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Court System

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Clarke County’s court system includes Circuit Court (26th Judicial Circuit of Virginia), the Commonwealth’s Attorney office, General District Court (26th Judicial District of Virginia), Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court (26th Judicial District of Virginia), and the Victim Witness Program.

Circuit Court

Circuit Court — 26th Judicial Circuit of Virginia — records deeds, wills, estates, financial statements, and partnerships issues. It issues marriage licenses, notary applications, and concealed handgun permits. The clerk is the official court administrator for all civil and criminal court cases, creating and maintaining all court files and records, preparing miscellaneous orders and jury lists, contacting jurors, and issuing summons and court processes. Circuit Court handles all chancery, common law, and criminal matters for Clarke County and its towns. Circuit Court also hears cases on appeal from the General District and Juvenile & Domestic Relations courts. The Clerk of the Circuit Court is an elected position.

Clarke County Circuit Court, located at 102 N. Church St., Berryville, is open 9:00am - 5:00pm Monday through Friday. Recordation ends at 4:30pm Contact Clerk Helen Butts at (540) 955-5116, (540) 955-5117, or hbutts@vacourts.gov. Fax number is (540) 955-0284

Payment of fines, costs, and restitution may be made with credit cards (includes a 4 percent convenience fee), through the Supreme Court of Virginia Online Services. Credit cards are accepted online only. Cash, checks, and money orders are accepted in the Circuit Court Office between 8:00am - 4:00pm weekdays. Call (540) 955-5116.

Jurors are randomly picked once a year by a three-panel committee. The Clerk’s Office prepares a list for active jury members once a quarter. The Sheriff’s Office calls individuals for jury duty, advising juror of the date, time and place to appear. Jurors are compensated $30 a day. The Clerk’s Office will try to work with jurors regarding previously scheduled vacations, medical appointments, or work-related issues. Contact the Clerk’s Office at (540) 955-5116.

General District Court

General District Court — 26th Judicial District of Virginia — handles most traffic violations, hears minor criminal cases (misdemeanors), and conducts preliminary hearings for more serious criminal cases (felonies). General District courts have exclusive authority to hear civil cases with claims of $4,500 or less and share authority with Circuit courts to hear cases with claims between $4,500 and $15,000. Examples of civil cases are property owner and tenant disputes, contract disputes, and personal injury actions.

General District Court, located at 104 N. Church St., Berryville, is open 8:00am - 4:00pm Monday through Friday. Contact Clerk Julie Aemmer at (540) 955-5128 or jaemmer@vacourts.gov. Fax number is (540) 955-1195.

Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court

Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court — 26th Judicial District of Virginia — handles all civil and criminal matters relating to juvenile, family, and domestic cases.

Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court, located at 104 N. Church St., Berryville, is open 8:30am - 4:30pm Monday through Friday. Contact Clerk Sherri Allen at (540) 955-5136 or sallen@courts.state.va.us. Fax number is (540) 955-1154.

Commonwealth’s Attorney

The Commonwealth’s Attorney for the 26th Judicial Circuit of Virginia prosecutes criminal cases for the Commonwealth of Virginia, the County of Clarke and Town of Berryville. Commonwealth’s Attorney is an elected position.

The Commonwealth’s Attorney office, located at 102 N. Church St., Berryville, is open 8:00am - 4:00pm Monday through Friday. Contact Commonwealth’s Attorney and FOIA Officer at (540) 955-5120 or awilliams@clarkecounty.gov. Fax number is (540) 955-5156.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests can be made in person during office hours, by contacting (540) 955-5120 or awilliams@clarkecounty.gov.

Victim Witness Program

The Clarke County Victim Witness Program works to ensure all crime victims and witnesses are treated with dignity and respect as well as receive fair and compassionate treatment while participating in the criminal justice system. Clarke County’s Victim Witness Program is located within the Commonwealth’s Attorney office. It is funded by a Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services grant.

The Victims Bill of Rights and other victims’ rights laws recognize the following individuals as crime victims: Anyone suffering physical, emotional, or financial harm as a direct result of a felony or certain misdemeanors. (Misdemeanors are assault and battery, assault and battery against a family or household member, stalking, sexual battery, attempted sexual battery, and driving while intoxicated).

The definition of victim includes spouses and children of all victims; parents and guardians of minor victims; parents, guardians, and siblings of mentally or physically incapacitated victims or victims of homicide; and foster parents or other caregivers, under certain circumstances.

The Victims Bill of Rights is intended to ensure crime victims have opportunities to make the courts aware of the full impact of crime; are treated with dignity, respect, and sensitivity and that their privacy is protected; are informed of their rights; receive authorized services; and are heard at all critical stages of the criminal justice process.

The Victim Witness Program office, located at 100 N. Church St., Berryville, is open 9:00am - 5:00pm Monday through Friday. Contact Victim Witness Program Director Beth Marple at (540) 955-5111 or vwc@clarkecounty.gov. Fax number is 955-6079.