An unemployed woman in her mid-30s was recently charged with petit larceny, a Class 1 misdemeanor, in Roanoke City General District Court. At the time of the alleged offense, she and another woman went into a small department store and shopped for about 20 minutes. During this time, the security footage showed them shopping, usually separately, but also depicted the other woman entering and exiting the store three or four times. While the other woman may have been behaving suspiciously, there was no apparent cause to suspect the woman in question of wrongdoing.
Neither woman was stopped during their shopping trip; however, the store manager followed them outside and spoke to each of the women briefly, though no items were seized from either woman.
Our client, the woman who was not seen to be behaving suspiciously, hired Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico to avoid the severe penalties of a larceny charge. Roanoke criminal attorney Cerid Lugar attended one court date on the client’s behalf, requesting that the Commonwealth Attorney look into the security footage prior to court. He said that he would not have done so had we not insisted on obtaining it and allowing us to review it in advance. We spent over an hour negotiating with the Commonwealth Attorney, looking at the tapes. The prosecutor realized his case was weak. When administrative confusion caused the store manager not to appear at trial, the Commonwealth Attorney terminated prosecution rather than continue the case and attempt to obtain the witness.
Case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case.