Where appellant disobeyed a court order to stop filing motions because the court lacked jurisdiction to hear them, the court properly sanctioned appellant $100.
The trial court convicted appellant Schaeffer of speeding and imposed a $50 fine and court costs. “Since then, Schaeffer has filed numerous post-trial motions in the trial court.
“Even after his appeals were denied, Schaeffer continued to file motions in the trial court, asking that his conviction be dismissed. The trial court repeatedly denied the numerous motions, and in a written order … informed Schaeffer that it no longer had jurisdiction over the case.
“[T]he trial court heard argument on Schaeffer’s ‘motion to strike or suppress.’ The trial court denied the motion and in an order entered on February 17, 2022, further ordered that Schaeffer ‘is not permitted to file any more motions in this case, or he may be sanctioned.’ Schaeffer moved for the court to reconsider, and the trial court denied the motion.
“Schaeffer, on March 8, 2022, then filed a ‘Motion for Supplemental Proceeding.’ By order entered on March 25, 2022, the trial court denied the motion for lack of jurisdiction and ordered that Schaeffer ‘be sanctioned for filing the motion after having been ordered to file no further motions in this case.’ The court ordered Schaeffer to ‘pay a fine in the amount of $100.00 payable to the [c]ourt within thirty (30) days.’ Schaeffer appeals.”
“[T]he trial court very clearly instructed Schaeffer not to file any more motions after having repeatedly informed him that it no longer had jurisdiction over the case. Nevertheless, within two weeks of the trial court’s admonition, Schaeffer disregarded the court’s directive and filed another motion.
“Schaeffer admitted that he understood that the trial court no longer had jurisdiction and acknowledged that he knew he was not allowed to file any further motions. Thus, Schaeffer clearly knew that the trial court had prohibited further filings in his case and that his motion was not well-grounded in fact.
“In imposing the sanction, the trial court found that Schaeffer’s motion ‘was absolutely, completely frivolous.’
“Given the clarity of the trial court’s order and Schaeffer’s admission that he knew he was prohibited from filing any more motions in the case, the record fully supports the trial court’s sanction ‘to protect its jurisdiction from harassing conduct that abuses the judicial process.’ …
“Accordingly, we find no abuse of discretion with the trial court’s decision.”
Schaeffer v. City of Fairfax, Record No. 0914-22-4, April 18, 2023. CAV (unpublished opinion) (Fulton III). From the Circuit Court of Fairfax County (Gardiner). Todd Schaeffer pro se. John A. Kassabian for appellee. VLW 023-7-145, 4 pp.