THE CIRCUIT COURT OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY Marcus H. Long, Jr.,
D. Hamrick (Daniel D. Hamrick, P.C. on briefs), for
Elizabeth Kiernan Fitzgerald, Assistant Attorney General
(Mark R. Herring, Attorney General, on brief), for appellee.
Present: Judges Humphreys, Petty and Chafin Argued at
WILLIAM G. PETTY JUDGE
Barbara Nichole Taylor appeals her conviction of first-degree
murder, arguing the trial court erred by failing to strike a
juror for cause. We disagree and affirm the conviction.
well-settled principles of appellate review, we consider the
evidence presented at trial in the light most favorable to
the Commonwealth, the prevailing party in the circuit
court." Porter v. Commonwealth, 276 Va. 203,
215-16, 661 S.E.2d 415, 419 (2008).
group voir dire,  the trial judge asked the group of
potential jurors if any of them had expressed or formed any
opinion as to the guilt or innocence of the accused, if any
were sensible of any bias or prejudice against the parties,
and if any knew any reason he or she could not give a fair
and impartial trial to the parties based solely on the law
and the evidence. The group answered "no" to each
question. The judge asked the group if they understood that
the defendant is presumed to be innocent, if they understood
that the Commonwealth must prove the defendant is guilty
beyond a reasonable doubt, and if they understood that the
defendant is not required to produce evidence. The group
answered "yes" to each question.
Commonwealth's Attorney then asked the group a series of
questions, including, "[I]s there anyone that believes
that they already know something about this case?" When
Juror K. responded that he did, the Commonwealth's
Attorney asked Juror K. if he would be willing to put aside
prior knowledge and listen to what was heard in the courtroom
and base his decision just on the evidence presented. Juror
K. replied, "Yes."
during individual voir dire, the following
conversation took place involving Juror K.:
[Commonwealth's Attorney]: [Juror K.], I think you had
indicated that you thought maybe you had seen or heard
something about this case prior to coming here today; is that
Juror [K.]: Yes.
. . . .
[Commonwealth's Attorney]: Okay. And as sort of right
now, based on what you heard outside of the courtroom, do you
feel like you have an opinion one way or another whether the
defendant would be guilty or not guilty?
Juror [K.]: Probably more leaning towards guilty, I would
[Commonwealth's Attorney]: Okay. And -
Juror [K.]: But I, I don't know enough to, you know -
[Commonwealth's Attorney]: Okay. You don't know