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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 […]

Sep 6, 2023

Testimony of firearms expert properly admitted

The trial court correctly refused to admit testimony from appellant’s firearms expert because the proffered testimony would attack the credibility of the prosecution’s firearms expert. His convictions for first-degree murder and firearm offenses are affirmed. At issue in this case is whether tool markings on shell casings found at the double murder scene matched barrel […]

Sep 6, 2023

Denied juror strike warrants new trial

Where a juror at appellant’s rape trial “never committed to ‘render[ing] a verdict based solely on the law and evidence presented at trial,’” the trial court erred by not striking the juror for cause. Overview Appellant “was convicted by a jury of rape, second or subsequent offense, … and assault and battery[.] … “Appellant contends […]

Sep 6, 2023

Court lack power to modify unserved sentence

The court lacks power under Virginia Code § 19.2-303 “to modify an unserved jail sentence imposed in revocation of a suspended sentence.” Order void ab initio “The Court has before it the question whether a jail sentence imposed in revocation of a suspended penitentiary sentence was modifiable under Virginia Code § 19.2-303 at any time […]

Aug 30, 2023

Suspended sentences properly revoked

Where appellant did not comply with a court-ordered term of his probation, this was a non-technical violation that justified the court’s revocation of prior suspended sentences and imposition of a six-month active term. Unreasonable refusal Burford, convicted of a sex crime, assault and battery, and stalking, appeals a circuit court decision that revoked “his previously […]

Aug 30, 2023

Appellant prosecuted under repealed statute

Where appellant violated a statute before its repeal, he can be prosecuted for the violation. The statute’s repeal was not retroactive. It is immaterial that he was not indicted until after the repeal. The date of the offense controls. Background Before its repeal on July 1, 2021, Code § 18.2-104, “provided enhanced punishment for repeat […]

Aug 30, 2023

Emotional support emu is companion animal

Where defendant keeps a pet emu on his premises, the emu’s classification is best understood as a companion animal, which is permissible under the relevant city ordinance. Overview Defendant owns a “domesticated pet emu” named Nimbus, that he keeps at his home in a suburban neighborhood. “Defendant’s testimony was unchallenged that he has suffered from […]

Aug 28, 2023

Officer didn’t have ‘immediate physical ability’ to make arrest

A police officer was too far away from a defendant and didn’t have the “immediate physical ability” to arrest him, the Court of Appeals of Virginia has held, reversing the defendant’s conviction.

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