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Virginia > Title 24.2 Elections > Federal, Commonwealth, And Local Officers

§ 24.2-235 Procedure

Overview of Statute

This section describes the requirements of any petition for removal of an officer and how the court should handle such petitions. It also describes the procedure of the remainder of the removal process in the form of a trial.


A petition for the removal of an officer shall state with reasonable accuracy and detail the grounds or reasons for removal and shall be signed by the person or persons making it under penalties of perjury. The circuit court shall not dismiss the petition solely because of an error or omission in the form of the petition relating to its statement of the grounds or reasons for removal if such error or omission is not material in determining whether the statement of the grounds or reasons for removal provides a reasonable basis under § 24.2-233 to consider the removal of the officer.

As soon as the petition is filed with the court, the court shall issue a rule requiring the officer to show cause why he should not be removed from office, the rule alleging in general terms the cause or causes for such removal. The rule shall be returnable in not less than five nor more than ten days and shall be served upon the officer with a copy of the petition. Upon return of the rule duly executed, unless good cause is shown for a continuance or postponement to a later day in the term, the case shall be tried on the day named in the rule and take precedence over all other cases on the docket. If upon trial it is determined that the officer is subject to removal under the provisions of § 24.2-233, he shall be removed from office.

1975, cc. 515, 595, § 24.1-79.7; 1993, c. 641; 2009, cc. 868, 876.

Definition [State]

A state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

See § 24.2-452.

Definition [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.


virginia Cases

Case Name: Com. ex rel. Davis v. Malbon

Citation: 78 S.E.2d 683

Year: 1953

Case URL:

Case Summary: Holding that statutes related to proceedings for removal of a public officer are to be construed to provide a speedy remedy for the removal of a corrupt official, but penal statutes are to be strictly construed.

Case Name: Warren v. Com.

Citation: 118 S.E. 125

Year: 1923

Case PDF: Warren v. Com

Case Summary: Holding that a proceeding to remove an official under this section is not a civil action, but a public one.

Case Name: In re Burfoot

Case Number: CL16-13221

Year: 2017

Case URL:[...]

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.

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases