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Oct 3, 2023

Child’s incompetency doesn’t bar out-of-court statements

Even though the young victim was declared incompetent to testify, the trial court correctly admitted her out-of-court statements as evidence. Statement of the case “A jury convicted Dilliraj Bista of anal sodomy of a child under the age of 13, in violation of Code § 18.2-67.1, and aggravated sexual battery, in violation of Code § […]

Oct 3, 2023

Petitions to expunge incorrectly denied

Where appellant sought expungement of his record after being acquitted of malicious wounding and attempted robbery, the trial court erred by denying his petitions after ruling “that appellant failed to prove he ‘would’ be denied a job or apartment opportunities despite the acquittal.” Reasonable possibility “[T]he evidence was uncontroverted that appellant was acquitted of the […]

Oct 3, 2023

Evidence supports controlled substance conviction

Where appellant was detained on suspicion of shoplifting, there was sufficient evidence to convict her of possessing a controlled substance after a baggie of methamphetamine was found next to where she had been sitting while a police officer searched her purse. Overview “Stafford County Sheriff’s Deputy Crossett arrived at a store in response to a […]

Oct 3, 2023

No Fourth, Fifth Amendment violations in man’s case

Appellant’s conviction for voluntary manslaughter is affirmed. The police did not unlawfully detain and arrest him, nor was he improperly questioned. Reasonable suspicion “On appeal, Smith argues the circuit court erred in denying his motions to suppress evidence because the police violated his Fourth Amendment rights when they seized and detained him for investigation. … […]

Sep 25, 2023

Resentencing ordered in probation violation case

The trial court properly conducted separate hearings for each of appellant’s probation violations. However, the case is remanded for resentencing. The trial court imposed six 14-day sentences, to run consecutively, for technical violations of probation conditions. But “Code § 19.2-306.1(A) requires that multiple technical violations arising out of a single course of conduct only count [&helli[...]

Sep 25, 2023

Amended traffic stop statute not retroactive

Appellant’s convictions for driving with a revoked license while intoxicated and for driving while intoxicated, or DWI, third offense within 10 years, are affirmed. An amended statute that prohibits traffic stops for, among other things, a missing tag light — the situation in this case — does not apply retroactively. Further, the trial court properly […]

Sep 25, 2023

Motion to revoke bond unsealed

On remand from the Virginia Supreme Court, a motion to revoke bond and two exhibits will be unsealed because there is no compelling government interest in keeping those documents sealed. Introduction “This decision examines the issue of whether the Commonwealth’s ‘Motion to Revoke Bond’ and the two attached exhibits should remain sealed, either in whole […]

Sep 11, 2023

Man committed ‘substantial act’ furthering prostitution

Where appellant was convicted for the felony of soliciting prostitution from a minor, the trial court correctly determined that he “completed the required element of ‘a substantial act in furtherance’ of an offer for prostitution[.]” Background Appellant Thorton responded to an online advertisement for escort services placed by “Emma.” The advertisement stated she was 19 […]

Sep 11, 2023

Permanent injuries suffered in malicious wounding case

Where appellant was convicted of aggravated malicious wounding, there was sufficient evidence that the victim suffered a “permanent and significant physical impairment.” Further, the trial court correctly ruled that appellant did not establish an affirmative defense of insanity. Relevant law“Under Code § 18.2-51.2(A), any person who ‘maliciously shoots, stabs, cuts or wounds any other per[...]

Sep 11, 2023

DUI cannot be expunged

Where defendant was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, or DUI, and the charge was later amended to reckless driving, the court denies his motion to expunge the DUI. “A separate and unrelated charge may be expunged[.]” Because the DUI and reckless driving charges in this case “share a common nucleus of operative […]

Sep 11, 2023

Motion to suppress evidence denied

Where police observed marijuana smoke coming from a vehicle defendant occupied, there was no violation of Code § 4.1-1302, which prohibits the police from stopping, searching or seizing persons, places or things “solely on the basis of the odor of marijuana[.]” The presence of smoke, in addition to the odor of marijuana, justified defendant’s seizure. […]

Sep 11, 2023

Vehicle search evidence suppressed

Although an obscured license plate on defendant’s vehicle provided the police reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop, there was no probable cause for a subsequent vehicle search. Evidence found during the search will be suppressed. Traffic stop “The Defendant argues that the initial traffic stop was unconstitutional since there did not exist enough evidence […]

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