Virginia Criminal Lawyer Karin Porter Reacts To Expected Appeal In Robert Via Case

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Ms. Porter analyzes the strategy used by Via's defense attorney.

According to the Daily Press, Robert Via is expected to file an appeal in a criminal case that resulted in a sentence of 128 years in prison. Via was convicted of home invasion, conspiracy, armed burglary, robbery, four counts of abduction and firearms charges. In September he was sentenced to consecutive sentences on these counts. Via will appeal to the court to have his sentences run concurrently, reducing his potential sentence to just 23 years. The judge in this case imposed the jury's recommended sentence and denied via's request for the court to reduce the sentence.

Virginia criminal defense lawyer Karin Porter reacts to this strategy:

“Robert Via’s final sentence entered by the Hampton trial court reminds us of the decision making dilemma that criminal defendants face in Virginia when contemplating whether or not to waive trial by jury or not. The decision to be tried by a judge or a jury is a very important decision that should be considered carefully. When a jury makes a sentencing recommendation, they are able to consider a defendant’s criminal history after a verdict guilty has been rendered. Although the Court has the power to only reduce, and not increase, a jury’s sentencing recommendation, it is my experience that judges rarely reduce the jury’s recommendation.

“An attorney’s advice on whether a client should waive jury is case specific and depends on the strength of the Commonwealth’s evidence of guilt, the type of charges and the attendant mandatory penalties, the aggravated nature of the crime, and the defendant’s criminal history. A defendant must consider and weigh all of these factors. The decision of whether a case is heard by a judge or jury does not rest solely with the defendant. Both the Commonwealth and the Court also have the power to waive or to insist upon a trial by jury. The Commonwealth often uses this power as a means of forcing a plea in a case because they know that a particular defendant will not want to face the risk of a jury sentence. The Court sometimes demands a jury in cases in which the Commonwealth’s evidence is based solely on witness testimony such as in an acquaintance rape case. Here, the Court may demand a jury because the only issue to be decided is the whether or not the credibility of the alleged victim is testifying truthfully.”

Please contact us for more information about this type of trial, and the benefits of retaining a criminal defense attorney to handle your case. You can also visit our Maryland criminal lawyer and DC criminal lawyer pages for more information on relevant laws in those areas as well.

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