Potomac News Online | Courts, Law Enforcement and Legal Services

Got a speeding ticket? Researching land records? Getting married? Trying to sue someone? The place to go is the Prince William Judicial Center, which serves Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park. Located at 9311 Lee Ave., Manassas, the judicial center includes three court systems, a land records room, the prosecutor’s office and a law library. Thirteen judges oversee Circuit, General District and Juvenile and Domestic Relations courts. The courthouse complex and jail are currently in the middle of a $37 million expansion to add courtrooms and office space.

General District Court

Prince William General District Court has authority over:

? Traffic offenses (speeding tickets, tickets for expired registration, tickets for expired driver’s licenses, etc.)

? Misdemeanor crimes (Crimes that are punishable by no more than 12 months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.)

? Criminal offenses involving local ordinances, laws and bylaws of Prince William, Manassas and Manassas Park.

? Civil cases involving less than $10,000.

? Preliminary hearings in felony criminal cases.

The General District Court does not conduct jury trials. All cases are heard by one of the four district judges: Lon E. Farris, Charles F. Sievers, Peter W. Steketee and Wenda K. Travers.

General District Court administrative offices, where you can pay fines or file civil suits, among other services, are located on the second floor of the judicial center. General District Courtrooms are also located on the second floor. The offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. The General District Traffic/Criminal Clerk’s office can be reached at (703) 792-6141. The Civil Clerk’s office can be reached at (703) 792-6149.

Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court

Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court has authority over cases involving:

? Delinquents (juveniles who have committed acts which would be crimes if committed by an adult. In Virginia, a juvenile is anyone under 18),

? Juveniles accused of traffic violations,

? Children in need of services (These are juveniles whose behavior, conduct or condition presents or results in a serious threat to their physical safety),

? Children in need of supervision. (These are juveniles who are either habitually and unreasonably truant, or runaways),

? Neglected, abandoned or abused children,

? Spousal abuse and adults accused of offenses against a child or family members,

? Visitation, support, custody or parentage disputes,

? Court-ordered rehabilitation services,

? Foster care.

Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court does not conduct jury trials. All cases are heard by one of five judges: William Alan Becker, Janice Justina Brice, Paul F. Gluchowski, Mary Grace O’Brien and James B. Robeson.

The Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court clerk’s office and courtrooms are located on the first floor of the judicial center. The clerk’s office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call (703) 792-6160.

Circuit Court

The Circuit Court is the highest level court in the judicial center. It handles appeals from the General District and Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts. Additionally, it has authority over:

? Civil claims greater than $10,000,

? All criminal felony cases (Offenses punishable by imprisonment in state prisons),

? Validity of county or city bylaws and ordinances,

? Equity suits (Claims seeking a judgment of something other than money),

? Divorce and adoption proceedings,

? Wills, trusts, estate matters and property disputes,

The Circuit Court conducts jury and non-jury trials. Cases are presided over by one of five judges: Rossie D. Alston Jr., William D. Hamblen, LeRoy F. Millette Jr., Richard B. Potter or Herman A. Whisenant Jr.

The courtrooms and their administrative offices are located on the third floor of the judicial center. Information about a criminal case can be obtained from the Criminal Division at (703) 792-6025. Information about civil matters can be obtained from the Civil Division at (703) 792-6029. Offices are open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Circuit Court Clerk

The Clerk of the Circuit Court is an elected officer who heads the Department of Records. As well as running the Civil and Criminal divisions of the Circuit Court, the Clerk’s office issues marriage licenses, accepts passport applications, probates wills, appoints guardians, and records deeds and other land transactions. The office also maintains records including trusts, wills, marriages, divorces, military discharges, adoptions, criminal and civil court records and registrations for all medical professionals.

The Clerk of the Circuit Court is David C. Mabie, perhaps best known for officiating of marathon of weddings on Valentine’s Day each year. Mabie’s term as Clerk expires in 2008.

Public Services and Probate Office of the Clerk of Circuit Court are located in the Old Courthouse at 9248 Lee Ave., Manassas. Public Services issues marriage licenses, accepts passport applications and issues notary public qualifications. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Passport applications are accepted between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Probates and wills are done by appointment only. Call (703) 792-6015.

All other offices of the Clerk of the Circuit Court are located on the third floor of the judicial center (see Circuit Court, above.) They are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5 pm.


If you want to bring a criminal complaint against someone, or if you are arrested, your first stop is likely a visit to the Magistrate’s Office. A magistrate reviews complaints brought to the office by law enforcement officers and residents. After conducting the review, the magistrate may issue arrest warrants, summonses, bonds, search warrants, subpoenas and/or civil warrants. Magistrates conduct bond hearings to set bail for those charged with criminal offenses. Additionally, a magistrate may also accept prepayments for traffic infractions and minor misdemeanors. The Magistrate’s Office serves residents and law enforcement 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

There are two magistrates’ offices serving Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park. They are located at 15948 Donald Curtis Dr. in Woodbridge, (703) 792-7360 and 9320 Lee Ave. in Manassas, (703) 792-6260.

U.S. District Court

The U.S. District Court in Alexandria represents area jurisdictions including Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park. It presides over all federal cases, including federal crimes and federal lawsuits. Criminal and civil cases are heard by five judges: Claude M. Hilton, James C. Cacheris, Gerald Lee, Leonie M. Brinkema and Albert V. Bryan Jr.

The courthouse is located at 401 Courthouse Square. Call (703) 299-2100. Parking is extremely limited. The closest metro stations are King Street and Eisenhower Avenue.

Cases heard at the Alexandria courthouse are prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Paul J. McNulty and his assistants. Call (703) 299-2100.

Bankruptcy cases are heard in another Alexandria location at 200 S. Washington St. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call (703) 258-1200.

Court Services Unit

The Court Service Unit, sometimes known as the Juvenile Probation Department, facilitates the supervision, rehabilitation and treatment of youth and adults that come before the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. CSU provides probation, intake and parole services as well as a variety of community based programs. The CSU provides the following services, among others:

? Intake: Intake Officers review complaints about juveniles and determine if there are sufficient facts to involve the court. The Intake Officer also determines if a detention order should be issued. People can also petition intake for custody, visitation or support, or file for protective orders. The intake officer can dismiss the complaint, informally make practical adjustments, or authorize the filing of a petition to go before a J&DR court judge.

The juvenile intake services unit is open 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays for filing such petitions. Appointments are required unless you need a protective order. The phone number for the intake service unit is (703) 792-6210 for the Manassas area, and (703) 792-7350 for the east end of the county. The office may refer protective orders and detention hearings to the court for immediate hearing if the court deems them emergencies.

? Probation: Probation Officers supervise juveniles who have been placed on probation by the court. Additionally, CSU probation officers supervise adults who have been placed upon probation by the J&DR Court for misdemeanor offenses against juveniles, family members, or other persons with whom they have co-habitated within the previous 12 months.

? After-care: Workers supervise juveniles recently released from state institutional care.

? Domestic Care: Workers supervise juveniles held in detention or shelter care homes.

? Parole: Juvenile Parole Officers supervise those youth who have been committed to a Juvenile Correctional Center.

The Court Service Unit also provides other programs such as Adopt a Highway Program, the Truancy Intervention Program or the Serious Habitual Offender Program. There are two CSU offices serving Prince William County and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. They are located at 9540 Center St., Suite 200, Manassas and 15950 Sindlinger Way, Woodbridge. Both offices are open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. On Wednesdays, office hours are extended to 7 p.m. The Manassas office can be contacted at (703) 792-6200 and the Woodbridge office at (703) 792-7350.

Commonwealth’s Attorney

The Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney prosecutes all criminal and traffic cases occurring within Prince William County and all felonies committed in the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. Additionally, the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney works with multi-jurisdictional police departments and magistrates to provide 24-hour-a-day legal advice, handles special prosecutions in other jurisdictions, statewide lectures, teaches at the Police Academy and conducts mock trials to educate state and local law enforcement.

The position of Commonwealth’s Attorney is an elected office. Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul B. Ebert was elected in 196x. He oversees 17 assistant commonwealth’s attorneys with more than 250 years of combined legal experience, including 190 combined years in criminal prosecution. The Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney is located on the second floor of the judicial center. It is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Sheriff’s Office

The Prince William County Sheriff’s Office is located on the first floor of the judicial center. The Sheriff’s Office holds concurrent law enforcement jurisdiction with local police departments, but does not routinely engage in criminal law enforcement. Sheriff’s deputies are responsible for security at the judicial center and serving notices, warrants and subpoenas. They serve about 90,000 civil papers annually. Other duties include mental commitment hearings, funeral escorts, fingerprinting, and prisoner and mental transports. The Prince William County Sheriffs Office was established in 1731 and has grown to its current staff of 69 employees.

The Sheriff is an elected officer. Sheriff E. Lee Stoffregen III was elected in 1996 and is running for re-election in November.

Law Library

The Law Library contains 10,000 non-circulating volumes. Holdings include state codes for Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, federal codes, county, city and town ordinances, federal and state court reports, and many legal periodicals. The library is open to the general public and has selected form books and materials for their use. A law librarian provides research support for lawyers and members of the public. The library is located on the second floor of the judicial center, room 224, and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call (703) 792-6262.

Land Records

Land Records Division of the Circuit Court is located on the third floor of the judicial center, room 300. Here, you can find records of land sales, inheritances and other transactions. This division also holds public documents including deeds, land records, judgments, list of heirs, marriages, U.C.C. which is…? Financing Statements and wills. The focus of this division is to make documents available for public inspection and research by microfilm, microfiche and computers. The office is open 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Victim-Witness service

The Victim-Witness Assistance Program is administered by the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office in Manassas. Its goal is to assist victims and witnesses of crimes. Services include providing crime victims with information about criminal cases and referring them to programs that provide emotional, physical and psychological support. The program has a staff of six employees and volunteers.

If you are a victim/witness involved in a criminal case in Prince William County, Manassas or Manassas Park, you should call the victim/witness assistance program if:

? you have questions about your role as a witness,

? you would like an explanation of court procedures,

? you need someone to speak to your employer about your appearance as a witness on behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia,

? your personal property is being held as evidence and you want to know if you can recover it,

? you want assistance in filing for compensation under the Crime Victim’s Compensation Act,

? you want assistance in preparing your Victim Impact Statement,

? you want help in preparing your restitution forms,

? you need a referral to social service agencies that provide emergency assistance to crime victims,

? you are not receiving restitution payments that were ordered by the court,

? you have received crime related threats or harassment,

? you need information regarding the status of your case.

The program is located at 9401 Grant Ave., Suite 103, Manassas. The office is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call (703) 392-7083.

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