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Judge Clifford L. Athey Jr.

Jan 21, 2023

Sentences were within guidelines range

The trial court properly considered mitigating factors and appellant’s prior behavior when sentencing him for several drug crimes. Appellant “Travis asserts that the Pittsylvania County Circuit Court … abused its discretion when it sentenced him to eight years’ incarceration on each distribution conviction, and five years’ incarceration on the distribution of imitation heroin conviction;[...]

Jan 12, 2023

Trial court’s suppression of evidence reversed

Even though appellant, in responding to a police request for a voluntary polygraph exam, said, “Can I speak to a lawyer about that?,” this was “a question ‘about’ counsel, rather than a request for counsel.” As a result, the trial court incorrectly suppressed any statements appellant made after his question, as well as the results […]

Dec 20, 2022

Sufficient evidence supports grand larceny conviction

Sufficient circumstantial evidence support appellant’s conviction for grand larceny of a motor vehicle. Evidence Schafer argues that the trial court erred in convicting him of grand larceny because the evidence was insufficient to prove that he was the one who stole the Explorer. We disagree. … “[T]he totality of the circumstantial evidence supports the trial […]

Dec 5, 2022

$350K jury verdict upheld

A jury’s $350,000 verdict in a breach of contract case was upheld after the Court of Appeals of Virginia found no error in the trial court’s decision. On appeal, the plaintiff assigned error to the Virginia Beach Circuit Court’s entry of judgment on the verdict, its decision to award attorney’s fees against him and the […]

Nov 29, 2022

$350K jury verdict for fraudulent transfer upheld

A jury’s $350,000 verdict for damages arising from appellant’s fraudulent conveyance of assets in this breach of contract case is upheld. The award was consistent with the jury instructions, to which appellant did not object. Overview The contract between Boyd, the appellant and sole owner of Charge Virginia, LLC, and Weisberg, the appellee, provided that […]

Oct 9, 2022

Evidence supports strangulation conviction

The trial court correctly found that the commonwealth used due diligence to locate a trial witness and, because it was unable to do so, the preliminary hearing transcript was properly admitted into evidence. There was sufficient evidence to convict the appellant of strangulation. Transcript Moore, the victim in this case, testified at a preliminary hearing […]

Oct 9, 2022

Alibi correctly barred in sex crimes case

In this sex crimes case, the trial court correctly excluded testimony on the ground that it was not properly disclosed before trial, there was sufficient evidence to support the convictions and the jury was correctly instructed that they were entitled to infer that every person intends the natural and probable consequences of his acts. Background […]

Sep 30, 2022

Sufficient evidence to convict for theft offenses

A detective’s identification of appellant from a security video provided sufficient evidence that appellant was involved with a burglary, grand larceny, larceny of a firearm, conspiracy to commit burglary, and credit card theft. Inference “[S]ince we conclude below that White, the appellant, was reliably identified as the individual who accompanied Cahill into the Walmart, the […]

Sep 1, 2022

Speedy trial rights were not violated

On remand from the Supreme Court of Virginia, we find appellant’s statutory and constitutional speedy trial rights were not violated when the presiding judge declared a mistrial after he injured his back. Further, the judge correctly denied a defense motion for his recusal from the second trial. Statutory speedy trial claim “Under Code § 19.2-243, […]

Aug 23, 2022

Bus video sufficient to prove malice

A bus security video showing appellant twice striking the victim with a bottle was sufficient to establish the necessary malice for a malicious wounding conviction. Prior contact? Appellant “Acheampong … testified that in 2015, he had come into contact with Ali who was working at a 7-Eleven in Virginia Beach. [‘Ali testified, however, that he […]

Aug 8, 2022

Victim provided credible evidence about assault

The victim provided credible evidence that appellant beat her on two different occasions after she initially refused to drive him to an automotive race track. Delayed report The victim, Garver, appellant Sturdy’s live-in girlfriend, testified that the first assault occurred on Oct. 24, 2020. The second occurred on Oct. 25. Although there were several opportunities […]

Jul 19, 2022

Denying funds to pay experts was error

Appellant’s jury conviction for several sex crimes involving a 13-year-old child must be reversed. The trial court incorrectly denied several requests for funds to pay for experts to bolster appellant’s defense that a particular interrogation technique led him to falsely confess to the crimes. Some denials appropriate “Smith contends that he was denied a fair […]

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