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Taylor v. Commonwealth

Court of Appeals of Virginia

January 27, 2015

REBECCA K. TAYLOR, S/K/A REBECCA KNIGHT TAYLOR
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF ROCKINGHAM COUNTY. Bruce D. Albertson, Judge.

R. Shannon Kite (Cook Attorneys, P.C., on brief), for appellant.

Aaron J. Campbell, Assistant Attorney General (Mark R. Herring, Attorney General, on brief), for appellee.

Present: Judges Petty, Beales and Decker.

OPINION

Page 722

[64 Va.App. 284] OPINION

WILLIAM G. PETTY, JUDGE

Rebecca K. Taylor was convicted of battery pursuant to Code § 18.2-57. On appeal, she argues (1) the trial court erred in denying her motion to strike and in failing to grant her motion to set aside the verdict as to the sufficiency of the evidence regarding the battery charge because the conduct did not exceed the bounds of lawful parental discipline; and (2) the trial court erred in denying her motion to set aside the verdict because the misdemeanor was not timely prosecuted under Code § 19.2-8.[1] For the reasons stated below, we reverse the judgment of the trial court.

I. Background

" On appeal, 'we review the evidence in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, granting to it all reasonable inferences fairly deducible therefrom.'" Archer v. Commonwealth, 26 Va.App. 1, 11, 492 S.E.2d 826, 831 (1997) (quoting Martin v. Commonwealth, 4 Va.App. 438, 443, 358 S.E.2d 415, 418, 4 Va. Law Rep. 127 (1987)).

So viewed, the record establishes that on April 15, 2013, a grand jury indicted Taylor

Page 723

for felony child endangerment in violation of Code § 40.1-103. The indictment alleged that the offense occurred between January 1, 2011 and February 23, 2012. On September 25, 2013, a bench trial was held on the charge. Taylor made a motion to strike at the conclusion of the Commonwealth's evidence. She renewed her motion to strike at the conclusion of the defense's case. The trial court overruled the motion to strike. At the conclusion of the trial, the court withheld judgment and continued the case until September 30, 2013 for the purpose of reviewing relevant precedent on the matters before it.

[64 Va.App. 285] On September 30, 2013, the trial court held that the evidence was insufficient to convict Taylor of the charged crime of child endangerment; however, it held that the evidence was sufficient to convict Taylor of the misdemeanor offense of battery under Code § 18.2-57, which it concluded was a lesser-included offense of child endangerment. No warrant, bench or otherwise, was issued against Taylor on that misdemeanor charge. Taylor then made a motion to set aside the verdict, objecting to the sufficiency of the evidence and the trial court's ruling that battery is a lesser-included offense of Code § 40.1-103.[2] Taylor also alleged that even if battery is a lesser-included offense of child endangerment, prosecution of that misdemeanor was commenced more than one year from the date of the ...


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