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Bench Warmers

Local judge spearheads Substitute Judges Institute.

— Attorneys from across Northern Virginia gathered July 9 at Manassas Regional Airport to participate in the Institute for Substitute Judges, a seminar designed by Alexandria General District Court Chief Judge Becky Moore to provide intensive training to better prepare attorneys to serve on the bench.

“My intent with the institute is to provide the substitute judges with information to help them serve well when they sit as judges," said Moore prior to this year's seminar.

Substitute judges are regulars on the bench throughout the state but especially in Northern Virginia's busy courtrooms.

"We use them a lot, especially here in Alexandria because retired judges are not readily available," Moore said.

Substitute judges receive basic training through the administrative offices of Virginia's state Supreme Court but Moore expands on that training through the institute she launched in 2008.

Originally designed to serve Alexandria, the Institute now serves all of Northern Virginia and covers a multitude of issues ranging from DUI's and radar calibration to firearms training and drug trafficking.

“There are so many details — thousands and thousands of details for substitute judges to know,” Moore said when launching the Institute that has grown to include substitute judges from Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William counties. “It's not an easy task but it's a great joy if you love the law and people.”