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Judge Gary A. Mills

Jul 24, 2023

No curtilage search after police officer told to leave

Where a police officer was asked to leave the premises, he lacked authority to continue observing defendant’s car, which was parked within the home’s curtilage. Background “Officer Lyons was on patrol and noticed a vehicle that he did not recognize tum into a driveway. The vehicle was parked in a driveway that served adjoining parcels, […]

Feb 4, 2023

CCW under the influence conviction is affirmed

Where defendant was found not guilty of driving under the influence, this did not preclude a conviction for carrying a concealed weapon under the influence of alcohol arising from the same incident. Issue presented “The question before this Court is whether an acquittal of driving under the influence in a court not of record – […]

Feb 4, 2023

JDR court correctly released minor defendant

The JDR court correctly denied the commonwealth’s motion to transfer the minor defendant’s case to circuit court. Further, the court retained jurisdiction while the commonwealth appealed the release decision. Background The commonwealth has appealed the JDR court’s decision to release a 14-year-old defendant from secure detention. The JDR court previously denied the commonwealth’s motion t[...]

Oct 16, 2022

Property settlement controls military pension division

Where defendant husband’s military pension does not include disability pay, Howell v. Howell, 137 S. Ct. 1400 (2017), is inapplicable, and the parties’ property settlement controls the pension division. Howell held that under federal law, a military retiree who opts to take disability pay in lieu of his pension cannot be required to indemnify a […]

May 9, 2022

Court issues pre-trial evidentiary orders

Where the parties contested the admissibility of testimony and argument relating to third-party guilt, the court issued its rulings after considering the parties’ arguments and briefs, as well as additional caselaw and statutory authority. Opening argument Defendant cannot delay his opening statement after evidence has been introduced. “Virginia Code § 19.2-265 relevantly states: ‘On the [&[...]

Mar 28, 2022

Statements after invoking right to be silent admissible

The court denies defendant’s motion to suppress her statements to the police after she invoked her right to remain silent. Background Defendant was arrested for her “suspected involvement in the death of Salahuddin Ibn Shabazz.” She was placed in an interrogation room with two detectives and was advised of her Miranda rights. “[A] detective asked […]

Dec 6, 2021

Legal at the time: Another judge holds traffic stop changes not retroactive

New laws limiting police traffic stops for minor offenses should not restrict prosecution of cases that arose from stops before those laws took effect, a Virginia trial judge has ruled. In Commonwealth v. Eberhardt (VLW 021-8-129), Richmond Circuit Judge W. Reilly Marchant said to hold otherwise would defy common sense and punish police for what […]

Oct 11, 2021

All of defendant’s military retirement pay must be divided

Where defendant, a U.S. Navy retiree, began receiving military retirement pay and later “Concurrent Retirement Disability Pay,” both are military retirement pay that must be divided under the parties’ property settlement. Howell v. Howell, 137 S. Ct. 1400 (2017), which held that that state courts cannot treat as community property any military retirement pay that […]

Oct 4, 2021

Concealed weapon case proceeds in prosecutor’s absence

Where the commonwealth’s attorney declined to prosecute a misdemeanor concealed weapon charge, defendant’s motion to dismiss, based on the prosecutor’s absence, is denied. The court agrees with a recent circuit court opinion, Commonwealth v. Sangha, 2021 WL 1179859 (Fairfax Cnty. Mar. 29, 2021), which concluded that the prosecutor has the discretion not to prosecute misdemeanors. […]

Sep 27, 2021

Misdemeanor charges OK despite lack of prosecutor

A Newport News judge has denied a criminal defendant’s motion to dismiss made after the commonwealth’s attorney declined to prosecute a misdemeanor concealed weapon charge. Judge Gary A. Mills agreed with a Fairfax County Circuit Court holding earlier this year that said a prosecutor has the discretion to not prosecute misdemeanors. But that was as […]

Aug 23, 2021

Traffic stop changes not retroactive

Amendments to the Virginia Code last year prohibiting a traffic stop for excessively tinted windows are not retroactive, a Newport News circuit judge has ruled. He declined to suppress drugs and weapons found during a stop in March 2020. The ruling creates a split in the circuits across Virginia. Earlier this summer, a Roanoke County […]

Apr 30, 2021

Husband not entitled to spousal support

The court issues a final decree of divorce on the grounds that the parties have lived separate and apart, without cohabitation and without interruption for more than one year. The court cannot grant wife’s counterclaim for a divorce based on cruelty because there is no corroborating evidence. Further, husband is not entitled to spousal support […]

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