Docket – October 16, 2018

Court of Appeals of Virginia

Reed v. Commonwealth (P), CAV (Alston) on remand from SCV.

Even if Carpenter v. United States, 138 S. Ct. 2206 (2018), suggests that acquisition of five months of the defendant’s cell site location information was ipso facto an unconstitutional search, detectives and the prosecutor had a reasonable, good faith belief that their actions were constitutional at the time. Accordingly, under United States v. Chavez, 894 F.3d 593, 608 (4th Cir. 2018), the exclusionary rule does not apply, as there was no police or governmental conduct that needed to be deterred at the time it occurred.

Conviction affirmed.

Lewis v. Commonwealth (U), CAV (Russell) from City of Richmond (Jenkins).

Although the trial court did not specify which missing items formed the basis of the defendant’s conviction of grand larceny, the evidence established that she took items of both jewelry and silver that she didn’t have permission to possess. From this, the trial court could reasonably conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that she had taken all of the missing jewelry and silver. The evidence was sufficient to allow the trial court to enter a restitution award far in excess of the $58,054 it actually awarded. That it did not do so appears to have been an act of lenity.


Robles v. Commonwealth (U), CAV (Alston) from Loudoun (Irby).

Evidence of the defendant’s guilt in the murder of his housemate was so overwhelming that the circuit court’s failure to instruct the jury on self-defense under the “castle doctrine” was, even if in error, harmless. An eyewitness testified that the defendant said he stabbed the victim because the victim said “fuck you.” The defendant’s testimony that the victim caused his own death by walking into the bundle of knives the defendant held is entirely uncorroborated and contrary to eyewitness testimony.

Conviction affirmed.

U.S. District Court – Virginia Eastern

Blanch v. Hexagon US Federal Inc., EDVA at Alexandria (Ellis).

A plaintiff suffering from diabetes, colon cancer, vision problems, hearing difficulties, kidney failure, and amputated appendages failed to present evidence from which a jury could reasonably conclude that the defendant terminated the plaintiff’s employment for discriminatory reasons. The employer claimed that it terminated his employment because an audit of the IT systems he managed revealed severe and extensive vulnerabilities.

Motion for summary judgment granted.

Woods v. Maserati N. Am. Inc., EDVA at Richmond (Gibney).

The court had diversity jurisdiction over a case arising from alleged defects in a vehicle the plaintiffs purchased, which the defendant failed to repair. The plaintiffs contended that, with an offset for the vehicle’s return to the defendant, the amount in controversy wouldn’t exceed the $75,000 jurisdictional threshold. But the court held that, even if Virginia law or 4th Circuit precedent supported this theory, it wasn’t a “legal certainty” that the plaintiffs could not recover an amount above the jurisdictional threshold.

Motion to remand denied.

In re: Subpoena to Nat’l Sci. Found., EDVA at Richmond (Gibney).

The National Science Foundation is compelled to produce transcripts of interviews it conducted as part of a criminal investigation of one defendant in underlying trade-secrets litigation. Neither the Privacy Act, nor law-enforcement privilege, nor deliberative-process privilege prohibits disclosure. Production of the transcripts would prevent a miscarriage of justice, and the NSF has abused its discretion in refusing to comply with the subpoena.

Motion to compel granted.

Categories: Daily Dockets

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