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News & Press: Fairfax Circuit Court

Policy on Appearance of Court-Appointed Attorneys in Criminal Cases

Friday, January 26, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Courtnie Norris
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Circuit Court Policy on Appearance of Court-Appointed Attorneys in Criminal Cases


The Court has become concerned about court-appointed attorneys having other attorneys appear for them at substantive hearings in criminal cases.  In an effort to address this issue, Chief Judge White has met with representatives of the court appointed bar and consulted with Judges of the Fairfax Circuit Court and of other courts in an effort to adopt a policy that meets the needs of the court and also recognizes the practicalities of busy law practices. The policy adopted by the Circuit Court is set forth below and sets out the expectations of the Court in such cases.  The policy will go into effect March 1, 2018.

1) The attorney appointed to represent the accused in a criminal case shall appear at all substantive court hearings, including, but not limited to, trials, motions hearings, pleas, sentencing hearings, and bond motions.

2) While the Court generally expects court-appointed attorneys to appear at all other hearings well, court-appointed attorneys may ask other attorneys to appear on their behalf for scheduling dates, such as Term Day, where the appointed attorney is unable to appear.

3) In certain emergency situations, an appointed attorney may, after obtaining written consent from the client, have another attorney appear on their behalf at a substantive hearing (e.g., to present a bond motion where a client would otherwise have to wait several additional days).  In most cases, the preferred practice will be for the court to continue matters in such situations.

4) When an attorney appears on behalf of a court-appointed attorney, the covering attorney shall prepare an order entering a limited appearance.  This order shall clearly state that the attorney is appearing solely for the date of appearance, and it shall be presented to the presiding judge for his or her signature at the time of the appearance.

5) In cases in which an attorney does appear on behalf of the court-appointed attorney, neither the appointed attorney nor the attorney appearing on their behalf shall seek payment from the Court for the date for which coverage is sought.


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