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Official Opinions


June 2011 Opinions

Please click on Opinion number to view entire opinion.

Official opinions will be posted as they are issued, generally within 24 to 48 hours. Please check this page at regular intervals to determine whether additional opinions have been issued.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Official opinions represent the attorney general’s analysis of current law based on his thorough research of existing statutes, the Virginia and United States constitutions, and relevant court decisions.  Official opinions do not create new law, nor do they change existing law.  Creating and amending laws are the responsibility of the General Assembly, not the attorney general.  

Official opinions are legal advice, not personal opinions, and do not reflect the attorney general’s personal views about what the law should be.  Such advice is provided to ensure clients/the requester are in compliance with the law.  While the opinions may be given deference by the courts, they are not binding on the courts.

The official opinions issued by the attorney general are part of the duties of the office (see Code § 2.2-505).  A person authorized by statute, such as the governor, a member of the General Assembly, a constitutional officer, or the head of a state agency, can ask the attorney general for an official opinion on the law. Members of the general public are not authorized to ask for opinions.


Requestor Summary

Hon. Christopher K. Peace
Member, House of Delegates

None of the Hanover County ordinances presented suffers from constitutional infirmity.


Hon. Jack Kennedy, Clerk
Circuit Court of Wise County

A Clerk of Court can close the office when a county has failed to adopt a budget and the Clerk cannot pay his employees. A Clerk, or the employees of the Clerk's office, can volunteer to continue serving until the budget impasse is resolved. To the extent particular functions, including electronic filing procedures, can continue in the absence of funding from the County and without staffing, or with volunteer staffing, the Clerk should continue to keep such systems operational.
11-075 Karen T. Mullins, Esquire
County Attorney, Wise County
Article VII, § 5 of the Virginia Constitution and § 24.2-304.1 of the Code mandate that the Board of Supervisors take affirmative action to reapportion the magisterial districts for Wise County in this tenth year since the last reapportionment using the most recent decennial population figures. Further, an action in mandamus lies in favor of any citizen of the County to compel the performance by the Board of its duty under Article VII, § 5 and § 24.2-304.1; in such an action OAG will review any papers filed to represent the interests of the Commonwealth to work towards an appropriate remedy.