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Rape Virginia Double Jeopardy Evidence Insufficient Lawyers Rockbridge County

Rape Virginia Double Jeopardy Evidence Insufficient Lawyers Rockbridge County

PETERSON V. COMMONWEALTH
Facts:

Defendant moved in with the victim and her family. On a specific date when the victim was 11 years old, defendant entered the victim’s room and had sexual intercourse with her. Around the same time, he performed oral sex on her. The victim’s family and defendant soon moved. While at the new home, defendant engaged in oral sex with the victim at least once a month. At trial, the victim stated that the sexual activity at the new home was either oral or intercourse sex. A jury found him guilty of eight counts of rape of a child less than 13 years of age in violation of Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-61 and seven counts of carnal knowledge of a child between the ages of 13 and 15, in violation of Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-63.

Rape Virginia Double Jeopardy Evidence Insufficient Lawyers Rockbridge County

Rape Virginia Double Jeopardy Evidence Insufficient Lawyers

Issue:
  • Whether the Defendant is guilty of rape?
Discussions:

The victim’s testimony in this case, while credible, is simply incomplete. The victim testified that after she and Peterson moved to the address they had either “oral sex or intercourse sex” at least once a month. This testimony establishes that on an unknown number of occasions Peterson had some kind of sexual involvement with the victim. However, the prosecutor did not elicit any further information from the victim (or from any other source) that would allow the jury to infer what type of sexual activity occurred each time. In other words, while the occurrence of several sexual acts may have been established, the nature of the sexual activity punishable under separate statutes is completely speculative. Thus, the jury had no evidence from which it could reasonably infer how many times the Defendant had sexual intercourse with the victim at the particular address.

When evidence is insufficient to convict, the appellant is entitled to an acquittal because “a remand for retrial would violate the Constitution’s prohibition against double jeopardy.”

Judgment:

The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s judgments of conviction on all seven charges against defendant of carnal knowledge. The appellate court also affirmed one of the trial court’s judgments of conviction regarding the eight rape charges against him. It reversed and dismissed the remaining seven judgments of conviction for rape regarding defendant.

The SRIS Law Group Virginia lawyers will do their best to help you with your sex crime case. Contact a Virginia lawyer from our firm to discuss your sex crime case. A Virginia lawyer from our firm will talk with you about your sex crime case in Virginia and advise you about your options. You can count on a lawyer from our firm to try their best to help you obtain the best result possible based on the facts of your case.

We have client meeting locations in Fairfax County, Prince William, Richmond, Virginia Beach, Fredericksburg & Lynchburg.

Article written by A Sris

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Disclaimer:

These summaries are provided by the SRIS Law Group. They represent the firm’s unofficial views of the Justices’ opinions. The original opinions should be consulted for their authoritative content.

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