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Fairfax felony appeal centers on prior bad acts

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Fairfax felony appeal – Recent case is a warning to Virginia criminal defendants

A Fairfax felony appeal brings front and center the risks that Virginia criminal defendants face that the trial judge will let the jury know about their alleged prior bad acts. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I tell my clients of this risk. Read below about how Osman Osman got convicted after the jury. Osman v. Commonwealth of Virginia ___ Va. App. ___ (Oct. 25 2022).

Fairfax felony appeal follows the county chief judge’s authorizing the jury to know about the criminal defendant’s allegedly prior bad acts

Osman Osman got convicted at a felony jury trial presided over by Fairfax County Circuit Court chief judge Penney Azcarate, for violating a protective order, felony abduction, and misdemeanor domestic assault against a family member. Osman’s conviction revolved around his aborted effort to force his wife and infant into his car, where he also hit his wife. For trial, “the Commonwealth sought to introduce evidence of appellant’s past physical and verbal abuse of [Osman’s wife]. After hearing arguments from both parties, the trial court determined that the evidence was admissible to prove motive and intent, as well as the prior relationship between appellant and Ms. Letyvska, and that the probative value of such evidence ‘outweighs any prejudicial effect.’ The trial court also indicated that it would issue a limiting instruction advising the jury to only consider such evidence for the purposes of ‘motive of intent and relationship.'” Osman. The Virginia Court of Appeals authorizes this approach. Osman.

What does the Virginia criminal law say about prior bad acts?

Regarding Osman’s Fairfax felony appeal, Virginia evidentiary law provides the following about prior bad acts: “Except as provided in Rule 2:413 [similar crimes in child sexual offense cases] or by statute, evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts is generally not admissible to prove the character trait of a person in order to show that the person acted in conformity therewith. However, if the legitimate probative value of such proof outweighs its incidental prejudice, such evidence is admissible if it tends to prove any relevant fact pertaining to the offense charged, such as where it is relevant to show motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, absence of mistake, accident, or if they are part of a common scheme or plan.” Virginia Supreme Court Rule 2:404(b).

What should I do if charged with a Fairfax felony or other Virginia criminal offense?

If you are charged with a Fairfax felony offense or other Virginia criminal or DUI crime, you need timely to obtain the right lawyer for you. Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan Katz has successfully defended hundreds of criminal defendants, and will be delighted to assist you. Call 703-383-1100 to schedule your free initial in-person confidential consultation with Jon Katz about your court-pending case. Usually we can arrange for you to see Jon either the same day or business day after you call.