Docket – September 18, 2018

Virginia Court of Appeals

Commonwealth v. Johnson, CAV (Malveaux) from Newport News (Mills).

Suppressing the defendant’s statements to a magistrate judge was not in error. The Commonwealth didn’t prove that the magistrate questioned the defendant as a judicial officer, rather than as a law enforcement officer whose inquiries were reasonably likely to elicit self-incrimination. Therefore, the trial court couldn’t determine whether the defendant’s Miranda rights had been violated.

U.S. District Court – Western District

Haendel v. Clark, WDVA at Roanoke (Kiser).

Factual disputes prevented summary judgment as to whether the defendants violated the plaintiff’s First Amendment rights in prison by not offering food that was kosher for Passover, rather than merely kosher. A jury could also find that the defendants discriminated against the plaintiff based on his religion by imposing harsher discipline on him than on inmates who harassed him for being Jewish, and for applying stricter access rules to Jewish materials.

United States v. Purpera, WDVA at Roanoke (Dillon).

The defendant is entitled to judgment of acquittal on only one of 69 counts for which a jury found him guilty at trial. His trial counsel’s conflict of interest did not impair representation.

As a physician, the defendant was charged with making false statements to a drug supplier by denying that he personally used any of the drugs; denying that he treated his spouse, family, or friends with the drugs; and asserting that he administered the drugs to his patients. Count 21 concerned testosterone, which he implied – but didn’t state – would be administered to his patients and not himself. Evidence was insufficient for conviction on this count.

Trial counsel’s improper contacts with witnesses during litigation had led federal authorities to investigate him for criminal misconduct, which created a conflict of interest. The defendant wasn’t advised of the possible implications of the conflict and therefore couldn’t knowingly waive it. However, the conflict didn’t impair representation, so a new trial wasn’t warranted.

Categories: Daily Dockets

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