Back to main opinions page...

2008 Official Opinions

Official opinions will be posted as they are issued, generally within 24 to 48 hours. Please check this page at regular intervals to determine whether additional opinions have been issued.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Official opinions represent the attorney general’s analysis of current law based on his thorough research of existing statutes, the Virginia and United States constitutions, and relevant court decisions.  They are not "rulings" and do not create new law, nor do they change existing law.  Creating and amending laws are the responsibility of the General Assembly, not the attorney general. 

Official opinions are legal advice, not personal opinions, and do not reflect the attorney general’s personal views about what the law should be.  Such advice is provided to ensure clients/the requester are in compliance with the law.  While the opinions may be given deference by the courts, they are not binding on the courts.

The official opinions issued by the attorney general are part of the duties of the office (see Code § 2.2-505). A person authorized by statute, such as the governor, a member of the General Assembly, a constitutional officer, or the head of a state agency, can ask the attorney general for an official opinion on the law. Members of the general public are not authorized to ask for opinions.

December

Opinion # Requestor

Summary

08-106 The Honorable Dennis L. Hupp
Judge, Twenty-Sixth Judicial Circuit

Member of Town Council of Town of Front Royal elected as mayor vacated position as Town Council member upon taking oath of office and qualifying as mayor.

08-077 The Honorable Christopher K. Peace
Member, House of Delegates

No authority for Director of Department of Environmental Quality to issue technical assistance grants related to nutrient reduction without providing required notice, public review, and comment period.

08-068 The Honorable Patricia S. Ticer
Member, Senate of Virginia

Animal control officer may act to prevent act of cruelty upon any animal that occurs in his presence. Question of whether there is occurrence of act of cruelty is factual determination to be made by officer. Immunity for reasonable and good faith actions of animal control officer performed within scope of official duties.

08-087 The Honorable Lynwood W. Lewis, Jr.
Member, House of Delegates

Individuals holding public offices in town or serving on town’s board of historic review or board of building code appeals may be appointed to serve on that town’s wetlands board created pursuant to wetlands zoning ordinance.

08-092 The Honorable Clifford L. "Clay" Athey, Jr.
Member, House of Delegates

Authority under Front Royal Town Charter for Town Council to appoint individual to serve unexpired term of council member elected as mayor; no authority for Town Council to appoint such individual when vacancy has existed for more than forty-five days. Town Council may petition circuit court to issue writ of election to fill such vacancy. Individual appointed to serve such unexpired term is not elected member of Town Council as that term is used in Title 15.2.

08-073 Laurence A. Mann, Esq.
Attorney for the City of Lexington

Article VII, § 9 of Virginia Constitution and § 15.2‑2100 apply to request to reconfigure and relocate easement located within and owned by City of Lexington in perpetuity. Supermajority vote of City Council is necessary to approve transaction.

08-066 The Honorable Robert S. Wertz, Jr.
Loudoun County Commissioner of the Revenue

Distribution from retirement account deposited into another retirement account or investment account characterized as retirement account is not income for purposes of calculating income pursuant to tax relief program for elderly and disabled persons.