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Criminal Law

CAV: After plea deal, withdrawal would prejudice state (access required)

A defendant who’d agreed to plead guilty to murder could not withdraw his plea, fairly negotiated, based on the subsequent discovery of a witness with potentially exculpatory testimony. Background Appellant Franklin Thomason was at his home with his girlfriend and ...

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SCV: Civil commitment test score not result of negligence (access required)

In dismissing the Commonwealth’s civil-commitment petition, the trial court misapplied Code § 37.2-905.1. Moreover, dismissal was not supported by the evidence. Background Appellee Troy Giddens was convicted of carnal knowledge and attempted carnal knowledge in violation of Code §§ 18.2-26 ...

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SCV: Successive-murder convictions merit multiple sentences (access required)

A defendant who murdered two victims within three years was subject to conviction and sentencing for both crimes under the statutory provision addressing such successive murders. Although the separate indictments merely changed the order in which victims were named, the ...

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4th Cir.: Challenge to factual basis can survive appeal waiver (access required)

Even valid appeal waivers in plea agreements do not necessarily bar claims that the factual basis for a guilty plea is insufficient. In this case, however, the stipulated factual basis and other affirmations by the defendant provided enough support for ...

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4th Cir.: On deferential review, court’s “pause” shows consideration (access required)

At a revocation hearing, a district court asked to reconsider imposing the maximum sentence based on hardship to the defendant’s family did in fact consider that mitigating factor, as shown by the court’s response of “all right” and a subsequent ...

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4th Cir.: Convictions upheld for terrorism fundraisers (access required)

The district court did not err in convicting and sentencing two U.S. citizens who engaged in online fundraising activities for a foreign terrorist organization. The evidence supporting the convictions – obtained through ex parte, in camera FISA review – was ...

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