Reckless Driving Virginia Perjury Insufficient Evidence Lawyers Fairfax County
Francis v. Commonwealth
Defendant appealed from a judgment of the Circuit Court for the County of Fairfax (Virginia), which convicted him of perjury under Va. Code Ann. § 18-237 and imposed a fine.
- Whether the evidence was sufficient to sustain the verdict against the defendant?
Defendant was indicted for perjury based on the testimony that defendant gave in his own behalf during his trial on a warrant charging him with reckless driving. Specially, defendant had testified at his reckless driving trial that his car became uncontrollable when the steering mechanism broke. The Commonwealth brought perjury charges against defendant for such testimony, arguing that in fact there was nothing wrong with the car. Defendant was convicted of perjury. On appeal, defendant contended that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the verdict.The court reversed the conviction, holding that the Commonwealth failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant knowingly and wilfully made any false statements of fact. Defendant’s alleged statement as to the cause of the car becoming uncontrollable, leaving the highway, and turning over was a mere expression of opinion, which, even if erroneous, did not constitute perjury. The court reversed the trial court’s judgment, set aside the verdict of the jury, and dismissed the prosecution.
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Article written by A Sris
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