Jim Hingeley graduated from the University of Virginia Law School and has over 40 years experience as a trial lawyer. Before law school, Jim taught civics and American history in a public high school in West Virginia. While teaching high school, Jim went to vocational school at night and became a certified welder. He worked for two years as a welder in Albemarle County before entering law school in 1973.
Jim started the Albemarle County-Charlottesville Public Defender office in 1998 and served as chief defender for 18 years. He is a life member of the NAACP and served on the Virginia Advisory Committee of the United States Commission on Civil Rights. In 2016, Governor Terry McAuliffe appointed Jim to the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission. Jim is the Co-Director of the UVA Criminal Defense Clinic and has taught criminal law as an adjunct professor at UVA Law School for the last 20 years.
When he started the local public defender office, Jim established a Citizens Advisory Committee to provide community oversight. If he is elected as Commonwealth’s Attorney, community engagement will be one of his top priorities. To see what a Citizens Advisory Committee can accomplish, click here.
Jim has earned a good reputation for honesty and integrity, and he adheres to the highest ethical standards of the legal profession. His reputation is reflected in the awards he has received, like UVA Law School's Shaping Justice Award for Lifetime Achievement in Public Service in 2017, or the Virginia Bar Association's Pro Bono Publico Service Award in 2014. In 2002, he was honored as one of the Distinguished Dozen named by the Charlottesville Daily Progress. In 2005, Jim was chosen by his peers as a Fellow of the Virginia Law Foundation. This is a distinction that is reserved for approximately 500 of Virginia’s best and brightest lawyers. In 2013, Jim was selected as one of Virginia’s “Leaders in the Law.” These leaders are recognized for serving the community and improving Virginia’s justice system.
As Albemarle Commonwealth's Attorney, Jim will bring to the courtroom his experience of handling thousands of criminal cases in more than 40 years. He knows that good preparation, attention to detail, and working hard to support law enforcement and victims are the keys to achieving positive results as a prosecutor. Jim also knows we have many opportunities to improve the criminal justice system in Albemarle County. Jim will use his discretion as a prosecutor to eliminate unnecessary and excessive punishment and bring the runaway financial and human costs of such punishment under control. He will fight for racial equity and an end to the practice of mass incarceration. He will aggressively prosecute hate crimes and work to undo racial profiling. Jim also believes in transparency and is committed to tracking relevant statistics and releasing data from the prosecutor’s office that help the community hold the office accountable. Finally, Jim will establish a community oversight committee to ensure Albemarle residents' voices are heard by the Albemarle Commonwealth's Attorney Office.
"I stand for fair trials and equal justice for all."