Spratley v. Commonwealth (P)

In an issue of first impression, the court confirmed that the Commonwealth could prove felony destruction of property with evidence of the cost of replacing the property. The defendant had knocked over a grocery-store scale during an argument with a companion. After discovering that the scale couldn’t be repaired and was no longer on the market, the store bought a new scale and produced testimony that the two models were “virtually identical.”

Unlike the larceny statutes, Code § 18.2-137 specifically provides for “proof of the … fair market replacement value.” “Replacement” contemplates the cost of obtaining a substitute item to take the place of the original, destroyed item.

Conviction affirmed.

Spratley v. Commonwealth (P), No. 1715-17-4, Oct. 9, 2018. CAV (O’Brien) from Loudoun (Fleming).

Categories: Court of Appeals of Virginia, Opinions, Published

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