Judge Kimberley Slayton White, presiding Circuit Court judge for the 10th Judicial District, has been selected by the Virginia General Assembly to serve on the state Court of Appeals.

White will begin serving the Commonwealth in her new role on July 1, as one of 17 judges on Virginia’s second-highest court. She will fill the spot left open by Wesley G. Russell Jr., who was elevated to the state’s Supreme Court.

“It certainly is a privilege and an honor to be able to be from Southside Virginia, from rural Virginia, and be able to bring that voice to the Virginia appellate court,” White said. “The last person from Halifax who served on an appellate court was in 1895, and that person served on the Supreme Court. There has never been a Court of Appeals office housed in Halifax County.”

As a judge on the state Court of Appeals, White said she will have local chambers in Halifax County and will travel as needed for hearings and arguments.

Virginia’s Court of Appeals provides appellate review of Circuit Court decisions in civil, criminal and administrative agency cases, and final decision of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. The Court sits in panels of at least three judges, and panel membership rotates on a random basis. 

“In my new role I hope I will be able to produce opinions that are helpful to litigants and lawyers and judges in future cases,” White stated. The 1985 graduate of the University of Mary Washington added she is an “English major at heart,” so she looks forward to writing opinions that are relied upon by judges all over the commonwealth.

White has been chief presiding judge for the eight-county 10th Judicial District since 2019, and her move to the State Court of Appeals leaves her current judgeship open. She was first appointed as a Circuit Court judge in 2012 by Gov. Bob McDonnell.

White has accomplished more than one first-time achievements in her career. Not only is she the first person from Halifax County to serve on the state’s Court of Appeals since it was established, but she was the first female Commonwealth’s Attorney and is the first woman ever to serve as a Circuit Court judge for the 10th Judicial District.

“I hope I have been able to allow other women to see themselves in that role,” White shared.

As White makes the move to the Court of Appeals, she reflects on her time as a district Circuit Court judge.

“It has been exceedingly rewarding to be able to use my experience for the betterment of the judicial system,” White commented.

White added one of her greatest rewards as a Circuit Court judge has been “encouraging the rehabilitation of people addicted to substances and people who have lost their way.” She said she particularly likes seeing those people later out in the community and doing well.

Prior to becoming a judge, White served as the elected Commonwealth’s Attorney in Halifax County for eight years. She also was an assistant and deputy commonwealth’s attorney for the city of Lynchburg, and worked as a litigation partner with Woods Rogers in Danville.

White also has held the role of special assistant United States attorney for the Western District of Virginia where she specialized in trying drug-related cases. In addition, she is a past chair of the Virginia State Bar Committee on Lawyer Discipline. White earned her J.D. from Mercer University.

The Halifax County judge noted she drew on all of her experiences from her legal career to be an effective Circuit Court judge. Heading into an eight-year term on the Virginia Court of Appeals, White has reached the pinnacle of her career, and has her sights set on retirement once she finishes out that term.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be able to finish my career in this position,” White said.

Miranda Baines is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at mbaines@gazettevirginian.com.

Miranda Baines is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at mbaines@gazettevirginian.com.