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Judge James W. Haley Jr.

Aug 15, 2023

No instructional error in unlawful shooting case

Where appellant shot six times at a police officer inside an apartment, he was correctly convicted of six counts of unlawful discharge of a firearm in an occupied building. “The jury acquitted Miles of attempted capital murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.” Miles appeals the occupied building shootings. Jury […]

Dec 8, 2022

Criminal history record was admissible hearsay

Copies from a police database of appellant’s prior larceny convictions were properly admitted at trial under the business records exception to the hearsay rule. Overview A store’s loss prevention officer apprehended appellant, who was trying to take two television sets from the store without paying for them. “When Officer Brandon Cherry arrived at the store, […]

Dec 5, 2022

‘Unconscionable’: Last-minute prenup unenforceable

A prenuptial agreement signed the day before a couple’s wedding was unenforceable because the groom failed to disclose $10 million in assets, the Court of Appeals of Virginia has ruled. The groom argued that the lack of disclosure didn’t matter, because the bride should have realized his worth due to her work at his property […]

Nov 8, 2022

First-degree murder conviction affirmed

Where appellant, who was convicted of first-degree murder, asserts he should have been convicted only of attempted murder, the evidence belies his assertion. “Sims challenges the sufficiency of the evidence on two grounds. First, he argues that the Commonwealth failed to prove that he acted with the premeditation required to sustain a first-degree murder conviction. […]

Oct 31, 2022

Closed-circuit testimony proper in sex crimes case

Where appellant was convicted of aggravated sexual battery and four counts of taking indecent liberties with a child, the trial was not flawed when the court allowed the victim to testify via closed circuit television. However, one of the indecent liberties convictions is reversed because the relevant statute requires a proposal to touch a child’s […]

Sep 30, 2022

Opening statement did not preserve issue for appeal

Appellant’s argument that there was insufficient evidence to convict him of aggravated involuntary manslaughter has not been preserved for review. His argument that his opening statement preserved the issue is not well taken. Fatal accident Appellant, who was 20 years old, did not have a driver’s license when he drove to a bar, drank to […]

Sep 24, 2022

Appellate challenge to evidentiary ruling forfeited

Where appellant claims that the trial court erred by playing an audio recording of his interview with a police detective then refused to admit the recording as an exhibit, appellant cannot raise the claim on appeal because he did not first present it to the trial court. Did not preserve “Appellant argues that the trial […]

Sep 24, 2022

Unsafe driving with kids in car was reckless

Where appellant “consumed alcohol,” put four children in her car without protective seats or restraints, lost control of the car on a curve while attempting to use her cellphone, hit trees and rolled the car twice, injuring the children, she was correctly convicted of felony child neglect. Code § 18.2-371.1(B) provides that “Any parent, guardian, […]

Sep 8, 2022

Fingerprint evidence supports firearm offense conviction

Where appellant’s fingerprint was found on a gun that was several feet away from him on the ground, his conviction for possessing a firearm after conviction of a violent felony is affirmed. Overview “Appellant maintains that police obtained his identifying information as a result of an illegal search and seizure, and he seeks to suppress […]

Nov 22, 2021

No attorney fees awarded in post-divorce litigation

Where each party sought an order to have the other party pay attorney fees incurred in connection with father’s petition to show cause regarding mother’s failure to timely provide income information, to participate in a division of disputed person property and to provide father with passwords for the children’s 529 saving accounts, the trial court […]

Oct 19, 2021

Lack of agreement precludes ‘de facto’ award finding

Where there was no written agreement between employer and claimant that he suffered a compensable injury, the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission correctly refused to impute a de facto benefits award. Further, the commission correctly concluded that the evidence showed that claimant did not suffer a compensable injury. Prior proceedings Weather Control employed claimant as an […]

Oct 19, 2021

Victim was incapacitated and helpless in sex crimes case

The commonwealth’s evidence established that a sexual assault victim was mentally incapacitated and physically helpless when appellant assaulted her at a college fraternity party. Legal standard “[E]ach of the offenses in this case – rape, forcible sodomy, and animate object sexual penetration – are committed when a defendant accomplishes the respective sexual acts ‘through the […[...]

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