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Sodomy Fairfax Virginia Lawyer Rape Victim Prior Conduct

Sodomy Fairfax Virginia Lawyer Rape Victim Prior Conduct

Luigi v. Commonwealth
Facts:

Defendant appealed a judgment from the Circuit Court of Fairfax County (Virginia) that convicted him of burglary in the nighttime with the intent to commit rape or sodomy, rape, and forcible sodomy. Defendant claimed that the trial court erred in denying his motion to introduce evidence of the victim’s prior sexual conduct, pursuant to Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-67.7.

Sodomy Fairfax Virginia Lawyer Rape Victim Prior Conduct

Sodomy Fairfax Virginia Lawyer

Issue:
  • Whether the trial court erred in denying defendant’s motion to introduce evidence of the victim’s prior sexual conduct?
Discussion:

Defendant sought to introduce evidence at trial of the victim’s prior sexual conduct in order to explain the origin of a hair fragment found in her cervix. The hair fragment was not positively identified as defendant’s, though it was found to be from a person of African-American descent. The victim admitted to having sexual intercourse with her boyfriend several days before the alleged crime. Both defendant and the victim’s boyfriend were African-Americans and the doctor who examined the victim was prepared to testify that the hair could have come from the boyfriend. The trial court ruled that the evidence was inadmissible under the rape shield law, § 18.2-67.7. In reversing defendant’s conviction, the court ruled that the probative value of the victim’s prior sexual conduct, especially because it tended to rebut the only significant physical evidence of defendant’s guilt, outweighed any embarrassment to the victim or prejudice it might have caused in the minds of the jury. Defendant had the constitutional rights of compulsory process, confrontation, and due process to present the evidence, the court ruled, and the trial court committed reversible error in excluding it. The court reversed and remanded a judgment that convicted defendant of burglary in the nighttime with the intent to commit rape or sodomy, rape, and forcible sodomy.

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Article written by A Sris
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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