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Virginia Court Rejects Defendant’s Argument Regarding Insufficient Evidence Following Rape Conviction

In a recent opinion from a Virginia court, the defendant unsuccessfully appealed his criminal convictions of rape, forcible sodomy, abduction, and the use of a firearm in the commission of these felonies. Originally, a grand jury indicted the defendant of all of the above charges based on his interactions with a woman he met in 2017. On appeal, the defendant argued there was insufficient evidence to find him guilty. Rejecting this argument, the higher court affirmed the defendant’s convictions.

Facts of the Case

The defendant first came into contact with the victim in this case in 2017, when he approached her at a carwash to offer her some landscaping work. The victim was homeless at the time and was looking for ways to earn money, as her primary income came through cleaning and detailing vehicles that came through the carwash. The victim said yes to the defendant’s offer, and the defendant immediately drove her to his home where he gave her crack cocaine. The victim proceeded to spend the next few days with the defendant, sleeping at his house and following up on his offer to give her landscaping work.

The next couple of days after her arrival, the victim labored for eight hours each day on a large parcel of land, mowing and performing other various landscaping tasks. The defendant did not pay her for her work. At one point, the victim received a package from a friend that included a Bible and several food-related gift cards. The defendant stole all of the items from the victim, allowing her to keep only the Bible.

At one point, the defendant drove the victim to his home, telling her that she needed to “take care of one of his friends.” Back at the residence, the defendant showed the victim a revolver and told her she was to immediately go into his office to “take care” of the man who was inside. Scared for her life, the victim went into the room and was subsequently raped two times by the man.

The Decision

The defendant was convicted of rape, forcible sodomy, abduction, and the use of a firearm. On appeal, the defendant argued many times that there was insufficient evidence to support his guilty convictions. For example, on the rape conviction, the defendant argued that he was not the person who actually raped the victim – it was the man in his office who committed the crime. What’s more, said the defendant, he never explicitly told the victim to engage in sexual intercourse with the man in his office. All he said was for the victim to “take care” of the man, and this was insufficient to support a rape conviction.

The court disagreed with the defendant. According to the law, said the court, for a prosecution for rape and forcible sodomy, the person convicted does not have to actually participate in the sexual act itself. All that matters is that the defendant caused the victim to engage in the sexual acts against her will with threat, force, or intimidation. Because the defendant clearly threatened the victim with his revolver and made clear to the defendant that she was to have sex with the man in the office, he met the requirements under Virginia law. Finding that there was sufficient evidence to support the charges, the court affirmed the defendant’s guilty convictions.

Have You Been Charged with Rape or Sexual Assault in Virginia?

If you or a loved one have been charged with a Virginia sex crime, you need a qualified team of criminal defense attorneys by your side. At Robinson Law, PLLC, we are experts in creating a unique plan of attack for every case that comes through our office. We are ready to build the best possible defense that takes your individual needs into account, with the ultimate goal of protecting your rights and making sure your voice is heard. For a free consultation, call us at (703) 844-3746.

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