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Judge Marla Graff Decker

Sep 9, 2021

Court erred by finding speedy trial violation

The trial court erred by weighing a COVID-19 delay significantly in defendant’s favor when dismissing the charges against him on constitutional speedy trial grounds. Length of delay “The Commonwealth contends that the circuit court’s constitutional speedy trial analysis was erroneous in several respects. It suggests that the court inappropriately weighed several factors under the balancing [[...]

Aug 24, 2021

Husband not required to get new life insurance policy

Where there were no life insurance policies naming wife as beneficiary when the court issued the final divorce decree, the court incorrectly ordered husband to obtain a new $100,000 policy for wife’s benefit. No statutory authority “A ‘court may order a party to … maintain any existing life insurance policy on the insured party’s life […]

Aug 16, 2021

Employer did not prove safety rule violation

Where claimant crushed her hand between the walk-behind fork truck she was operating and a metal crate, the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission correctly affirmed the deputy commissioner’s decision to approve claimant’s application for benefits. The employer did not prove that the injury resulted from a violation of a known safety rule. Prior proceedings The claimant […]

Aug 16, 2021

Second deferred disposition of drug charge properly denied

Where appellant received a deferred disposition of a marijuana possession charge in 2007, the trial court correctly ruled that he could not receive a deferred disposition of a methamphetamine possession charge under the amended version of the deferred disposition statute. Appellant’s argument “The appellant argues that the trial court erred by interpreting Code § 18.2-251 […]

Jul 20, 2021

Sufficient evidence supports child cruelty conviction

There was sufficient evidence to convict appellant of child cruelty. The evidence supports findings that she caused a child to be kept in a cage at night and withheld food from her. Further, appellant did not properly preserve her constitutional challenge to Code § 40.1-103, the statute under which she was convicted. Overview Robert Mollenhauer, […]

Jul 15, 2021

Blood spatter evidence had proper foundation

The trial court correctly determined that testimony from state police special agent concerning blood spatter evidence had a proper foundation. A photograph of a bloodstain on one of appellant’s tennis shoes from which the special agent drew her conclusions was admitted without objection. Any questions about the photograph’s accuracy goes to the weight of the […]

Jun 29, 2021

Victim had privacy expectation when video was created

Even though the victim undressed while appellant was in her bedroom, she covered herself with a blanket before he began making a video recording and thus had a reasonable expectation of privacy. Appellant was properly convicted of the unlawful creation of an image of another because he ignored her pleas to stop and pulled the […]

Apr 30, 2021

Medical provider billed at prevailing community rate

Where the employer claimed a medical provider’s bills for treating a workers’ compensation claimant could not constitute prima facie evidence that the amount charged was reasonable, the commission correctly concluded that the amounts charged were presumed to be reasonable. The commission also correctly determined that the employer’s efforts to rebut the presumption was “an unreasonable [&h[...]

Mar 4, 2021

Protective sweep of car was lawful search

Where a caller told the police two men and a woman were blocking his driveway with a car and brandished a firearm, a responding officer correctly made a protective search of the car after seeing appellant apparently concealing something under the driver’s seat and then quickly leaving the vehicle. Incriminating items, including a substance found […]

Feb 5, 2021

Injury did not arise out of employment

Even though the claimant’s injury arose during the course of his employment, he was correctly denied workers’ compensation benefits because the injury did not arise out of his employment as a plumber.  There was no evidence that the circumstances under which he stepped from the back door of his van and injured his knee would […]

Feb 5, 2021

Insufficient evidence appeal procedurally defaulted

Appellant’s appeal cannot be considered because he did not timely file transcripts. Although the trial court heard and denied a post-trial motion to reconsider the guilty verdict after sentencing appellant, this did not extend the deadline for filing the transcripts. The sentencing order was the final order in the case. Background After a bench trial, […]

Jan 8, 2021

Husband remains liable for marital debt despite refinancing

Where the parties’ property settlement made husband liable for all marital debts, his subsequent loan default and post-marriage refinancing by both husband and wife did not make wife responsible for half of the new loan. Overview During the parties’ marriage, both of them signed for a loan from Farm Credit, using wife’s separately owned real […]

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