Reckless Driving Virginia Suspended License Collateral Estoppel Lawyers Charlottesville City
Villiam v. Commonwealth
Appellant had been previously charged with operating an automobile under a suspended license and a jury acquitted him of the offense. The Commonwealth later learned appellant had told his first attorney that he had been driving the automobile. The Commonwealth charged appellant with perjury in violation of Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-434. Appellant was convicted and challenged the finding, arguing the doctrine of collateral estoppel precluded his prosecution. The court reversed the conviction and dismissed the case. Appellant challenged his conviction from the Circuit Court of the city of Charlottesville (Virginia) for perjury in violation of Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-434.
- Whether appellant was in fact driving, an issue the jury had already decided?
The court held that the doctrine of collateral estoppels meant when an issue of ultimate fact had once been determined by a valid final judgment, that issue could not be relitigated between the same parties in a future lawsuit. The court found appellant had the burden of showing the verdict in the prior action necessarily decided the precise issue he sought to preclude. The court found for the Commonwealth to prove its case, it would have to had relitigated the issue of whether appellant was in fact driving, an issue the jury had already decided. Order reversed and case dismissed, because the doctrine of collateral estoppels precluded the appellant’s perjury prosecution because the Commonwealth would have had to prove the identical issue of whether appellant was driving under a suspended license and the jury had already acquitted him of the alleged offense.
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Article written by A Sris
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