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Fairfax judicial schedules- Who will be my criminal judge?

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Fairfax judicial schedules- Who will be my criminal judge? - Calendar image

Fairfax judicial schedules in General District Court and Circuit Court commonly are not revealed until the same day or day before, says Virginia criminal lawyer

Fairfax judicial schedules in General District Court (GDC) were posted weekly until a few years ago, while Circuit Court judges’ names were not as easy to determine in advance other than for the names of the two Friday criminal motions hearing judges, and Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court (JDR) judges are made known in advance, but that frequently changes to a different full-time or substitute judge. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know the importance of knowing your judge. Where, as in Fairfax County, the judge’s name often is not known until the afternoon before court or even the morning of court, that calls all the more for you to obtain a qualified Virginia criminal defense lawyer who will adapt to pursuing your best defense no matter who your judge is.

Who will be the General District Court judge for my Fairfax criminal case?

Until several years ago, I could visit the county commonwealth’s attorney’s / prosecutor’s office each Friday or the following Monday to see the upcoming week’s schedule of courtroom assignments for Fairfax General District Court judges. Whether it was to reduce judge-shopping efforts or otherwise, by knowing the Fairfax judicial schedule, the Fairfax GDC stopped making that list public. Around a year ago, a private practicing lawyer who sometimes sits as a substitute judge for that county’s misdemeanor trials told me that his status as a substitute judge does not give him any greater access to the Fairfax General District Court judge’s schedule than I have access to, except that when he is designated for courtroom 1E, for instance, he at least knows that the judge he is substituting for will not be in court that day. It appears that Fairfax GDC clerks have access to the week’s judicial calendar and that some will share the name of the judge assigned to a particular courtroom. Moreover, the Fairfax GDC judge who presides in the Vienna satellite court is likely to be sitting the remainder of the week in the remaining two satellite courts of Fairfax City and Herndon. It does appear that the same judge appears multiple times in Fairfax GDC courtroom 1D, where both criminal motions and trials are heard. Finally, when a lawyer truly needs to get a motion heard before a particular judge (for instance when a sentencing judge pronounces sentence A but mistakenly writes down sentence), I would expect that the particular judge’s availability might be determined.

Does the judge schedule tell me who will be the judge for my Circuit Court criminal case?

Sometimes the names of the two Friday criminal motions hearing judges for Fairfax Circuit Court can be determined by Tuesday or Wednesday of that week, but that will not be found on a Fairfax judicial schedule. Additionally, criminal defense lawyers know the names of their sentencing judges. Beyond that, sometimes the name of the Fairfax criminal Circuit Court judge is not known until the day of court and sometimes the day before court. On top of that, in Circuit Court and all other Fairfax courts, if Judge A becomes too busy with some cases, Judge B might step in to offer to help alleviate Judge A’s burden.

Which JDR judge will preside over my Fairfax criminal case?

Ordinarily, I can obtain the name and courtroom of my JDR Fairfax criminal judge the same day that a trial date is set. However, the JDR court in Fairfax often has a high frequency of having a substitute judge or a different sitting judge handling the case after all. That Fairfax judicial information often is not knowable until the day of court, either by looking in the courtroom (which will sometimes be off limits to those waiting for other cases to be called, when a juvenile is a party) or by asking at the court clerk’s window.

Why does the name of my judge and Virginia criminal lawyer matter?

Judicial decisionmaking is not monolithic, which makes having a Fairfax judicial schedule ideal, if they existed for the public. On top of that, a judge can easily lean towards ruling in X fashion today but in Y fashion a month later depending on the circumstances. Your Virginia criminal lawyer should have an understanding of how your assigned judge is likely to rule at trial in your case and as to any sentencing, including knowing the extent to which your judge is particularly harsh in sentencing for such a case as yours, and the extent to which your judge may render a verdict that is favorable to you. Your choice of your Fairfax criminal lawyer or of any Virginia criminal defense attorney can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case, in that Virginia criminal defense is a proverbial blood sport, where some attorneys rise better to the occasion than others. If your potential Virginia criminal defense attorney acts unconfident while meeting with you, ask yourself if that discomfort will continue into the courtroom and in the courthouse conference room while negotiating with the prosecutor.

Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan Katz relentlessly pursues your best defense against Virginia felony, misdemeanor and DUI prosecutions. Call 703-383-1100 for your free in=person confidential consultation about your court-pending case.