Office Overview

" To Do Justice "

A Video Production of the

Virginia Association of Commonwealth's Attorneys




The Public Prosecutor

"He is to judge between the people and the government; he is to be the safeguard of the one and the advocate for the rights of the other; he ought not to suffer the innocent to be oppressed or veraciously harassed, any more than those who deserve prosecution to escape; he is to pursue guilt; he is to protect innocence; he is to judge the circumstances, and according to their true complexion, to combine the public welfare and the safety of the citizens, preserving both, and not impairing either. He is to decline the use of individual passions, and individual malevolence, when he cannot use them for the advantage of the public; he is to lay hold of them where public justice, in sound discretion, requires it."




Justice Archibald Roane

Tennessee Supreme Court 1815-1819

Foute v. State, 4 Tenn. 98 (1816)

"The prosecutor is the representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty whose obligation to govern all impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice will be done. As such, he is in a peculiar and very definite sense the servant of the law, the twofold aim of which is that guilt shall not escape or innocent suffer. He may prosecute with earnestness and vigor - indeed, he should do so. But, while he may strike hard blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones. It is as much his duty to refrain from improper methods calculated to produce a wrongful conviction as it is to use every legitimate means to bring about a just one."


Justice George Sutherland

U.S. Supreme Court 1922-1938

Berger v. U.S., 295 U.S. 78 (1935)


Every day, Virginia's 120 elected Commonwealth's Attorneys and their assistants

appear in court to seek justice, to protect the public, and to speak for victims of crime.

It is a solemn duty undertaken with a passion for one thing, To Do Justice ...


Virginia Association of Commonwealth's Attorneys

The Voice of Virginia's Prosecutors