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Sodomy Virginia Domestic Help Sexual Paraphernalia Sex Toys Lawyers Fairfax County

Sodomy Virginia Domestic Help Sexual Paraphernalia Sex Toys Lawyers Fairfax County

HENRY MOORE V. COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
Facts:

A.B worked for Henry and often brought his twelve-year-old cousin, C.D, to help. The work generally entailed yard work and some light house work, such as carrying groceries. After completing the work, the boys would go into Henry’s basement to be paid and to converse with Henry. One day, Henry took the boys into the basement. He showed C.D. a pornographic video depicting boys, girls, and adults “doing sexual things.” Henry took C.D. into the bathroom where he performed fellatio on C.D. He then asked C.D. to perform fellatio on him, but C.D. refused. Henry then unlocked the bathroom door and both he and C.D. exited. The next day, Henry asked A.B, who was fifteen years old, to come into the basement. He began touching A.B and asking for sexual favors, but A.B shoved him away and left the basement. When Deputy Lacks questioned Henry about the sexual paraphernalia he had used in the C.D. incident, Henry took Lacks to his home, where he showed lacks a collection of “sex toys.” Four items simulating male and female genitalia and two “stimulation devices” were seized by Deputy Lacks and were introduced at trial, over defense objection.

Issue:
  • Whether a curative jury instruction offered by the trial court that possession of sexual paraphernalia was not an element of the crime against defendant can allow for a new trial?
Discussions:

The Commonwealth had the burden of proving each element of its case, including Henry’s criminal intent. Martin v. Commonwealth, 13 Va. App. 524, 529, 414 S.E.2d 401, 403 (1992).” The Commonwealth is burdened with proving beyond a reasonable doubt each and every constituent element of a crime before an accused may stand convicted of that particular offense. Proof of Henry’s possession of the trove of “sex toys” corroborated C.D.’s account of Henry’s attack on him. Furthermore, Henry’s possession and use of those items was probative of his intent toward his victims. Because the existence of intent to do an act makes it more probable that the person committed the act, intent is circumstantial evidence of guilt. In Blaylock’s, the Commonwealth bore the burden of proving appellant’s intent in committing the charged acts of sodomy and attempted sodomy, but appellant’s intent was not in “genuine dispute” because he contended the charged acts never took place. Therefore, any probative value the evidence may have had was “easily outweighed by the danger of prejudice.” Id. As a result, evidence of appellant’s “possession of the trove of ‘sex toys,'” as described by the majority, was not admissible under the “intent” exception to the rule requiring exclusion of evidence of other bad acts, and the trial court abused its discretion in admitting the unrelated “sex toys” into evidence. Judgment affirmed, because the trial court offered a curative jury instruction that possession of sexual paraphernalia was not an element of the crime against defendant and limited the purpose for which the jury could have considered the evidence. Further, the court held whether to order a mistrial was within the sole discretion of the trial court.

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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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