Judge Clifford L. Athey Jr.

May 1, 2023

First-degree murder conviction upheld

Where appellant was convicted of first-degree murder, the trial court correctly denied his motion to suppress based on a Miranda violation. Background Appellant Martin was convicted in Tennessee of kidnapping his wife. Martin entered the marital home and “showed his wife a photograph on his cell phone of Pierce [his  who appeared to be dead […]

Apr 10, 2023

No error in statute of limitations rulings

Where appellant defaulted on a bank loan, the circuit court applied the correct statute of limitations, correctly determined the accrual date for the bank’s claim against him and correctly determined how long the statute of limitations was tolled while appellant was in bankruptcy. Background “Appellee Truist Bank is the successor in interest of a $732,000 […]

Apr 10, 2023

No good faith exception to will’s no contest provision

Where the decedent’s will contained a no contest provision, the circuit court correctly declined to adopt a good faith and probable cause exception to enforcing the provision. Background “Helton and his wife Carol were neighbors of Martha and William Stegmaier [the appellees in this case]. Kalle and Butler [Butler is the appellant] are Carol’s grandchildren […]

Apr 3, 2023

Court lacked jurisdiction in disciplinary matter

Where appellant, proceeding pro se, filed disciplinary complaints in the circuit court against a dozen attorneys, the case was correctly dismissed with prejudice for lack of jurisdiction. Appellant, as a complainant, lacks standing to file a disciplinary complaint in any circuit court. The circuit court’s disposition is affirmed. Background Citing alleged unethical conduct, appellant “Daniel [[...]

Apr 3, 2023

Suppression motions incorrectly denied

Where a search warrant authorized a search of appellant at a particular residential address, the police had no authority to search him at a gas station two miles away. Unauthorized search “Jones contends that the search warrant did not authorize the search of his person unless he was present at 65 Riverside Drive. He also […]

Mar 28, 2023

Sufficient evidence supports manslaughter conviction

Where appellant was found guilty of aggravated involuntary manslaughter after he crashed his car into a tree, killing his passenger, the results of his blood alcohol tests at the hospital were properly admitted into evidence despite his chain of custody arguments. Further there was sufficient evidence to establish the three elements of his offense: that […]

Mar 28, 2023

Drug possession conviction reversed

In a split decision, the majority holds that the trial court correctly denied appellant’s motion to suppress but reverses his conviction for possessing etizolam. Background “While investigating a public-indecency complaint, the sheriff’s deputies here spoke with appellant Dana Mark Camann, Jr., in the parking lot of a convenience store. “During that encounter, one deputy noticed […]

Mar 9, 2023

Insufficient proof that ATM was used ‘without authority’

Even assuming an ATM is a computer, appellant did not operate it without authority when she used it to deposit forged checks. Her computer fraud conviction is reversed. The computer fraud statute forbids using a computer without authority to do so. However, the statute does not ban using a computer for unauthorized purposes, such as […]

Mar 7, 2023

No double jeopardy issue in police chase case

Where appellant was convicted of eluding the police in one county, double jeopardy principles do not prevent his prosecution in another county for eluding because there were two separate incidents. Two separate acts “The only relevant inquiry in this case is whether Wilson committed a separate offense of eluding in Pittsylvania County. “Without question, Wilson […]

Homes in homeowners' association
Feb 27, 2023

Appeals court: HOA inspection fees unlawful

A challenge to inspection fees assessed by a homeowners’ association in a large development has succeeded after the Court of Appeals of Virginia found that the individual fees weren’t expressly authorized by the association’s declaration. The appellate court was unpersuaded by the association’s argument that the fees weren’t prohibited by statute because they applied to […]

Feb 17, 2023

Inmate not beneficiary of jail housing contract

Where the Culpepper County sheriff and the Piedmont Regional Jail Authority entered a contract under which PRJA would provide housing and medical care to the sheriff’s inmates, appellant inmate is not an intended third-party beneficiary of the contract. Therefore, he lacks standing to obtain a declaration that the sheriff must pay his medical expenses suffered […]

Feb 16, 2023

$1.6 million medical malpractice verdict upheld

There was sufficient evidence of causation to support a jury verdict for appellee in this medical malpractice suit against a practice group and a doctor. Causation “Emergency Physicians contend that the trial court erred in denying their motion to strike Hanger’s evidence because the evidence failed to establish causation. We disagree. … “[T]he jury could […]

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