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Shelton v. Commonwealth

Court of Appeals of Virginia

February 9, 2016

KELAND ONEAL SHELTON, S/K/A KELAND O'NEAL SHELTON
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF HENRY COUNTY. Martin F. Clark, Jr., Judge.

(Kimberly R. Belongia, on brief), for appellant. Appellant submitting on brief.

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

Present: Judges Beales, Decker and AtLee.

OPINION

[66 Va.App. 2] RANDOLPH A. BEALES, JUDGE.

Keland Shelton (appellant) was convicted following a bench trial of assault and battery of a law-enforcement officer in violation of Code § 18.2-57(C) and escape from custody by force or violence in violation of Code § 18.2-478. The trial court sentenced appellant to a total of ten years in prison, with eight years and one month suspended. The trial court also ordered appellant to " make restitution in the amount of $9,281.72 to the victim" for injuries sustained by Lieutenant [66 Va.App. 3] Davis. Appellant contests the trial court's order of restitution, arguing that the court erred in finding that the restitution amount of $9,281.72 is causally connected to the assault and battery of a law enforcement officer. For the following reasons, we affirm the trial court.

I. Background

We consider the evidence on appeal " in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, as we must since it was the prevailing party" in the trial court. Beasley v. Commonwealth, 60 Va.App. 381, 391, 728 S.E.2d 499, 504 (2012) (quoting Riner v. Commonwealth, 268 Va. 296, 330, 601 S.E.2d 555, 574 (2004)). So viewed, the evidence at trial was that on September 8, 2013, Investigator Travis Hambrick, Lieutenant Wayne Davis, and a Deputy Stone of the Henry County Sheriff's Office went to appellant's home on Rock Hill Community Road to serve an arrest warrant on appellant. As Investigator Hambrick knocked on the side door of the residence, the officers heard movements inside the house. After approximately two minutes, appellant's brother answered the door. Appellant's brother told the officers that he had not seen appellant, but he allowed the officers to come inside to look around. Once inside the residence, Investigator Hambrick located an attic access cover that was partially open. At that time, Investigator Hambrick announced to appellant that he knew appellant was hiding in the attic and told him that he needed to come down. Appellant -- who was hiding in the attic -- responded to Investigator Hambrick by stating, " Okay. You got me. I'm coming down."

Appellant jumped down through the wood cover on the attic, broke it, and landed on his feet between Investigator Hambrick and Lieutenant Davis. Appellant saw that Investigator Hambrick had his weapon drawn, so he put his hands in the air and said, " You've got me." Investigator Hambrick holstered his weapon and grabbed appellant's right arm. He informed appellant he was under arrest and attempted to handcuff him. At that moment, appellant pushed Investigator Hambrick away with a " stiff arm" like motion, and ran out of [66 Va.App. 4] the residence. Investigator Hambrick testified that appellant was wearing nothing but his underwear and socks and had been sweating profusely. Investigator Hambrick stated that the push, as well as the fact that appellant was " sweating so bad," caused him to lose his grip on appellant's arm.

Lieutenant Davis pursued appellant on foot as he ran out of the residence into a neighbor's yard and towards the woods. Appellant jumped over a brush pile during his escape. As Lieutenant Davis jumped over that same pile, his right foot landed on a large rock that was concealed by high weeds and he fell to the ground injured. Lieutenant Davis suffered a stress fracture of his ankle, a tear of his Achilles tendon, a fracture of his right hand, and a sprain of his hip. The medical expenses for the injuries he sustained totaled $9,281.72.

After a bench trial, appellant was convicted of assault and battery of a law enforcement officer in violation of Code § 18.2-57(C) and escape from custody by force or violence in violation of Code § 18.2-478. The trial court sentenced appellant to a total of ten years in prison, with eight years and one month suspended -- and also ordered appellant to " make restitution in the amount of $9,281.72 to the victim" for the injuries sustained by Lieutenant Davis. In announcing its ruling, the trial court stated:

The escape was just so foolish and let me address the restitution issue, in conjunction with that. I think restitution is appropriate. There is no temporal break; if you apply a but-for test, it certainly works. But for his fleeing, this officer would not have been chasing him and would not have -- I think it was his knee he tore all up. It wouldn't have happened. More importantly, if you read the restitution cases and I didn't know this issue was coming up today, but I think that it's reasonable relationship between the offense and the remedy and restitution sought. Yeah; you don't get to pay -- if somebody breaks in your house there is a case that says you don't get to put up video cameras. But, I mean, I think if you look at this in a civil standard and in the standard for restitution, you know, his flight [66 Va.App. 5] caused this problem and it is certainly reasonably related and it is certainly a but-for test. It certainly fits that, so I think restitution is appropriate, with interest.

(Emphasis added). This appeal ...


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