The Livesay & Myers, P.C. Blog
Sex crimes often involve slightly different rules and procedures than other areas in criminal law. Many sexual assaults are not reported immediately, excluding the possibility of physical evidence and enhancing the importance of witness testimony. When cases like this go to court, the Judge must carefully determine which out of court statements are allowed to be repeated and by whom. Hearsay, defined as any “out-of-court statement that is being offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted,” is generally inadmissible as evidence. However, depending on the reason the statement is being offered, hearsay is sometimes allowed. The hearsay rule and its exceptions govern what kinds of out of court statements can be repeated to prove something in court.
There are several enumerated exceptions to the hearsay rule within the Virginia Rules of Evidence.
One of these exceptions is the “recent complaint … Read More »
Starting July 1, 2012, Virginia residents may have an easier path to finalizing a divorce. Governor Bob McDonnell approved changes to Virginia Code Section 20-99 loosening the notice requirements in divorce cases. The new portion of that Code section (which deals with how suits for divorce are instituted) reads as follows:
In cases where such suits have been commenced, the defendant has been served pursuant to the provisions of subdivision 1 of [Virginia Code Section] 8.01-296, and the defendant has failed to file an answer to the suit or otherwise appear within the time allowed by law, no further notice to take depositions is required to be served on the defendant and the court may enter any order or final decree without further notice to the defendant.
In other words, when a defendant in a divorce proceeding was personally served with the Complaint for … Read More »
Manassas City police arrested a twenty-one year old female early on the morning of June 24 for DWI/DUI, possession of marijuana and texting while driving. According to an article by InsideNOVA.com, Courtney Michelle Blaydes was driving down the wrong side of Godwin Drive when she was observed by a Manassas police officer. After being stopped, Blaydes allegedly informed the officer that she had been texting. A police search of the vehicle then apparently resulted in the discovery of a smoking device and two bags possibly containing marijuana.
Texting while driving is a secondary offense, meaning it can only be charged after probable cause is established for a primary offense; in this instance, driving on the wrong side of the road would be the primary offense that would create the probable cause to initiate a traffic stop. If the driver did admit to texting, then a ticket … Read More »
The U.S. Supreme Court has weighed in on a growing controversy pitting individual states against the federal government on the topic of illegal immigration.
Frustrated with what some have seen as as the federal government’s inability to control illegal immigration, states such as Alabama and South Carolina have enacted their own laws to deal with the issue.
On Monday, June 25th, the Court ruled that Arizona had, for the most part, gone too far with their statute. Arizona’s immigration statute, known as SB1070, initially invited both criticism and praise when enacted in 2010. But on Monday, in a 5-3 decision, the Court held that three of the statute’s four provisions are preempted by the Immigration and Nationality Act; specifically, the provisions of SB1070 (a) making it a misdemeanor for an undocumented alien to fail to apply for or carry alien registration paperwork; … Read More »
New Immigration Plan Provides Relief Similar To DREAM Act
Today, in a blockbuster move, the federal government announced that it would no longer seek the deportation of hundreds of thousands now present in the U.S. without legal status, who were brought to the United States as children, and would allow them to apply for work permits if they meet certain criteria.
The new policy, announced today by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is effective immediately. A senior official with the Obama administration said in a conference call with reporters that as many as 800,000 undocumented immigrants stand to benefit from this change.
“Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in a statement Friday. Secretary Napolitano further elaborated that the new plan represented neither immunity nor amnesty, but instead represented an instance of “prosecutorial discretion” in which the government … Read More »
This past Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed House Resolution 4282, which puts the the United States one step closer to the easier and more effective collection of child support payments from parents living abroad. The International Child Support Recovery Improvement Act of 2012, passed unanimously by the House, provides key language that will allow the U.S. and individual states to implement the terms of the 2007 Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance.
As reported by WTOP and other outlets (via the Associated Press):
The 2007 Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance has been signed by the United States, the European Union and several other mostly European countries, including Ukraine, Albania, Norway and Bosnia and Herzegovina. So far, only Norway has ratified it.
Under federal law, ratification of … Read More »
Former NBA Player Seeks Spousal Support from Wife
When professional athletes are involved in separation and divorce cases, spousal support is often a key issue. Typically it is the non-player spouse seeking support from the pro athlete. In an interesting twist, however, TMZ.com recently reported that former NBA player Charlie Bell has filed a request for spousal support from his estranged wife, Kenya Bell:
Former NBA player Charlie Bell — who filed for divorce from Kenya [Bell] earlier this year — filed legal docs, claiming he’s been low on cash ever since the NBA dropped him last year. Charlie’s been playing pro ball internationally ever since, but the money’s just not the same — not nearly.
Charlie concedes he’s got over a mil in the bank, but claims Kenya’s the one who’s hit it big with her role on ‘Basketball Wives’ … Read More »
Traveling in the Northern Virginia or D.C. area this weekend for Memorial Day? Watch out for speed traps. Holiday traffic brings out additional law enforcement, and that means speed traps that will snare all too many drivers.
The National Motorists Association (NMA), a grassroots motorists’ rights group, has updated its 2010 rankings of the cities and states that are generally more likely to ticket speeding drivers. Among 50 states and the District of Columbia, D.C. ranks 8th and Virginia ranks 22nd. In addition, the Washington, D.C. metro area ranked 7th among the top 10 metro areas for traffic tickets.
With AAA predicting that 34.8 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home this holiday weekend, you can be sure law enforcement will be out in droves in the Northern Virginia and D.C. area.
Other than not speeding (the safest bet), the cautious driver might … Read More »
Congratulations to Livesay & Myers, P.C. associate attorney Ben Griffitts, who has been named one of the Top 40 Under 40 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association (NTLA). According to the NTLA website:
Membership into The National Trial Lawyers Association: Top 40 under 40 is by invitation only and is extended exclusively to those individuals who exemplify superior qualifications, trial results, and leadership as a young lawyer under the age of 40. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research. The result is a credible, comprehensive and impressive list of young attorneys chosen to represent their state.
The Top 40 under 40 is restricted to only 40 attorneys per state per year and each attorney must be under the age of 40 as of January 1, 2012. Attorneys must also specialize in the … Read More »
Virginia has a reputation for strict penalties following DUI or DWI convictions. Mandatory minimum jail sentences, mandatory minimum fine amounts, mandatory driver’s license suspension (or privilege to drive in Virginia if you don’t have a Virginia license), completion of the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program, are all written into Virginia law by the General Assembly. One of the required penalties, the installation of the ignition interlock device, will undergo a dramatic change come July 1st.
Earlier this year, the General Assembly passed HB 279 which was signed into law on March 7, 2012 by Governor McDonnell. Virginia Code Sections 18.270.1 and 18.2-271.1 were amended dealing with the circumstances under which an interlock device is required to be installed once a restricted license is granted by a court following a DUI or DWI conviction. Following are the significant changes made to the interlock requirement:
Current … Read More »