Statutory Rape Virginia Pornography Possession Distribute Lawyers Norfolk City
AVENTA MARK v. COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
The Circuit Court of the City of Norfolk, Virginia, denied defendant’s motion to suppress evidence and convicted him of carnal knowledge of a minor, statutory rape, two counts of sodomy, participating in child pornography, possession of child pornography, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute. Defendant appealed.
- Whether the search warrant and affidavit are compliant with statutory requirements in terms of probable cause requirement and specificity requirement?
A presumption of validity attaches when a search is conducted pursuant to a warrant issued by a neutral and detached magistrate or judicial officer. Therefore, where the police conduct a search pursuant to a judicially sanctioned warrant, the defendant must rebut the presumption of validity by proving that the warrant is illegal or invalid. Code § 19.2-54 expressly prohibits issuance of a “general warrant for the search of a house, place, compartment, vehicle or baggage.” So long as the search warrant describes the objects of the search with reasonable specificity, it complies with the dictates of the Fourth Amendment. The determination whether the warrant possesses the requisite degree of specificity requires a fact-specific, case-specific analysis. In the present case, warrant was issued in relation to the “Production, Sale, Possession, Etc. Of Obscene Items,” supported by an affidavit that specifically enumerated the things or persons to be searched for, all items reasonably related to the particular offenses. Thus, the pertinent instruments sufficiently detailed the objects that were the subject of the search, together with a compelling nexus to the offenses under investigation, thereby satisfying both constitutional and statutory safeguards. Defendant asserts that the probable cause requirement was not fulfilled by evidence of the Commonwealth. When considered in totality, the circumstances clearly gave rise to a “fair probability” that like contraband or evidence of a crime would be found within defendant’s residence and justified issuance of the disputed warrant. The description of the items to be seized was included in the affidavit and was a part of the warrant. Where the actual photographs and attendant circumstances, including an explanation of the images, were before the judicial officer issuing the warrant, providing facts that substantially enhanced the measure of probable cause in support of the warrant, there was no constitutional or statutory taint to the affidavit, search warrant, or related search.
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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.