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Transporting Firearm Is Separate Offense

In successive appeals of his two jury trial convictions for violent-felon firearm possession, the Court of Appeals rejects defendant’s double jeopardy argument:  the gun defendant threw running from police and the gun found at his mother’s home were separate offenses allowing conviction for each.

Police conducted surveillance of defendant at his mother’s house.  After he left in a car, police stopped him for speeding.  Defendant ran and a .357 Magnum handgun was found in his flight path.  A search warrant for his mother’s home revealed another gun in a bedroom with his personal belongings.  At defendant’s request, the charges were severed for trial; after his first conviction, defendant moved to dismiss the second charge on double jeopardy grounds.  The trial court denied the motion.

In separate appeals, defendant presses his double jeopardy argument that possessing two guns simultaneously is a single offense. We agree with the commonwealth that his transporting one gun was a separate offense for purposes of Va. Code § 18.2-308.2.  Baker v. Commonwealth, 284 Va. 572 (2012), allows conviction for each separate act or occurrence of illegal possession proved.  Defendant constructively possessed the gun found at his mother’s house.   Defendant possessed the guns at separate locations at separate times.  Acey v. Commonwealth, 29 Va. App. 240 (1999), is inapplicable:  defendant here did not limit his possession of multiple firearms to a unified act of possession.

Bradshaw v. Commonwealth (Coleman) Nos. 1067-12-2 and 1350-12-2, Sept. 24, 2013; Chesterfield Cir.Ct. (Burgess) Philip A. Roberts Jr. for appellant; John W. Blanton, AAG, for appellee. VLW 013-7-248(UP), 5 pp.

VLW 013-7-248

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