher is filed with the Clerk of Circuit Court. The Clerk of Court will forward the voucher to a Circuit Court Judge for approval.
19. WITNESS UNAVAILABLE FOR A MOTION ON A CW DAY
- If a witness is unavailable for a Motion on a Thursday CW Day, or for other good cause, counsel may request the motion be heard on a non-Thursday.
- Prior to contacting Judges’ Chambers (703.746.4123) for an available date, counsel must coordinate each other’s availability to ensure both the prosecutor and defense counsel are able to attend the hearing.
- File the motion and notice with the Clerk of Circuit Court and deliver a courtesy copy to Judges’ Chambers and opposing counsel – see “Courtesy Copies” section.