Judge Dominique A. Callins

Jun 5, 2023

Missing teeth ‘significant and permanent’ injuries

Where appellant punched the victim several times in the mouth, knocking out one tooth and damaging five more that had to be pulled, this was a “significant, permanent injury” within the meaning of the aggravated malicious wounding statute. Appellant’s argument there was no permanent injury because the teeth could be replaced is not well-taken. Background […]

Jun 5, 2023

Child’s statement admissible as excited utterance

A seven-year-old child’s statement that appellant was going to kill the child’s mother was properly admitted under the excited utterance exception to the hearsay rule. Background Appellant Graham had been living with M.E. and her twin sons. As M.E. woke up to take the twins to school, Graham hit M.E., kicked her “multiple times and […]

Jun 5, 2023

Court applied correct standard in adoption case

Appellants failed to object to the court’s statement that the preponderance of the evidence standard applies in this grandparent adoption proceeding. As a result, the issue cannot be reviewed on appeal. Moreover, the court stated in the adoption order that it used the “clear and convincing” standard to review the matter. Failure to object Appellants […]

Jun 1, 2023

‘Transcript’ precluded for impeachment purposes

The trial court correctly prevented appellant from using an unauthenticated document to impeach a witness with a prior inconsistent statement. Further, in this case where appellant was convicted of raping his wife, there was sufficient evidence to convict despite appellant’s attack of his wife’s credibility. ‘Transcript’ “Before trial, defense counsel had an employee transcribe an [&hell[...]

May 23, 2023

Property settlement amendment correctly enforced

Where the marital home became wife’s sole and separate property after the parties amended their property settlement agreement (PSA), the trial court had the authority to enforce the amendment and correctly did so with a declaratory judgment. PSA amendment “At the time of the divorce, the PSA stated: ‘[U]nless the parties agree otherwise in writing, […]

May 23, 2023

Court properly found wife deserted marriage

Even though the record supports grounds for divorce based on the parties living apart for a year or more, the record also supports the trial court’s finding that wife deserted the marriage. The trial court was free to choose either ground. Further, the trial court properly “granted wife a reservation of spousal support in the […]

May 23, 2023

No evidence of vehicle tampering

There was insufficient evidence for the trial court to conclude that appellant adjusted the mirror of a stolen car. His conviction for tampering with a vehicle is reversed. Overview Police found a stolen car “with significant damage.” A police detective searched the car and found a right thumbprint on the front of the rearview mirror.” […]

May 11, 2023

Sufficient evidence supports burglary and firearm convictions

There is sufficient evidence to support appellant’s convictions of “being a violent felon in possession of a firearm, statutory burglary with intent to commit assault and battery, and of brandishing a firearm.” Felon in possession Appellant “Loftis asserts that the only evidence that the instrument he possessed was a firearm was the bullet casing that […]

Apr 10, 2023

Jury’s damages award upheld

Where appellant sued his estranged wife for malicious prosecution and negligence after she falsely accused him of assaultive behavior, the trial court correctly denied his motion to set aside the $24,750 jury verdict, which was based on his argument that had the court granted summary judgment in his favor, the jury would have awarded him […]

Mar 9, 2023

Public welfare includes character of neighborhood

Where county supervisors denied appellant’s special exemption request to rent bedrooms in his house after determining the proposed use would harm the public welfare, the determination correctly included consideration of the neighborhood’s character. Background Appellant Harris bought a house on a two-acre parcel, improved it and sought to rent individual bedrooms. The zoning code allowed [&hel[...]

Feb 16, 2023

State police officer’s discharge upheld

Where a Virginia State Police officer was discharged for failing to follow policy and making false statement regarding an accident with his police vehicle, there were no flaws in the administrative proceedings leading to his discharge or in his subsequent appeal. Criminal matter Brennan backed his police car into another vehicle, damaging both. “Brennan and […]

Feb 1, 2023

Common-law abatement no longer good law

Where a statute repealing Code § 18.2-250.1 (possession of marijuana) was enacted before appellant’s conviction, the common-law rule of abatement does not void his conviction. Virginia’s saving statute, Code § 1-239, controls the result in this case. The conviction is affirmed. Under Code § 1-239, “when the General Assembly explicitly and unambiguously repeals a statute, […[...]

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