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Alleged sentencing errors not preserved for review

Where appellant claims the trial court abused its discretion by imposing sentences that exceeded the sentencing guidelines, his failure to object dooms his appeal.


“At the sentencing hearing, the circuit court considered the completed PSR and numerous victim witness impact statements presented by the Commonwealth. The PSR listed appellant’s criminal history and provided the circuit court with a guidelines range calling for four years and eleven months at the low end, nine years and three months at the midpoint, and eleven years and one month at the high end.

“After considering the facts of the case, the PSR, the victim witness impact statements, and appellant’s criminal history, the circuit court sentenced appellant to ten years on the voluntary manslaughter charge with no time suspended, fifteen years on the malicious wounding charge with eight years suspended, and three years on the shooting in the commission of a felony charge with no time suspended, resulting in an active period of incarceration of twenty years.

“This appeal followed.”

Appeal issues not preserved

“Appellant contends that the circuit court erred in sentencing him to ‘a term exceeding the recommended guidelines’” and argues there ‘were no aggravating factors present’ requiring ‘a sentence outside the recommended guideline range.’

“Rule 5A:18 mandates, ‘No ruling of the trial court … will be considered as a basis for reversal unless an objection was stated with reasonable certainty at the time of the ruling, except for good cause shown or to enable this Court to attain the ends of justice.’

“Appellant concedes on brief that he did not preserve an objection to the circuit court’s decision to sentence him to a period of incarceration that was greater than what the guidelines recommended.

“Further, he does not ask this Court to hear his appeal under the ends of justice or good cause exceptions found in Rule 5A:18. We have long held that we will not raise the ends of justice or good cause exceptions sua sponte on a defendant’s behalf.”


Read v. Commonwealth, Record No. 0953-21-2, Aug. 16, 2022. CAV (Humphreys) From the Circuit Court of the City of Fredericksburg (Willis) John M. Spencer for appellant. Robin M. Nagel, Jason S. Miyares for appellee. VLW 022-7-332, 4 pp. Unpublished opinion.

VLW 022-7-332

Virginia Lawyers Weekly