De Novo: A Virginia Appellate Law Blog

De Novo: A Virginia Appellate Law Blog

Jay O’Keeffe practices with Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore in Roanoke, Virginia, where he splits his time between appellate and business litigation. read more

Category Archives: News

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Delegate Calls for Study of CAV’s Jurisdiction

Posted in News
Interesting news from Richmond: House Joint Resolution 111, sponsored by Delegate Sal Iaquinto (R-Virginia Beach–pictured), would direct the Judicial Council of Virginia to study the jurisdictional capacity of the Court of Appeals. HT: Peter Vieth at Virginia Lawyer’s Weekly. In particular, Joint Resolution 111 would tell the Judicial Council to review the respective capacities of the Supreme Court of Virginia … Continue Reading

Bad News for Charles E. Friend, Good News for Virginia

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As you’ve likely heard, the Supreme Court of Virginia recently approved rules of evidence for the Commonwealth. The rules are modeled on the set drafted by the Boyd-Graves conference and published by Virginia CLE. They track and codify the existing common-law rules of evidence. (You’ll note that the VLW story I linked to above mentions submitting the … Continue Reading

Fourth Circuit to Hear Appeals in “Obamacare” Cases

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The Fourth Circuit is slated to hear two appeals in cases testing the constitutionality of the new federal health care law on Tuesday. (HT: VLWblog.) Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal will defend the law against separate challenges brought by the Commonwealth of Virginia, Commonwealth v. Sebelius, No. 11-1057, and Liberty University, Liberty University v. Geithner, … Continue Reading

Appeals Granted

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The Supreme Court has granted 13 appeals since we last checked in on the justices. Some of the highlights include: the latest skirmish in Ken Cuccinelli’s ongoing war against the Great University; a medical malpractice case involving a “retained surgical sponge”; and another med-mal case about proving the standard of care. Surprisingly, only 2 of these 13 cases are … Continue Reading

Former Chief Justice Hassell Passes Away

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As you know, former Chief Justice Hassell passed away last Wednesday. I never know what to say at times like this. My partner, Mike Pace, always seems to know exactly what to say. Here is part of what he wrote: It is with much sadness I report that Justice Leroy Roundtree Hassell passed away early … Continue Reading

Appeals Granted

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SCOVA granted 9 appeals in recent days, 5 criminal and 4 civil. Highlights include A case about the duties owed by a driver facing a green light; A noncompete case; and A search-and-seizure case. Complete information about the writs is available on the Court’s website. Here is a summary of the cases, lawyers, and issues involved: BROOKS v. COMMONWEALTH, Record … Continue Reading

Appeals Granted

Posted in News
The Supreme Court of Virginia granted 8 appeals over the past week. Highlights include: An appeal of Judge Thacher’s big sanctions/attorneys’ fees decision from earlier this year; A zoning case apparently featuring–could it be?–civil procedure guru Kent Sinclair as a party; and An environmental case that has united Hunton, McGuire Woods, and the AG’s office in some unholy union a … Continue Reading

Roanoke Times Recognizes Justice Koontz

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The Roanoke Times has a thoughtful piece on Justice Koontz, who will step down in January after serving on various levels of the Virginia judiciary since the late-Mad Men era. The article includes an interview with Justice Koontz. Among the highlights: Justice Koontz confirms what we’ve long suspected: the courts of the ’60s and ’70s presented a “more colorful, … Continue Reading

Appellate Star Greg Coleman Dies in Plane Crash

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Our Thanksgiving was marred by some terrible news–leading Texas appellate lawyer and rising star of the SCOTUS bar Gregory S. Coleman has died in a plane crash. How Appealing aggregates a number of reports. Coleman argued Switzer v. Skinner in October, and in 2009 he handled–and won–what the Legal Times’ Tony Mauro called two of the … Continue Reading

Congratulations to Chief Justice-elect Cynthia Kinser!

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VLW reports that the Supreme Court of Virginia has elected Cynthia Kinser to serve as its next Chief Justice. Her term begins on February 1, 2011. The Court’s press release is available here. Our heartiest congratulations go out to the Court’s first female Chief Justice for this richly deserved honor. As longtime readers have likely intuited, Chief Justice-elect … Continue Reading

Supreme Court of Virginia Issues Show Cause Order

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Here’s a story that’s been bothering me recently: As our buddies at Virginia Lawyers Weekly reported, the Supreme Court of Virginia has issued a show cause order to a Winchester attorney, directing him to explain a comment that he made on the record. The lawyer, William Crane, represented a sexually violent predator in a case involving two … Continue Reading

“What’s a Trial?” Contest Results

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A few weeks ago, I asked for help explaining a trial to my niece, and promised a copy of The Curmudgeon’s Guide to the person who provided the best answer. Responses ran the gamut from sweet and informative to almost unbelievably creepy. (Oddly, that last one came via email from our marketing manager here at TFOTM. I can’t publish … Continue Reading

Supreme Court of Virginia Approves New Appellate Rules

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This morning, the Supreme Court of Virginia approved changes to Rules 5 and 5A, which govern appellate practice in state courts. [Hat tip to Official Friend of De Novo (TM) Steve Emmert.] The new rules will take effect July 1st. We will talk about them in the coming weeks, but wanted to give you all a heads up. Also, … Continue Reading

Supreme Court of Virginia April Argument Docket

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The cruelest month gets off to an entertaining start, as the Supreme Court of Virginia releases its April argument docket. From April 12-16, the Court is set to hear six criminal cases, one VSB disciplinary board case, and 21 civil cases. Of particular note, the Court will hear a pair of cases about the ownership of church property in Northern Virginia. … Continue Reading

General Assembly Elects Mims to Supreme Court of Virginia

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Yesterday afternoon, the General Assembly unanimously elected William C. Mims to the Supreme Court of Virginia, effective April 1. The VLW Blog has the story, as does WaPo’s Virginia Politics Blog. The Richmond Times-Dispatch has a blurb, and carried a short editorial about Mims a few days ago. That editorial read, in part: Mims has earned … Continue Reading

VLW Blog: Mims to Get Virginia Supreme Court Seat

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Our friends at the VLW Blog are reporting that William C. Mims will replace departing Justice Barbara Milano Keenan on the Supreme Court of Virginia. Mims was introduced to a joint meeting of the House and Senate Courts of Justice Committees. Each committee must certify a candidate before that candidate can be considered by the … Continue Reading

Update: SCOTUS Grants Cert in Snyder v. Phelps

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In September, we wrote about Snyder v. Phelps, the funeral-picketing case out of the Fourth Circuit. Yesterday, the Supreme Court granted cert in Snyder. The case is getting plenty of attention from the mainstream media, as well as some treatment on De Novo favorites SCOTUSblog, the Volokh Conspiracy (which had roughly a bajillion posts about the … Continue Reading

Senate Confirms Justice (Now Judge) Keenan By 99-0 Vote

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Virginia Lawyer’s Weekly reports that the U.S. Senate has unanmiously confirmed Justice Keenan for a seat on the Fourth Circuit. The Senate voted for cloture on her nomination this afternoon, then confirmed her by a 99-0 vote. Great news, and congratulations to the new Judge. Now, about those other three vacancies . . … Continue Reading

Keenan Nomination Watch: Virginia Senators Invoke McDonnell on Nominee’s Behalf

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There hasn’t been much news on Justice Keenan’s nomination to the Fourth Circuit recently. But yesterday, the VLW Blog reported that Virginia’s two Democratic Senators, Jim Webb and Mark Warner, invoked their Republican Governor, Robert McDonnell, in urging their Senate colleagues to act on her nomination. According to the VLW Blog, Sens. Webb and Warner note that … Continue Reading

Supreme Court of Virginia February Argument Docket

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The Supreme Court of Virginia is in session this week. Here’s the argument document, which includes four criminal and thirty-four civil appeals. Good luck to everyone who is arguing. Also, the Court will be handing down opinions on Thursday, instead of Friday. (Mental note: check Emmert’s website on Thursday.) Friday will be devoted to hearing writ arguments … Continue Reading

February Writ Arguments Postponed

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Steve Emmert reports that today’s writ arguments before the Supreme Court of Virginia have been postponed. The Chief Staff Attorney’s office advises that appellants are being given the choice of arguing by telephone tomorrow, waiving oral argument, or arguing in person at a later date. (As a fairly obvious practice point, it’s never a good idea … Continue Reading

Supreme Court of Virginia January Argument Docket

Posted in News
Here’s the merits argument lineup for next week in the Supreme Court of Virginia. Civil cases follow after the jump. We’ll be in Richmond on Friday. Give me a shout if you will be in town and would like to grab lunch. Criminal Cases Record Number Style of Case Appellants’ Counsel Appellees’ Counsel Appealed From … Continue Reading

Tom Goldstein Issues Public Apology

Posted in News
Stunning news from Yorba Linda Washington, DC: appellate superstar and SCOTUSblog mastermind Tom Goldstein has issued a shocking public apology:     It’s hard not to like the guy, but I am reserving judgment until I see the text messages… Continue Reading