THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE CITY OF CHESAPEAKE John W. Brown,
A. Mussoni, Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.
Elizabeth Kiernan Fitzgerald, Assistant Attorney General
(Mark R. Herring, Attorney General, on brief), for appellee.
Present: Judges Humphreys, Beales and O'Brien Argued at
J. HUMPHREYS JUDGE.
Jo Broadous ("Broadous") appeals the January 13,
2016 decision of the Circuit Court of the City of Chesapeake
(the "circuit court") convicting her of one count
of possession of Schedule I/II controlled substance, in
violation of Code § 18.2-250. Broadous' single
assignment of error is that the circuit court erred by
denying her motion to apply the affirmative defense afforded
by Code § 18.2-251.03.
September 1, 2015, a grand jury of the City of Chesapeake
issued an indictment against Broadous stating that "on
or about April 3, 2015 [Broadous] did knowingly and
intentionally possess a controlled substance listed in
Schedule I or Schedule II of the Drug Control Act, namely:
Fentanyl, in violation of [Code] § 18.2-250." On
September 17, 2015, Broadous pleaded not guilty and requested
a bench trial. The facts were stipulated before the circuit
April 3, 2015, Broadous and her boyfriend, William Green
("Green"), were in a motel room in Chesapeake,
Virginia. Green called 911 for assistance because Broadous
was unconscious and non-responsive after injecting herself
with Fentanyl, a Schedule II narcotic.
emergency medical team responded to the motel room and
revived Broadous. Once conscious, Broadous identified herself
to the emergency personnel and remained at the scene until
she was transported to the hospital. She made the following
statements to law enforcement officers: 1) she admitted to
have recently used the syringe found on a sink, that she used
what she believed to be two caps of heroin, and admitted to
owning a "drug kit" found in the motel room; 2) she
was unsure if any other drugs were in the motel room; 3) she
consented to a search of the motel room and; 4) when asked
where she received the drugs she responded that she did not
September 17, 2015, Broadous made a motion before the circuit
court to apply the affirmative defense provided in Code
§ 18.2-251.03 for those who "seek or obtain"
emergency medical treatment for a drug overdose. The circuit
court took Broadous' motion under advisement. On
September 29, 2015, the circuit court denied Broadous'
motion and ruled that she was not entitled to rely on the
statutory affirmative defense provided in Code §
18.2-251.03 because the statutory language was not ambiguous
and did not apply to her because she neither sought nor
obtained medical treatment on her own behalf. Citing
Boynton v. Kilgore, 271 Va. 220, 227, 623 S.E.2d
922, 925-26 (2006), the circuit court stated that there was
"no need to look beyond the plain meaning of the words
employed by the legislature." Additionally, the circuit
court rejected Broadous' argument that she obtained
emergency medical treatment by agreeing to be transported
once she was revived.
January 13, 2016, Broadous was sentenced to five years'
imprisonment with four years' and six months suspended.