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Rape Virginia Sodomy Penetration Mistrial Lawyers Danville City

Rape Virginia Sodomy Penetration Mistrial Lawyers Danville City

Martin v. Commonwealth
Facts:

Defendant appealed a judgment of the Circuit Court for the City of Danville (Virginia), which approved four jury verdicts convicting him of two counts of rape, breaking and entering a dwelling with intent to rape, and sodomy. Defendant alleged that the trial court erred when it failed to grant defendant’s motion for a mistrial based on the fact that the prosecutor told the jury to consider defendant’s record when deciding punishment.

Rape Virginia Sodomy Penetration Mistrial Lawyers Danville City

Rape Virginia Sodomy Penetration Mistrial Lawyers Danville City

Issue:
  • Whether the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury not to discuss the case until instructions had been given and final arguments made, and erred in failing to grant a mistrial based upon the Commonwealth’s closing argument?
Discussion:

Subsequent to defendant’s conviction, he contested the prosecutor’s comments to the jury regarding defendant’s punishment and prior convictions. The court noted that the prosecutor’s comments relative to defendant’s prior convictions was limited to defendant’s credibility and the trial court clearly instructed the jury that the prior convictions were only to be used in evaluating defendant’s credibility. Defendant made no motion for a mistrial until three months after the jury’s verdict had been announced. Finding that the trial court did not err in refusing to grant a mistrial, the court held that once a jury was instructed regarding the use or limitations placed upon specific evidence, they were presumed to follow such instructions. Reversing the conviction of sodomy, the court held that the essential element of penetration was not proved beyond a reasonable doubt. No evidence established that defendant’s lip or tongue made contact with the victim’s vagina and no evidence was offered to equate oral sex to the meaning of sex as the victim defined it. The court affirmed the convictions of rape and breaking and entering a dwelling with intent to rape. However, the court reversed the conviction for sodomy and dismissed that charge

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.

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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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