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COMMONWEALTH v. JUARES

A trial court did not err in denying motions for a mistrial and to set aside the verdict in a sexual battery prosecution based on an ex parte communication between the jury and court personnel during deliberations. The communication was not presumptively prejudicial as a matter of law because it did not concern matters pending before the jury, and the defendant failed to establish that he was prejudiced by the communication. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed and the conviction is reinstated.

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GREEN v. VIRGINIA STATE BAR

In an attorney's appeals of right from the judgment of a three-judge panel convened pursuant to Code § 54.1-3935(B) suspending his license to practice law, and a separate Order of a Disciplinary Board suspending the license for an additional 45-day period, a number of procedural arguments are reviewed. No error is found in the panel's judgment imposing a 6-month suspension of the attorney's license to practice law, and no abuse of discretion is found in the Board's additional 45-day suspension.

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JUDICIAL INQUIRY AND REVIEW COMM'N v. SHULL

In considering a complaint filed by the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission against a general district court judge alleging that he violated the Canons of Judicial Conduct by deciding a visitation issue based on coin tosses, requiring a litigant to repeatedly engage in humiliating conduct in open court, and initiating an improper ex parte telephone call regarding a disputed material matter, the record establishes by clear and convincing evidence that the judge disregarded the dignity of the litigants and the judicial process with respect to these proceedings. Based on these actions, as well as the judge's failure to heed the Commission?s prior advice, the judge is removed from office.

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ELLIOTT v. WARDEN (ORDER) (124926)

Upon consideration of a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, respondent's motion to dismiss the petition is granted. Petitioner's claims alleging violations of the Commonwealth's obligations under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) are rejected as being without merit, his various claims of ineffective assistance of counsel are rejected as not satisfying the two-pronged test enunciated in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), and his remaining claims are likewise rejected as lacking merit or as being either procedurally barred or improperly raised. <a href="http://www.courts.state.va.us:80/opinions/opnscvwp/1031610.pdf">(See the Opinion, 031610 Elliott (Larry) v. Commonwealth, dated 03/05/2004)</a><br>

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DAGNER v. ANDERSON

In a wrongful death medical malpractice action against an emergency room physician, testimony from an expert medical witness as to the cause of the decedent?s injury and death was relevant to the question of the defendant physician?s alleged negligence in discharging the decedent from the emergency department of the hospital where she was being treated, but the trial court erred in accepting the tendered witness, whose familiarity with a particular condition asserted as the cause of injury and death lacked a sufficient basis. The case is remanded for new trial on all issues.

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BILLIPS v. COMMONWEALTH (124927)

Admissibility of opinion evidence based upon plethysmograph testing at a sentencing proceeding requires the same threshold finding of reliability of the scientific method as applies to the use of scientific evidence in judicial proceedings generally. The burden of making a prima facie showing of that foundation rests upon the proponent of the evidence, subject to the opponent?s opportunity for cross-examination and refutation. Here, the Court of Appeals erred in reversing that burden, requiring the defendant to introduce evidence of unreliability of this technique. The judgment is reversed and the case is remanded for resentencing.

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BILLIPS v. COMMONWEALTH

Admissibility of opinion evidence based upon plethysmograph testing at a sentencing proceeding requires the same threshold finding of reliability of the scientific method as other expert proof. The burden of making a prima facie showing of that foundation rests upon the proponent of the evidence, subject to the opponent?s opportunity for cross-examination and refutation. Here, the Court of Appeals erred in reversing that burden, requiring the defendant to introduce evidence of unreliability of this technique. The judgment is reversed and the case is remanded for resentencing.

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JACKSON v. COMMONWEALTH (124928)

In a case where a hospital emergency room nurse administered a physician-prescribed narcotic pain analgesic to the defendant, who shortly thereafter caused his car to collide with a telephone pole, leading to a charge of violating Code § 18.2-266 by driving under the influence of a narcotic drug or any other self-administered intoxicant, the meaning of the statutory phrase is quite clear: the narcotic drug that the operator of the motor vehicle is "under the influence of" must be self-administered. Finding no merit in the Commonwealth's arguments, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed and the defendant's conviction for violation of Code § 18.2-266 is dismissed.

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PEREZ v. COMMONWEALTH

Petitions in juvenile court and an undated order provided clear and non-conjectural proof of prior juvenile adjudications of guilt for acts that would have been felonies if committed by an adult, and that such convictions occurred before the date of the incident for which defendant is presently charged. Thus the Commonwealth?s evidence was sufficient to support the defendant's conviction for felony possession of a firearm, and the judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed.

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MARCUS, SANTORO & KOZAK v. WU

The circuit court correctly determined that the lien of a writ of fieri facias under Code § 8.01-501 required two Virginia law firms to cease disbursing funds from their trust accounts in satisfaction of accrued legal fees and related costs and to pay those funds to a judgment creditor effective with the issuance of the writ of fieri facias. The judgment of the circuit court is affirmed.

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MEEKS v. COMMONWEALTH

Because the crime of credit card theft is completed where the card or number is unlawfully taken from its rightful owner or is received with knowledge that it has been taken and with the intent to use it, sell it, or transfer it, venue in a prosecution for credit card theft was not proper in a city where the defendant used the card and was arrested, because the offense was completed in another locale where the card was stolen. Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed and the indictment is dismissed.

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SCOTT v. COMMONWEALTH

In a criminal prosecution, the circuit court abused its discretion in granting the Commonwealth?s motion that a defendant be tried in a single case for nine robberies and other related crimes involving different victims that occurred in various locations on different dates over a four-month period. The Commonwealth failed to establish that the offenses pending against the defendant constituted parts of a "common scheme or plan" within the meaning of Rule 3A:6(b). The judgment of the Court of Appeals upholding the defendant's convictions is reversed, and the case is remanded to the Court of Appeals with directions.

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MCGOWAN v. COMMONWEALTH

In a prosecution for cocaine distribution, the trial court erred in admitting evidence of a subsequent crime committed by the defendant for the purpose of impeaching the credibility of the defendant?s testimony during cross-examination. The judgment of the Court of Appeals upholding her convictions is reversed, and the case is remanded for a new trial if the Commonwealth be so advised.

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LITTLE v. COOKE

In a partnership derivative suit alleging counts for breach of fiduciary duty and legal malpractice, issues relating to an award of ?tax damages,? damages for over-charges, and wrongfully withheld funds, punitive damages and the award of attorneys? fees and expenses to be paid from a ?common fund? awarded to the partnership, and questions relating to the damages appropriate where real estate was allegedly sold below its value, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed in part and reversed in part, and the case is remanded.

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LARGE v. COMMONWEALTH

No error in appellant?s conviction of involuntary manslaughter where evidence was sufficient to prove appellant owned two of the dogs involved in the attack and knew or should have known they were dangerous; no error in trial court?s refusal to appoint appellant a trace evidence expert or an animal behavior expert

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FLORIO v. CLARK

Trial court did not err in finding clear and convincing evidence of special and unique circumstances rebutting the presumption of favor of awarding custody of child to parent, in denying custody of child to appellant, and in finding best interests of child would be served by awarding custody of child to aunt and her husband

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HOBSON v. COMMONWEALTH

Trial court did not err in admitting certificate of analysis where evidence proved Commonwealth provided copy of certificate pursuant to appellant?s first attorney?s discovery request and did not provide copy to appellant?s second attorney despite his timely request

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HARRISON v. OCEAN VIEW FISHING PIER

Trial court erred in finding that the Board?s decision issuing ABC licenses with restrictions was arbitrary and capricious; matter remanded to trial court for remand to the Board to make findings and conclusions of law to support its decision regarding the licenses

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MARCELLUS CARDELL GRAY v. COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

Trial court did not err in denying motion to suppress as conduct at issue in appellant?s conviction of felony eluding occurred subsequent to any attempted unlawful detention; evidence proved appellant?s driving endangered pedestrians and other drivers

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RASHAD v. COMMONWEALTH

No error in trial court?s refusal to suppress statements made by appellant where appellant initiated further conversation with the police and voluntarily waived his right to counsel; trial court did not err in convicting appellant of use of a firearm in commission of statutory burglary as Code § 18.2-53.1 refers to generic term burglary

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JAMIL ALI RASHAD v. COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

No error in trial court?s refusal to suppress statements made by appellant where appellant initiated further conversation with the police and voluntarily waived his right to counsel; trial court did not err in convicting appellant of use of a firearm in commission of statutory burglary as Code § 18.2-53.1 refers to generic term burglary

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KELVIN MAURICE BELTON v. COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

Trial court erred in finding Commonwealth?s evidence of force sufficient to sustain a conviction of felony obstruction; as evidence did prove appellant obstructed officer in performance of his duties, matter remanded for resentencing on lesser-included misdemeanor obstruction conviction

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ALAN K. BANKS v. VALERIE BROWN

Trial court did not err in denying appellant?s request to reduce spousal support award where no evidence proved material change in circumstances to warrant a reduction; trial court did not err in awarding appellee her attorneys? fees

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FAYE M. ALLEN v. LAWRENCE C. ALLEN

Trial court did not err in refusing to grant appellant a divorce on ground of constructive desertion, granting appellee a divorce on ground of desertion, refusing award of spousal support to appellant or in refusing her request for attorney?s fees

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WAL-MART ASSOCIATES, INC., AND ET AL v. JONATHAN EDWARD CANNON

Commission did not err in finding appellants owed unpaid wage benefits and a penalty to appellee under an open award where employer had all the necessary information to file a change-in-circumstances application when appellant went back to work shortly after his injury and failed to do so despite being reminded several times

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BELTON v. COMMONWEALTH

Trial court erred in finding Commonwealth?s evidence of force sufficient to sustain a conviction of felony obstruction; as evidence did prove appellant obstructed officer in performance of his duties, matter remanded for resentencing on lesser-included misdemeanor obstruction conviction

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PERNELL ANDREW HOBSON v. COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

Trial court did not err in admitting certificate of analysis where evidence proved Commonwealth provided copy of certificate pursuant to appellant?s first attorney?s discovery request and did not provide copy to appellant?s second attorney despite his timely request

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RAIKES v. COMMONWEALTH

Trial court did not err in denying motion to strike evidence where review of entire record shows it is clear that the correct date of appellant?s arrest was in evidence and time is not element of driving under the influence

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BANKS v. BROWN

Trial court did not err in denying appellant?s request to reduce spousal support award where no evidence proved material change in circumstances to warrant a reduction; trial court did not err in awarding appellee her attorneys? fees

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LOGAN v. COMMONWEALTH

Trial court did not err in admitting evidence of appellant?s possession of cocaine in this revocation proceeding as the exclusionary rule does not apply to revocation hearings; trial court did not err in revoking probation finding a violation of good behavior provision where record shows appellant had notice of what probation violations were lodged against him

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ALLEN v. ALLEN

Trial court did not err in refusing to grant appellant a divorce on ground of constructive desertion, granting appellee a divorce on ground of desertion, refusing award of spousal support to appellant or in refusing her request for attorney?s fees

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