Bryant v. Commonwealth (U)

The court of appeals erred in dismissing the defendant-appellant’s appeal of his conviction, following guilty pleas to burglary with intent to rape, murder or rob while armed; malicious wounding; and assault on a person having a protective order against him. Dismissal was on grounds of untimeliness.

Here, the defendant’s sentencing and consequential revocation of a prior probation were heard in the same proceeding, though under separate case numbers. In seeking an extension of time to appeal, the defendant’s appellate counsel clearly expressed an intention to file a joint petition. The cases had been heard and decided in the same court, by the same judge, in a single hearing. The petition addressed both cases and contained sufficient assignments of error covering both. The Commonwealth made no objection to the joint petition and responded with a brief in opposition addressing the merits in both cases. The court of appeals erred in treating the request for extension of time as pertaining only to the revocation matter.

Had counsel listed the record numbers of both cases on the cover page of the joint petition for appeal, conservation of time and judicial resources might have resulted. Nevertheless, failure to do so does not create a jurisdictional defect justifying dismissal of an appeal.

Reversed and remanded.

Bryant v. Commonwealth (U), No. 180561, Apr. 4, 2019. SCV (per curiam) from CAV.

Categories: Opinions, Supreme Court of Virginia, Unpublished

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