Arlington prosecutor William S. Burroughs Jr. has renewed a controversial attempt to have a state judge convene a special grand jury to investigate Virginia Attorney General J. Marshall Coleman and the state police.

Burroughs, who was rebuffed in a similar attempt last February, made the request to Arlington Circuit Court Judge Charles H. Duff on Tuesday. Duff is expected to rule later this week.

Burroughs made the request after a five-member grand jury said Tuesday it believed there was sufficient evidence to justify a special grand jury investigation of Burroughs' complaints, but four members declined to serve on the special panel.

Last February, in an action unprecedented in Arlington, the 41-year-old Democratic prosecutor asked circuit court judge Charles S. Russell to empanel a grand jury to investigate why Coleman, a Republican, ordered a state police probe of Burroughs' handling of a controversial 1977 double murder case.

Russell refused Burroughs' request after a majority of jury members declined to serve on the panel.

Burroughs, who is seeking reelection to a second four-year term in November, yesterday declined to comment on his most recent request, saying he felt it would be inappropriate before the judge's ruling.

Under Virginia law, a special or investigative grand jury, can be convened to probe allegations of official misconduct. Unlike a regular grand jury, a special grand jury has subpoena powers but cannot return indictments.

Burroughs' current request for a special investigation followed a two-hour session Tuesday with the regular grand jury. When first asked by Judge Duff whether a special panel should be convened, only one juror raised his hand in assent.

Burroughs then argued to the judge that, according to state law, the jurors should be asked two separate questions: whether they thought a special grand jury should be appointed and whether they would serve on it. The jurors then unanimously recommended that a special grand jury be empaneled, although four said they would not be willing to serve on it for personal reasons.

Coleman said he ordered the state police investigation after receiving complaints last year from Arlington police and others that Burroughs was interfering with the murder investigation and had refused to prosecute a suspect in the case.

The three-month state police investigation cleared Burroughs of criminal misconduct allegations, but Burroughs has repeatedly said he was never told by Coleman why the probe was ordered.

Sources said this week that Burroughs irritated by the state police probe of his handling of the case, has been considering a second request for a special grand jury for months.

In February, Burroughs said the Coleman-ordered probe "appeared to be illegally conducted" and that "it is possible Coleman is guilty of abuse of power himself."

The case in question involved Richard Lee Earman, a Northern Virginia real estate salesman accused of murdering real estate agent Alan Foreman and Foreman's fiancee, Donna Shoemaker in 1977. Earman, 36, was acquitted the same year after an eight-day trial in which Burroughs was the prosecutor.

Earlier this year Earman pleaded guilty to a charge that he conspired with former life insurance salesman Joseph Martin to kill the couple. Martin, 28, who has pleaded innocent, is scheduled to stand trial Oct. 22 on murder charges.

A special prosecutor recently was appointed to handle the case because Burroughs is expected to testify against Martin.

A special prosecutor recently was appointed to handle the case because Burroughs is expected to testify against Martin.