§ 24.2-233 Removal of elected and certain appointed officers by courts
Overview of Statute
This section allows for a circuit court to remove elected or appointed officers from office if they commit certain crimes.
Upon petition, a circuit court may remove from office any elected officer or officer who has been appointed to fill an elective office, residing within the jurisdiction of the court:
1. For neglect of duty, misuse of office, or incompetence in the performance of duties when that neglect of duty, misuse of office, or incompetence in the performance of duties has a material adverse effect upon the conduct of the office;
2. Upon conviction of a misdemeanor pursuant to Article 1 (§ 18.2-247 et seq.) or Article 1.1 (§ 18.2-265.1 et seq.) of Chapter 7 of Title 18.2 and after all rights of appeal have terminated involving the:
a. Manufacture, sale, gift, distribution, or possession with intent to manufacture, sell, give, or distribute a controlled substance or marijuana;
b. Sale, possession with intent to sell, or placing an advertisement for the purpose of selling drug paraphernalia; or
c. Possession of any controlled substance or marijuana and such conviction under subdivision a, b, or c has a material adverse effect upon the conduct of such office;
3. Upon conviction, and after all rights of appeal have terminated, of a misdemeanor involving a “hate crime” as that term is defined in § 52-8.5 when the conviction has a material adverse effect upon the conduct of such office; or
4. Upon conviction, and after all rights of appeal have terminated, of sexual battery in violation of § 18.2-67.4, attempted sexual battery in violation of subsection C of § 18.2-67.5, peeping or spying into dwelling or enclosure in violation of § 18.2-130, consensual sexual intercourse with a child 15 years of age or older in violation of § 18.2-371, or indecent exposure of himself or procuring another to expose himself in violation of § 18.2-387, and such conviction has a material adverse effect upon the conduct of such office.
The petition must be signed by a number of registered voters who reside within the jurisdiction of the officer equal to ten percent of the total number of votes cast at the last election for the office that the officer holds.
Any person removed from office under the provisions of subdivision 2, 3, or 4 may not be subsequently subject to the provisions of this section for the same criminal offense.
- Court Removal of Officers
This removal proceeding is to be contrasted with the recall proceeding authorized in four city charters (Hampton, Lynchburg, Norfolk and Portsmouth) reported by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. The recall proceedings require more signatures without allegations of cause.
1. Definition for Advertisement
Any message appearing in the print media, on television, or on radio that constitutes a contribution or expenditure under Chapter 9.3 (§ 24.2-945 et seq.). “Advertisement” shall not include novelty items authorized by a candidate including, but not limited to, pens, pencils, magnets, and buttons to be attached to wearing apparel.
See § 24.2-955.1.
2. Definition for Registered voter
Any person who is maintained on the Virginia voter registration system. All registered voters shall be maintained on the Virginia voter registration system with active status unless assigned to inactive status by a general registrar in accordance with Chapter 4 (§ 24.2-400 et seq.). For purposes of applying the precinct size requirements of § 24.2-307, calculating election machine requirements pursuant to Article 3 (§ 24.2-625 et seq.) of Chapter 6, mailing notices of local election district, precinct or polling place changes as required by subdivision 13 of § 24.2-114 and § 24.2-306, and determining the number of signatures required for candidate and voter petitions, “registered voter” shall include only persons maintained on the Virginia voter registration system with active status. For purposes of determining if a signature on a petition shall be included in the count toward meeting the signature requirements of any petition, “registered voter” shall include only persons maintained on the Virginia voter registration system (i) with active status and (ii) on inactive status who are qualified to vote for the office for which the petition was circulated.
See § 24.2-101.
3. Definition for Person
Any individual or corporation, partnership, business, labor organization, membership organization, association, cooperative, or other like entity.
For the purpose of applying the filing and reporting requirements of this chapter, the term “person” shall not include an organization holding tax-exempt status under § 501(c) (3), 501(c) (4), or 501(c) (6) of the United States Internal Revenue Code which, in providing information to voters, does not advocate or endorse the election or defeat of a particular candidate, group of candidates, or the candidates of a particular political party.
See § 24.2-945.1.
4. Definition for Election
A general, primary, or special election.
See § 24.2-101.
Case Name: Johnson v. Woodard
Citation: 707 S.E.2d 325
Case Summary: Holding that county citizens who petitioned for removal of four members of county Board of Supervisors were not parties to the removal action and were not subject to imposition of sanctions when removal action was unsuccessful.
Case Name: In re Burfoot
Case Number: CL16-13221
Case PDF: In re Burfoot
Case Summary: Section 235 does not only apply to citizen petitions filed under § 233. The postponement provision of § 231 only applies to convictions under the laws of Virginia. Suspension under § 236 does not violate separation of powers and does not always require a conviction in the strict sense of the word to have occurred before suspension occurs.