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Official Opinions


October 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.


Opinion # Requestor Summary


Karen T. Mullins, Esq., County Attorney
Wise County

When a magistrate orders a law enforcement agency to execute an order subjecting a person to emergency custody or temporary detention, or providing for the transportation of such persons, the magistrate should specify the police department of the town as the “primary law-enforcement agency of the jurisdiction” when a town is served by its own police department.  If the town is not served by its own police department, the sheriff’s office of the surrounding county is tasked with executing such orders and with transporting persons subject to such orders.


Honorable Janet H. Rorrer
Commissioner of the Revenue
Patrick County

The determination of whether the real estate owned by a Club on July 1, 1971, is exempt from local taxation is a factual determination to be made in the first instance by the Commissioner of Revenue. That determination will depend on whether, considering all of the relevant facts and circumstances, the Club engaged in activities as an institution of learning or engaged in activities that predominantly promoted charitable or benevolent purposes. Assuming that to be the case, the Commissioner must further determine whether the Club’s activities satisfy the requirements for non-profits.


Mr. Richard E. Sincere, Jr., Chairman
City of Charlottesville Electoral Board

(1) local electoral boards have supervisory authority to govern authorized representatives, subject to the oversight of the State Board of Elections, but must honor the representatives’ rights to observe the electoral process as provided for by law; (2) officers of election as well as local electoral boards may prevent authorized representatives from causing a disturbance or otherwise interfering with an election as set forth in the Code; and (3) authorized representatives may move about a polling place to hear and see what is occurring provided they do not run afoul of the prohibitions set forth in §§ 24.2-604(D) and 24.2-607.