Thread: Virginia Supreme Court opinions
As tipped off by Virginiaplanter's post earlier, the Virginia Supreme Court issued a boatload of opinions today... Here are some interesting ones more or less related to firearms or OC...
081715 Baker v. Commonwealth 11/05/2009 In a trespass prosecution, proof of the existence of two “no trespassing” signs on the property alone was insufficient to satisfy the elements of trespass set forth in Code § 18.2-119. Without evidence that a “no trespassing” sign was posted by one of the enumerated persons authorized by the statute to prohibit entry upon the property, the Commonwealth failed to put on sufficient evidence of the defendant’s guilt. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed, the conviction under Code § 18.2-119 is vacated and the indictment is dismissed. [Of course, I suppose this just means that in all future trespass cases the CA will provide evidence that the signs were posted by the authorized persons... -TFred]
081920 Waller v. Commonwealth 11/05/2009 In a prosecution for possession of firearms after having been convicted of a felony in which six prior conviction orders not bearing a judicial signature were admitted into evidence, the provisions of Code § 8.01-389(A), which governs admission of records of all judicial proceedings except orders of circuit courts, did not authorize receipt of the orders. Code § 17.1-123(A) sets forth particular authentication requirements for judgment orders, and the six orders in question were admitted in error. Defendant's conviction for possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a violent felony is reversed. However, the evidence was sufficient to convict the defendant of the lesser offense of possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a non-violent felony. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed and the case is remanded for a new sentencing hearing on the lesser offense of possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a non-violent felony.
082228 Smallwood v. Commonwealth 11/05/2009 In a prosecution for possession of a firearm after having been convicted of a felony in violation of Code § 18.2-308.2, the Commonwealth presented sufficient evidence to support conviction based on joint constructive possession of a handgun resting on a console between two front seats of a vehicle the defendant was driving. The judgment of the Court of Appeals upholding the conviction is affirmed. [This is the case posted earlier by Virginiaplanter... -TFred]
090308 Wright v. Commonwealth 11/05/2009 In a prosecution under Code § 18.2-308.4(C) for possession of a firearm while possessing a controlled substance with the intent to distribute, proof of actual, simultaneous possession of the firearm and controlled substance was not required, and a conviction can be sustained by proving constructive possession of the firearm and drugs. Further, no nexus between the possession of the firearm and the illegal activity is required under the statute. The judgment of the Court of Appeals upholding the convictions based on sufficiency of the evidence for the convictions is affirmed.
090337 Montague v. Commonwealth 11/05/2009 In a drug and firearms prosecution, the evidence was sufficient to support the decision of the circuit court denying a motion to suppress narcotics and a handgun found on the person of the defendant during an encounter with police that was consensual, and that defendant was not seized until the police attempted to take him into custody upon learning of his outstanding arrest warrants. The evidence supported the circuit court’s conclusion that a reasonable person in defendant's position would not have thought that he was required to remain in the police officers’ presence after providing them with the requested information regarding his identity. The evidence was also sufficient to show that defendant acted with the intent to inflict physical harm upon one of the arresting officers and to impede the officers’ ability to subdue him, when he struck one of the arresting officers in the chest with his elbow while being taken into custody. Thus the Court of Appeals did not err in concluding that the evidence was sufficient to convict defendant of the crime of assault and battery of a law enforcement officer under Code § 18.2-57(C). The judgment of the Court of Appeals upholding the convictions is affirmed.