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CRAWFORD v. COMMONWEALTH



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CRAWFORD

v.

COMMONWEALTH


NOVEMBER 14, 2000

Record No. 0172-00-4

Present: Judges Bumgardner, Humphreys and
Clements

Argued at Richmond, Virginia

CHARLES EDWARD CRAWFORD, JR.

v.

COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF FAIRFAX COUNTY

Stanley P. Klein, Judge


MEMORANDUM OPINION[1] BY JUDGE
ROBERT J. HUMPHREYS

Crystal A. Meleen (Office of the Public
Defender, on brief), for appellant.

Virginia B. Theisen, Assistant Attorney General
(Mark L. Earley, Attorney General, on brief), for appellee.

Charles Edward Crawford, Jr. appeals his
conviction by a jury of aggravated sexual battery, second or
subsequent offense. He argues that the trial court erred in
admitting a record of a prior conviction for aggravated sexual
battery because: (1) its admission in the guilt/innocence phase
of his trial violated his due process rights and deprived him of
a fair trial; and (2) it was not sufficiently linked to Crawford
as to be material and relevant. For the reasons that follow, we
disagree and affirm his conviction.

In Brown v. Commonwealth, 226 Va. 56,
59, 307 S.E.2d 239, 241 (1983), the Supreme Court of Virginia
held that "[d]ue process does not require that an accused be
given a bifurcated trial when he is charged under a statute
authorizing enhanced punishment for repeating offenders."

In Medici v. Commonwealth, 260 Va. 223,
532 S.E.2d 28 (2000), the Supreme Court recently affirmed this
principle in the context of the Commonwealth’s bifurcated trial
procedure. In Medici, as here, the trial court instructed
the jury that the record of prior conviction "should be
considered . . . only for proof . . . of a prior conviction, and
not as proof that [Crawford] committed the offense for which he
is charged." Id. at 229, 532 S.E.2d at 31-32.
Furthermore, "[u]nless the record shows the contrary [we] presume that the jury followed an explicit cautionary instruction
promptly given." LeVasseur v. Commonwealth, 225 Va.
564, 589, 304 S.E.2d 644, 657 (1983).

Crawford also contends that the record of prior
conviction should not have been admitted because it was not
sufficiently linked to him. Specifically, the record of
conviction of aggravated sexual battery admitted by the trial
court reflected the name of "Charles Edward Crawford"
rather than "Charles Edward Crawford, Jr.".

At trial, Detective Bibeault testified that he
arrested Crawford on a warrant that contained certain identifying
information, including a date of birth. He further testified that
after advising Crawford of his Miranda rights, Crawford
admitted that he had previously been convicted of aggravated
sexual battery. Finally, Bibeault testified that after verifying
the identifying information with Crawford, he obtained a
certified copy of a record of conviction from the Circuit Court
of the City of Alexandria, which indicated that a Charles Edward
Crawford, with a date of birth consistent with that of appellant,
was convicted of aggravated sexual battery on May 23, 1991.

We first note that "[t]he admissibility of
evidence is within the broad discretion of the trial court, and a
ruling will not be disturbed on appeal in the absence of an abuse
of discretion." Jones v. Commonwealth, 32 Va. App.
30, 44, 526 S.E.2d 281, 288 (2000) (citation omitted).
"Identity of names carries with it a presumption of identity
of person, the strength of which will vary according to the
circumstances. . . . Courts in many other
jurisdictions have held that identity of the name of a defendant
and the name of a person previously convicted is prima facie
evidence of identity of person and, absent contrary evidence,
supports a finding of such identity." Cook v.
Commonwealth
, 7 Va. App. 225, 230, 372 S.E.2d 780, 783 (1988)
(citations omitted).

Here, the conviction record bore Crawford’s
name and date of birth; it simply lacked the suffix
"Jr." "Junior is no part of a person’s name."
O’Bannon v. Saunders, 65 Va. (24 Gratt) 138, 146 (1873)
(citation omitted). It is "a mere descriptio personna"
which can be likened to other descriptive additions as
"’attorney at law,’ or ‘president of a rail-road company,’
or ‘resident of the County of Culpepper.’" Id. See
also Basset v. Commonwealth, 222 Va. 844, 855, 284
S.E.2d 844, 851 (1981). As the Commonwealth points out, Crawford
himself omitted the suffix, "Jr." when he signed the Miranda
rights form.

Based on this record, we find no error in the
admission of the record of prior conviction.

Affirmed.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Pursuant to Code ? 17.1-413, this opinion is not
designated for publication.

 

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