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Published Order

May 28, 2019

No recovery for tire explosion injury

An insurer is not liable for a truck driver’s injuries caused by a tire that exploded while the insured party was repairing it because insurance policy unambiguously excluded claims arising from the maintenance of any “auto.” Overview Smith, a truck driver, needed a tire on his tractor-trailer repaired or replaced and sought to have Doswell […]

May 28, 2019

Any hearsay error was harmless in arson case

Defendant’s arson conviction is affirmed despite his argument that admission of a witness’s written report to a fire marshal was inadmissible hearsay. Any error was harmless in light of the other evidence presented at trial. Background Vaught, a Marine stationed at Quantico, owed more on his Hummer vehicle than what he could get on a […]

May 13, 2019

Evidentiary error requires new trial on damages

The circuit court erred by allowing an assault victim to present evidence that as a result of an altercation with his attackers, he was arrested, had to post bail, hire an attorney to defend him on the resulting charges and was evicted from his apartment. This case is remanded for a new trial limited to […]

Apr 28, 2019

Felon’s ammo possession conviction is upheld

The Court of Appeals correctly determined there was sufficient evidence to find that defendant, a convicted felon, violated Code § 18.2-308.2(A) by constructively possessing shotgun shells found in his pickup truck. Overview Police officers searched appellant Hodnett’s residence and found a loaded rifle in the closet of a bedroom that Robertson occupied. Robertson explained he […]

Apr 28, 2019

Court correctly refused to excuse venire members

Where plaintiff challenges a verdict for the defense in this medical malpractice case on the basis that the court should have excused two venire members for cause, the verdict is upheld because both venire members ultimately harbored no bias and were willing to follow the court’s instructions. First venire member Leone has a nursing license […]

Apr 25, 2019

Missing record number in joint appeal is not defect

Where the proceedings for defendant’s plea-based convictions of new crimes and his probation revocation had separate record numbers, his failure to list both numbers in his joint appeal was not a jurisdictional defect that justified dismissing the non-listed case. Background While on probation, Bryant pleaded guilty to several crimes. As a result of these new […]

Apr 25, 2019

JDR court had jurisdiction to modify support award

Where the juvenile and domestic relations court denied appellant’s request to modify a child support order and he appealed to the circuit court but later withdrew it, the JDR court did not lose jurisdiction to modify the support order. Even though the circuit court’s order noting that the appeal was withdrawn did not expressly remand […]

Apr 25, 2019

Late habeas corpus petition dismissed

The statute of limitations governing habeas corpus petitions does not violate the Virginia Constitution’s Suspension Clause. Background Petitioner Brown seeks habeas relief from his 1970 murder conviction and the resulting life sentence. In 2016, Brown filed his habeas petition along with a petition for a writ of actual innocence based on biological evidence. The actual […]

Apr 25, 2019

Appellant properly required to register as violent sex offender

Where appellant’s Idaho conviction of sexually abusing a child under the age of 16 required him to annually register as a sex offender in that state, he was properly required, based on Code § 9.1-902(F)(ii), to register as a sexually violent offender in Virginia after he moved here. Appellant’s conviction for failing to timely reregister […]

Apr 10, 2019

Order confirming just compensation award was final for appeal purposes

The 30-day period in which to appeal a jury’s just compensation award in this condemnation case began to run when the circuit court entered its order confirming the award. The confirmation order is the final order in the case under Code § 25.1-239.  The fact that the order stated “the [c]ourt shall retain jurisdiction” over […]

Apr 10, 2019

Harmless error ruling not challenged, conviction upheld

Where a police officer, after fatally wounding a shoplifting suspect, told a store loss-prevention officer, “I need you as a witness. It’s my second one[,]” his voluntary manslaughter conviction is affirmed because he did not challenge the Court of Appeals’ ruling that any error in admitting the statement was harmless. Overview Rankin, a police officer, […]

Apr 1, 2019

Counsel’s failure to appear due to illness warranted continuance

Where the circuit court sua sponte dismissed plaintiff’s personal injury case with prejudice after counsel informed the court and opposing counsel that he was too ill to appear for trial, the court abused its discretion by denying plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration after counsel provided additional details about his illness Facts Seeraj-Montague filed a personal injury […]

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