Roberson v. Commonwealth

Ever wonder what would happen if you named the wrong party in your notice of appeal? Thanks to the Supreme Court of Virginia’s February decision in Ghameshlouy v. Commonwealth, we now have the definitive answer:

It depends.

Our story begins when the Virginia Beach police respond to a call about a domestic altercation at a hotel. They question our hero, Eric Amir Ghameshlouy (spellings vary throughout the record), who gives “evasive and conflicting answers” about his name and age. [Note to self: when lying to police, give consistent and responsive answers.]

The police arrest Ghameshlouy and charge him with violating a local ordinance that makes it a misdemeanor to provide false identifying information.

The police also conduct a search incident to the arrest, and find a bag of white powder.

I know what you’re thinking: iocaine powder–odorless, tasteless, dissolves instantly in liquid and among the more deadly poisons known to man?

No, turns out it was just run-of-the-mill yayo. That earned Ghameshlouy a felony indictment under state law, in addition to his misdemeanor charge under local law.

Continue Reading Ghameshlouy v. Commonwealth: What Happens if You Name the Wrong Party in Your Notice of Appeal?

One of the themes that we harp on here at De Novo is the importance of answering the Court”s questions. That usually comes up in oral argument, but sometimes, the Court is so kind as to direct the parties to brief certain issues.

That was the case in Roberson v. Commonwealth, handed down last session. Roberson and its companion case, Ghameshlouy v. Commonwealth, address some interesting but fairly esoteric questions of appellate jurisdiction, procedural defects, and waiver.

And in Roberson, it sounds like the Court really wanted to talk about waiver. At issue in the case was who was the proper appellee, the Commonwealth or the City of Virginia Beach. In its order granting the appeal, the Court directed both entities to appear, and specifically directed the City to address the question of whether it had made an appearance before the Court of Appeals. That could bear on whether it had waived its objection to the any procedural defect in the notice of appeal.

Continue Reading Roberson v. Commonwealth, or Will Somebody Please Answer Justice Koontz’s Question?