Johnson v. Commonwealth (P)

Absent an insanity defense, expert testimony about a criminal defendant’s mental state at the time of the offense is inadmissible at trial. The affirmative defense provided by Code § 46.2-817 does not in any way contradict existing the Supreme Court of Virginia’s precedent to that effect.

Here, the defendant was found guilty of eluding police in violation of Code § 46.2-817. She was free to, and did, present non-expert testimony relevant to her state of mind and subjective belief that, at the time of her offense, PTSD made her reasonably believe that her pursuer was not a law enforcement officer. But the trial court didn’t err in excluding expert testimony on that point.


Johnson v. Commonwealth (P), No. 1478-17-2, Mar. 5, 2019. CAV (Beales) from Brunswick (Sharrett).

Categories: Court of Appeals of Virginia, Opinions, Published


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