Criminal Law

Jul 7, 2022

Sentencing court can consider restrictions on sex offenders’ internet use

Where the sentencing court denied a defendant’s motion to modify eight of his supervised-released conditions because he provided no basis for modification, but two of the conditions, involving restrictions on a sex offender’s internet use, were altered by subsequent Supreme Court and Fourth Circuit decisions, the district court had jurisdiction to consider his challenge to […]

Jul 7, 2022

Defendants’ honest services fraud convictions vacated

Where defendants were charged with paying an insurance commissioner to swap the person regulating one of their companies, and the district court instructed the jury that “the removal or replacement of a senior deputy commissioner by the commissioner would constitute an official act,” but this determination should have been made by the jury and the […]

Jul 7, 2022

Israel-based fraudster fails to dismiss wire fraud charges

Where the defendant argued that wire fraud convictions for her role in a $100 million fraud scheme should be vacated because the scheme was devised and carried out in Israel, her argument was rejected. The statute’s focus is on the use of the wire — not the underlying fraudulent scheme — so the conviction based […]

Jul 7, 2022

Trial court must reconsider sentence

Where the trial court imposed a life sentence and issued a $100,000 fine to appellant after his plea-based conviction for aggravated malicious wounding, the trial court should have granted appellant’s motion to reconsider. The circuit court erred when it determined appellant failed to prove any mitigating circumstances. Further, the court should have considered appellant’s evidence […]

Jul 7, 2022

No jurisdiction without final conviction

Where the appellant seeks to challenge the circuit court’s ruling that it lacked jurisdiction over a general district court’s order granting the commonwealth’s motion to nolle prosequi charges lodged against appellant, the Court of Appeals lacks jurisdiction to review the matter. “As regards this appeal, [appellant] Forness has not been convicted of anything in any […]

Jul 7, 2022

Words alone do not constitute assault

Where appellant, while seated in her car, told the man with whom she was arguing that “You live here. You’ll die here. I’ll burn this bitch down,” these words alone, unaccompanied with an overt act, are insufficient to support an assault conviction. Trash talk Harvey, the appellant in this case, was at the receiving end […]

Jul 7, 2022

Variance between indictment and evidence not fatal

Where appellant’s indictment charged that he abducted a mother and her child, there was not a fatal variance between the indictment and the evidence presented at trial. The commonwealth was not required to prove that appellant abducted both individuals. Legal standards “Brown argues … that there was a fatal variance between the allegations in the […]

Jul 7, 2022

Sufficient evidence that appellant possessed drugs

There was sufficient evidence to conclude that controlled substances found on the side of the road came from the appellant’s vehicle. His convictions for possession with intent to distribute narcotics are affirmed. Credibility contest “‘To convict a defendant of illegal possession of an illicit drug, the Commonwealth must prove either actual or constructive possession by […]

Jul 7, 2022

Circumstantial evidence identifies perpetrator

There was sufficient circumstantial evidence that appellant, and not someone else, committed the crimes that form the basis of his convictions. Sufficient evidence “Frink was convicted of seven offenses: wearing a mask in public, two counts of use of a firearm in a threating manner while committing a felony, abduction, robbery, possession of a firearm […]

Jul 7, 2022

Evidence properly admitted in weapons prosecution

Where appellant was convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted violent felon and carrying a concealed weapon, the police did not violate the Fourth Amendment when they approached his vehicle, which was parked in the middle of the road with its lights on, the engine running, the passenger door slightly open and the […]

Jul 7, 2022

Evidence established criminal intent in sex abuse case

Where the appellant was convicted of aggravated sexual battery, there was sufficient evidence of his criminal intent. Moreover, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by crediting the complaining witness’s testimony. Overview E.Z., the 11-year-old complaining witness, claimed that her grandfather, appellant Diaz, molested her in her bedroom following a family New Year’s Eve […]

Jul 7, 2022

Complaining witness was credible in assault case

Where appellant was convicted of misdemeanor assault, the court properly rejected appellant’s version of the events and instead found the complaining witness testified credibly about the incident. Background Appellant rented a room in a house owned by Nozary, the complaining witness. Appellant owed rent. Nozary told him he needed to pay or leave. Nozary told […]

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