Two candidates are on the ballot for Clerk of Court; vote for one. Candidates were asked to provide a short bio and share a story of their interaction with a voter that led them to a commitment to take action, with a tight word limit. Candidates are here in the order they appear on the ballot. Envisioned and compiled by Mercia Hobson.
For information on how and where to vote, see https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/
More than 8,000 Fairfax County voters have already voted.
Gerada Marie Culipher (R)
As the current Deputy Clerk for the Fairfax Circuit Court, I ask your vote to continue serving Virginia’s busiest trial court, ensuring it remains a model of good government and excellent customer service. With over ten years of experience helming this 180-person judicial administration agency, I have the breadth and depth of knowledge to keep it running efficiently and fairly for all.
After graduating from Johns Hopkins University and Tulane Law School, I started as a judicial extern and law clerk in the federal courts before joining Virginia’s largest trial court in its Clerk’s Office. As a military wife, mother of four, and Virginia lawyer, I know how busy life is in Fairfax.
My philosophy of smart, customer-focused public service at our courthouse means you can have confidence in our justice system.
I call us “The Court of Hearth and Home” because marriages, divorces, custody, adoptions, CWPs, protective orders, mortgages, deeds, and wills are filed in our office. As custodian of those records, I emphasize IT security standards that protect your information from data miners and other bad actors. Meaningful access to justice in the digital age is a balance between presumptively open records and protecting your data from abuse.
Response: Recently, our Land Records Team on the 3rd floor of the Courthouse (who handle deeds, mortgages, easements, etc.) flagged some unusual transactions as Deed Fraud. Identity thieves target vacant properties in western Fairfax. Exploiting innovations like e-notarization, these scams bypassed industry due diligence. But when fraudulent deals arrive at our counter, staff applies our Fraud-Prevention CheckList. Our technique stops the deals from being completed. Last month, we caught a $284,000 fraud, saving the closing company from a financial loss and the real owner a major headache.
One customer said, “I wish I could file a lien on my own property!” That stuck with me. Thinking about “Attorney Liens,” “Mechanics Liens,” and “Crop Liens” in Fairfax’s more agrarian past, I’m proposing “A Protective Lien.” This would be a creature of statute, so the bill would allow homeowners to record a lien on their home to protect it. I’ve shared sample statutory language with our real estate bar, the Virginia Clerk’s Association, and spoken with General Assembly members from our Northern Virginia delegation when I’ve seen them on the campaign trail. Solving actual problems has no party affiliation, and we are all united against consumer fraud. The Clerk is elected, but it works best when not politicized.
Christopher J. Falcon (D)
Christopher J. Falcon (D) serves as Legal Counsel and Civil Division Supervisor for the Arlington Circuit Court Clerk’s office. He has been a practicing attorney for the past 15 years and is the founder and owner of The Falcon Firm PLLC. He earned his undergraduate degree in management from JMU and his JD from the Widener Commonwealth Law School.
In 2016, Chris received the Arlington County Manager’s Excellence Award for his contributions to the Arlington County jury orientation video. He currently serves as Vice Rector on the James Madison University Board of Visitors, the Fairfax County Human Services Council, the Arlington County ASAP Policy Board, and the Board of Directors of Edu-Futuro. He also served on the Virginia Latino Advisory Board from 2014 to 2018.
Response: Traveling all over Fairfax County and City this past year and a half, I have met a lot of people, but one moment sticks out. I met a person who could not afford counsel and asked me a basic procedural question about a case she had pending in the Fairfax Circuit Court. She asked me to look up her case to see if there were upcoming hearing dates; unfortunately, it was a Saturday, and the court was closed. I explained that we can’t see Fairfax Circuit Court case information since the clerk's office blocks it behind a paywall and charges $150 for three months of access. This public information includes case numbers, hearing dates, and times. She was upset. It was frustrating since this information is publicly available online in neighboring counties. It reminded me that access to justice begins and ends with access to public information.
I am the only candidate running for Fairfax Clerk of Court who is on record that we will move Fairfax public case information out from behind the paywall and onto the free online system every other county in Virginia uses. It's an enormous equity issue that disproportionately impacts marginalized communities.