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Petersburg gets new J&DR judge

Relief is on the way for one of the most overworked courts in the state.

Judges of Virginia’s 11th Circuit, including Petersburg and four nearby counties, have selected Petersburg lawyer Phillip T. DiStanislao Jr. for the Juvenile and Domestic Relations bench, according to an official at the state Supreme Court.

The J&DR vacancy in the two-judge district has been funded since 2011, but was not filled by the General Assembly in the last two sessions. Judge Valentine W. Southall Jr. has been handling a caseload that is more than 122 percent of the state average, according to Supreme Court statistics from 2011.

Under Virginia law, DiStanislao’s temporary appointment expires 30 days after the start of the next General Assembly session unless he is elected by the legislature.

By Peter Vieth

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