Sexual Battery Virginia Aggravated Cross Examine Lawyers Loudoun County
Thomas v. Commonwealth
A jury convicted defendant of four counts of aggravated sexual battery. The Court of Appeals of Virginia affirmed. Defendant appealed.
- Whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding that the denial of Defendant’s right to cross-examine his accuser was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt?
Defendant argued that he was improperly denied the right to cross-examine one of his accusers about a separate sexual molestation charge brought against a babysitter. Initially, the trial court sustained the Commonwealth’s objection based on the rape shield law. Later the trial court stated that its denial was also based on a second ground, that the fact that the babysitter was acquitted did not establish a “reasonable probability of falsity.” Defendant relied, in the trial court, only on the “access to justice” argument originally advanced, and did not object to the “false accusation” rationale. However, both defendant’s petition for appeal to the intermediate appellate court and his opening brief challenged only the “false accusation” rationale and abandoned the “access to justice” argument defendant relied on in the trial court.
The appellate court found that only those arguments presented in the petition for appeal and granted were to have been considered on appeal. An issue abandoned at trial may not have been resurrected on appeal, and an appellate court was not allowed to “recast” an argument made below into a different argument upon which to base its decision. The judgment of the intermediate appellate court was reversed. The case was remanded to the intermediate appellate court with direction to enter an order affirming the judgment of the trial court
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
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.