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Applications for Special Justice

14 Mar 2024 12:05 PM | William Turner (Administrator)


After many years of dedicated service to the Court and the Community, Special Justice George Gills has announced his retirement.  In accordance with Virginia Code §37.2-803, the Circuit Court will be accepting applications from interested persons for this position.  Special Justices are appointed by the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court.  Appointments are for a term of up to six years (unless sooner removed by the Chief Judge) with the ability to be reappointed for subsequent six-year terms.

Special Justices sit as judges for mental health commitment hearings and are subject to the Judicial Cannons.  Hearings are currently held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at Virginia Hospital Center and begin at 9 a.m.  Applicants must be licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia and be in good standing with the Virginia Bar.  They should not have any current conflicts with Virginia Hospital Center or Arlington County’s Department of Human Services.  Completion of the mandatory six-hour training program prescribed by the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia for adult commitments must be completed within six (6) months of appointment.  In addition, the additional two-hour mandatory training for juvenile commitments must be completed no later than one (1) year after appointment.  Applicants should have strong organizational and administrative skills, as there is limited administrative support available for this position. 

Currently adult mental commitment hearings are held at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at Virginia Hospital Center.  Juvenile hearings are expected to begin within the next twelve to eighteen months.  Applicants must be able to attend in person hearings at Virginia Hospital Center during these times on a schedule to be determined among the Special Justices in order to be considered. 

The following link provides further information:


Interested persons should submit a resume and cover letter setting forth their qualifications to Chief Judge Judith Wheat via email, c/o Court Administrator Shaunella Hargrove, shargrove@arlingtonva.us.  Applicants should explain why they are interested in sitting as a Special Justice and describe any relevant qualities they bring to the position, including any prior experience representing clients in civil commitment proceedings.  Applications must be received by Friday, March 29, 2024 to be considered.  The Court may appoint more than one person to this position.


1425 North Courthouse Road, Suite 1800
Arlington, VA 22201
Phone: 703-228-3390