Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals in Virginia Walter S. Felton has affirmed the August 2013 conviction of Loudoun woman Dre Martina Roberts for hindering a law enforcement officer in the performance of his duties.
The case stemmed from a domestic violence complaint in Sterling in February 2013.
According to the Loudoun Commonwealth's Attorney Office, deputies responded to Roberts' Sterling residence to investigate a complaint of domestic violence. Once the officers arrived, Roberts refused to provide deputies with identification and shouted obscenities at them, demanding they get out of her house. When deputies asked Roberts to confirm she understood what they were asking by providing a yes or no answer, Roberts just responded “yes or no answer.”
She was subsequently placed under arrest for hindering a law enforcement officer in the performance of his duties, a violation of Loudoun County Ordinance 654.09.
An attorney for Roberts filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals of Virginia challenging Roberts’ criminal conviction. The attorney asserted the county ordinance does not define “hinder.” Attorneys for Roberts further argued that a suspect who fails to cooperate fully with a law enforcement officer or behaves in a way that makes the officer’s task more difficult does not hinder that officer from performing the task.
How hindering should be construed and the sufficiency of the evidence regarding whether Roberts’ conduct constituted hindering were the primary topics of oral arguments, according to the commonwealth's attorney office.
"The trial court found that appellant hindered Deputy Van Brocklin’s investigation of a domestic assault complaint by engaging in a continuing course of conduct that included: ordering him to leave the home, refusing to provide her state-issued identification to him, and providing nonresponsive answers or refusing to acknowledge his inquiries," the judge's opinion states. "The trial court stated, 'When you are required to investigate a domestic dispute, identification is crucial. Refusing to answer the questions, refusing to identify yourself, and telling somebody ... get out of my house with an attitude is clearly hindering that investigation.”
Commented Loudoun Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Plowman (R) in a prepared statement, “This is not only a significant win for Loudoun County, but for all local jurisdictions that wish to tighten the laws to prevent people from interfering in a law enforcement investigation. Further, it reinforces the position that local jurisdictions will take the necessary steps to aide and protect those that help keep our communities safe.”
The affirmation of the conviction means that Roberts must pay the $2,500 fine imposed by Judge Benjamin N. A. Kendrick on Aug. 1, 2013, along with any court costs associated with the case unless further appealed to the Virginia Supreme Court. The decision also means that Roberts’ conviction will remain on her criminal record and that the validity of the Loudoun County Ordinance is supported as it relates to the specific issues presented.
A pizza delivery man was robbed of his fare at gunpoint in Ashburn just after midnight Tuesday morning, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office.
The delivery man was approached by an unknown black man described as nearly 6-feet tall and wearing a bathrobe in the 43800 block of Chloe Terrace, according to the sheriff's office. The suspect began a conversation with the delivery man before brandishing a firearm and demanding money, the sheriff's report states.
After being told the delivery man was not carrying cash, the bathrobed suspect snagged the pizza and left the area.
CHANTILLY, Va. (AP) -- A Fairfax County man has been cited by police after trying to bring a loaded gun through a security checkpoint at Washington Dulles International Airport.
The Transportation Security Administration says officers detected the handgun with five rounds of ammunition in the man's carry-on bag Sunday. Airport police confiscated the weapon and cited the man on a state weapons charge.
The TSA says there was no impact to airport operations. The man was allowed to board his flight.
This is the third gun TSA officers have detected at checkpoints this calendar year.
The agency says passengers are allowed to travel with guns only in their checked bags if they are unloaded, properly packed and declared. Passengers who bring guns to security checkpoints could face criminal charges and penalties up to $11,000.