LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Rixon Charles Rafter III | Sep 25, 2011

Special Justice in Virginia for Juvenile Civil Commitment Hearings

  1. Prior to requesting appointment, attend the program “Juvenile Civil Commitment Hearings: A Course to Qualify for Appointment as a Special Justice," sponsored by the Office of the Executive Secretary, Supreme Court of Virginia, which shall consist of 6 hours of instruction approved by the Virginia State Bar for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) in the following subject areas:

a. Overview of the law, procedures and court forms regarding juvenile mental commitment proceedings, including custody and commitment criteria.

b. Roles, responsibilities and duties of a special justice associated with juvenile mental commitments.

c. Roles, responsibilities and duties of those involved in the juvenile mental commitment process (i.e. respondent, respondent’s legal counsel, guardian ad litem for the child, qualified evaluator, petitioner, family members, etc.).

d. Mental health diagnoses for children and adolescents.

e. Assessment of risk of harm for children and adolescents.

f. Inpatient and outpatient treatment options for children and adolescents at risk of commitment.

g. Overview of the interaction between special justices and the juvenile and domestic relations district court.

h. Review of procedures for compensation and reimbursement for special justices Certification of attendance at the program, “Juvenile Civil Commitment Hearings: A Course to Qualify for Appointment as a Special Justice," shall be submitted on the required form to the Office of the Executive Secretary, Supreme Court of Virginia.

An attorney who attends this program and files a certification of attendance with the Office of the Executive Secretary is eligible for appointment by the chief circuit court judge as a special justice for juveniles for up to 12 months from the date of such attendance. Thereafter, the attorney shall attend the required initial program, again, before being eligible to be appointed as a special justice for juveniles.

  1. Complete 6 hours of approved continuing education every 2 years on any topic related to the handling of juvenile civil commitment hearings. This continuing education requirement shall begin as of the date of the term established by the circuit court appointment or re-appointment order and continue every 2 years thereafter.

Credit for repeating the initial training program, “Juvenile Civil Commitment Hearings: A Course to Qualify for Appointment as a Special Justice" will be approved once within a 6-year period.

See http://www.courts.state.va.us/courts/specialjustices/training_stndrds_appt_guidelines.pdf

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