VERONA — Starting July 1, the Augusta County Circuit and Juvenile and Domestic Relations courts will be running court sessions more frequently to deal with a backlog of cases.
According to a memo from Augusta County Deputy Administrator Jennifer Whetzel to the Board of Supervisors, judges will be assigned to Augusta County, which is in the 25th Judicial Circuit, more often and running court on more days. The criminal court, for example, will be in session nine times during the week as opposed to five times as it is now.
JDR will add two Child in Need of Services/Supervision dockets each week, according to the memo.
The changes are expected to begin with the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.
Nearly doubling the weekly court sessions, though, also will mean an increase in staff and their salaries.
During the supervisors' June 12 meeting, the board opted to table a decision on appropriating an additional $361,000 to cover the salaries of two more clerks for the Circuit Court Clerk's Office, two additional attorneys for the Augusta County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office and two additional court security officers.
The appropriation would be added to the county's 2020 fiscal year budget.
There are five judges serving 25th Judicial Circuit, which includes Waynesboro, Staunton and Buena Vista, as well as Alleghany, Bath, Botetourt, Craig Highland and Rockbridge counties.
In March, Judge Paul Dryer was named to replace Judge Victor Ludwig, who retired from the bench at the end of 2018.
In addition to Dryer, Judges Anita Filson, W. Chapman Goodwin, Charles Ricketts and Joel Branscom will also hear cases in the 25th Circuit.