Commonwealth's Attorney's Office
The Commonwealth's Attorney is a constitutional officer elected every four years. The office is funded as a full-time office.
The Constitution of Virginia provides that voters in each of Virginia’s counties and cities elect a Commonwealth’s Attorney to serve in their jurisdiction for a four year term. In other states this position is sometimes called “District Attorney” or “States Attorney”. The duties of the Commonwealth’s Attorney are designated in the Code of Virginia. The Commonwealth’s Attorney is required to prosecute felonies. Prosecuting misdemeanors is discretionary. The Code also mandates that the Commonwealth’s Attorney perform some other duties, such as asset forfeitures from criminal activities, and providing conflict of interest opinions regarding local government officials and agencies.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney does not provide legal counsel or advice to state or local governments or agencies, those duties fall to the Office of the Attorney General and County Attorney, respectively. The Commonwealth’s Attorney cannot provide legal advice to private citizens. Citizens in need of legal assistance may consult with a private attorney or call the Virginia State Bar Referral Service at 800-552-7977.
The Middlesex County Commonwealth’s Attorney prosecutes felony criminal cases for the Commonwealth of Virginia and class 1, 2, and 3 criminal misdemeanor cases for the Commonwealth and the County of Middlesex in the General District Court, Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, and Circuit Court. The Commonwealth’s Attorney participates in some of the traffic cases, such as when requested by an officer or a constitutional or other issue arises.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney has the dual responsibility to vigorously prosecute those who violate the law while refusing to prosecute those against whom the evidence does not indicate guilt. The Commonwealth’s Attorney heads a Multi Disciplinary Team regarding child sexual assault cases and the Sexual Assault Response Team, which establishes policies on handling sexual assault cases.
Victim / Witness Program
A Victim Witness Director assists victims and witnesses with continuance requests, court dates, referrals to counseling services, victim impact statements, the Virginia Victims Fund, assisting with protective orders, and other services as specified in state code.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael T. Hurd is in his fourth term of office, having served since 2008.
Mr. Hurd is a Middlesex County native who previously served as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for Danville and was in private practice in Gloucester and Middlesex Counties for 13 years. He has 31 years of experience in criminal law in Virginia. He also serves on the board of directors of Tri River ASAP and Middle Peninsula Local Probation and Pre-trial Services.
Mary Atterholt has served as Victim Witness Director since 2010. She holds an MS in rehabilitative counseling and has served on the faculty of Virginia Commonwealth University. She has previously headed a Red Cross Chapter, a homeless shelter, and counseled substance abusers in Virginia’s women’s prisons. Email Mary Atterholt.
Michelle Smith joined the Middlesex Commonwealth's Attorney's Office in 2022 after having worked as an administrative assistant in law offices for approximately the past 4 years. Prior to her law office employment, Ms. Smith's work experience includes having been an office manager, a business development coordinator, and an executive assistant.
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