McGinnis v. Commonwealth (P)

The safe harbor provision of Code § 8.01-271.1 does not apply in this case because it applies only where the “pleading, motion, or other paper is not signed.” Here, the motion in question was signed by the defendant himself, and § 8.01-271.1 provides no express remedy to these circumstances of this case. The statute simply does not contemplate a pleading signed by a party who may or may not have authority to do so. Assuming without deciding that the circuit court’s ruling on the motion to vacate the defendant’s convictions was properly before the court of appeals, this court can resolve this appeal on the merits and enter final judgment.

As defined by Code § 18.2-181, larceny by worthless check is not limited to checks passed as present consideration for goods and services. Here, the circuit court had sufficient evidence to conclude that on all three occasions in which the defendant presented a worthless check, he did so with the knowledge that there were not sufficient funds to cover the checks and with the intent to defraud the recipient. In refusing the defendant’s motion to vacate his convictions, the circuit court implicitly found, consistent with this court’s construction of the statute, that § 18.2-181 was not limited to checks made as payment for present consideration of goods or services, but applied to the passing of any worthless check with an intent to defraud. Accordingly, the judgment of the circuit court will be reinstated.

Reversed, vacated, and final judgment.

McGinnis v. Commonwealth (P), No. 180055, Dec. 13, 2018. SCV (Koontz) from CAV.



Categories: Opinions, Published, Supreme Court of Virginia

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