Articles Posted in Juvenile Law

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Defendant was two months short of his eighteenth birthday when he shot and killed Timothy Irving. After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of eight felonies, including first degree murder. The trial court sentenced Defendant to life in prison for the first degree murder charge. Defendant appealed the trial court’s refusal to appoint a neuropsychologist at the Commonwealth’s expense to assist in the preparation of his presentence report and its decision to impose a life sentence. The court of appeals denied Defendant’s petition for appeal with regard to the denial of his motion for a neuropsychologist but granted his petition with regard to the sentence imposed. The court of appeals then concluded that the trial court did not err in sentencing Defendant because a sentence of life did not exceed the statutory maximum penalty for first-degree murder and that because Defendant was not facing a mandatory life sentence, Miller v. Alabama did not apply. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Defendant failed to show any abuse of discretion in the trial court’s decision that mandated review by the court of appeals; and (2) Miller has no application to the present case. View "Johnson v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

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When he was fifteen years old, E.C. pled guilty to breaking and entering and rape. After E.C. was released from custody and placed under parole supervision, a team of attorneys filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus on E.C.'s behalf alleging that E.C.'s guilty plea was neither knowing nor voluntary and was unconstitutionally invalid because of ineffective assistance of counsel. Six days after his petition was filed, E.C. was released from parole supervision. The circuit court dismissed the petition, concluding that it had no jurisdiction to consider the petition and that the habeas corpus proceeding was moot. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the circuit court had active jurisdiction over the proceeding because E.C. was detained for purposes of habeas corpus when the petition was filed; and (2) E.C.'s release from probation during the pendency of the habeas corpus proceeding did not automatically render the proceeding moot, as the collateral consequences imposed on E.C. by the convictions he challenged were sufficient to sustain a continued controversy. View "E.C. v. Va. Dep't of Juvenile Justice" on Justia Law

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Harry Kelso was convicted in the Circuit Court of Hanover County of three counts of causing a juvenile to assist in the distribution of marijuana to a third party in violation of Va. Code Ann. 18.2-255(A)(ii). Kelso appealed, arguing that venue in Hanover County was improper because he did not undertake any action relating to the sale of marijuana there. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court also affirmed. Although Kelso's distribution of marijuana to the juvenile occurred solely in another county, the juvenile distributed the marijuana he received from Kelso to a third party in Hanover County. Because one of the acts which must occur for a violation of 18.2-255(A)(ii) is the juvenile's assistance in the distribution of the contraband to a third party, the Court held that the place where that act occurred is an appropriate venue for prosecution. View "Kelso v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law