Recently, a Virginia appellate court affirmed a conviction against a defendant who was found guilty of robbery. The court held that the conviction of robbery was appropriate given that there was a sufficient basis for finding that intimidation was involved in the robbery.
The Facts of the Case
According to the court’s opinion, the defendant entered a bank, passed the teller a note, and uttered that “this is a robbery.” When the teller asked her to repeat what she said, the defendant said, “Give me all the money; this is a robbery.” During her testimony, the teller stated that she was in shock and that the bank policy requires that if someone utters the word “robbery,” the teller must comply with their demands. The teller handed the defendant all the money and set off an alarm. The teller testified that at the time, she was not sure what the defendant’s intentions were, was not sure if the defendant would hurt her, and was thinking about a recent incident where four tellers at a bank were shot and killed during a robbery. After the robbery incident, the teller immediately began to cry and shake.
The defendant was convicted of robbery and appealed that conviction. The defendant argued that the lower court erred in finding that the teller gave the defendant the money as a result of intimidation and instead argued that the teller gave her the money because of the bank policy requiring a teller to comply during a robbery.