Christina MacIsaac and David Gluckman have a fun article in the VADA‘s most recent Journal of Civil Litigation called, “Yes, They Matter: Recent ‘Commonwealth Cases’ Every Civil Practitioner Should Know.”
Their basic thesis is that civil litigators doing crunch research may have a tendency to gloss over criminal cases–but that they do so “at their peril,” because “these ‘Commonwealth cases’ control and shape appellate-preservation, procedural, and evidentiary issues that civil defense practitioners face every day.”
MacIsaac and Gluckman run through some of the important recent criminal decisions in those areas. They do civil practitioners a big favor, distilling hours of research on procedural and evidentiary issues into a brisk 16-page read. Their piece is well-written and accessible–at least, figuratively accessible, as I can’t seem to find a link on the VADA website. If you’re having trouble finding a copy, drop me a line and I’ll hook you up by email.
My one quibble: I wish that they’d included a discussion of Scialdone v. Commonwealth, 279 Va. 422, 689 S.E.2d 716 (2010), which has an excellent discussion of preservation of error and the contemporaneous objection rule. But who am I to quibble? MacIsaac and Gluckman show that we’ve probably been remiss in not paying enough attention to cases like Ghameshlouy v. Commonwealth, 279 Va. 379, 689 S.E.2d 698 (2010), and Commonwealth v. Wynn, 277 Va. 92, 671 S.E.2d 137 (2009), on this site.