Suspended License Virginia Perjury Driving Lawyers Hopewell County
Frazer v. Commonwealth
The Circuit Court, City of Hopewell (Virginia), entered a final judgment of conviction after a jury found appellant guilty of perjury in violation of Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-434. After appellant challenged that holding, the appellate court granted rehearing en banc to resolve the question whether the prosecution of appellant should have been dismissed or remanded for further proceedings.
- Whether the doctrine of collateral estoppel not only precludes the Commonwealth, in the perjury prosecution, from proving the underlying controverted fact from the original prosecution that he was driving a motor vehicle on a particular date, but also precludes the perjury prosecution altogether?
Criminal appellant was charged with driving on a suspended license. He informed his counsel he intended to testify falsely that he was not driving on the relevant date. His counsel was allowed to withdraw. Thereafter, his counsel went to work for the Commonwealth. She informed the Commonwealth that appellant had informed her he was driving his automobile on the date charged and that he intended to testify untruthfully about that. The suspended license case was tried. Whether appellant was in fact driving was litigated. Thereafter, the Commonwealth brought a perjury charge against appellant and attempted to prove through the arresting officer that appellant had been driving, and thus, that appellant perjured himself. After appellant was convicted, the appellate court found collateral estoppel barred relitigation of whether appellant had, in fact, been driving. However, it also found remand was required as the Commonwealth could attempt to prove the perjury through facts independent of the fact appellant was driving. It further found the admission he was driving was protected by the attorney-client privilege, but not his statement that he intended to testify falsely. Judgment on the perjury conviction was reversed and the case was remanded as the Commonwealth was collaterally estopped from relitigating in the perjury case the issue already decided in appellant’s driving on a suspended license, that of whether appellant was in fact driving. However, the Commonwealth was not collaterally estopped from proving appellant’s perjury in the prior proceeding by proving facts other than that he was driving
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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.