Friday, April 23, 2004

Virginia Supreme Court upholds trespassing conviction on remand in Hicks

On remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, after being reversed, the Virginia Supreme Court upheld the trespassing conviction of Kevin Hicks on the property of a public housing authority in Richmond, in Com. v. Hicks, an opinion written by Chief Justice Hassell.

The history of the case is this: Hicks was convicted in the City of Richmond
General District Court. He appealed the convictions to the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond where he was convicted. He appealed the judgment to the Court of Appeals. A panel of the Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment, Hicks v.
Commonwealth, 33 Va. App. 561, 535 S.E.2d 678 (2000), but the Court of Appeals, en banc, disagreed with the panel and vacated Hicks' conviction because the Housing Authority's trespass policy contravened the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States. Hicks v. Commonwealth, 36 Va. App. 49, 52, 548 S.E.2d 249, 251 (2001). In Commonwealth v. Hicks, 264 Va. 48, 58, 563 S.E.2d 674, 680 (2002), the Virginia Supreme Court held that the trespass policy was overly broad and, therefore, violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The United States Supreme Court disagreed and concluded that the challenged policy was not overly broad in violation of the First Amendment. Virginia v. Hicks, 539 U.S. 113, ___, 123 S.Ct. 2191, 2199 (2003).

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