Richard Hill v.Commonwealth of Virginia


COURT OF APPEALS OF VIRGINIA Present: Judges Petty, Athey and Senior Judge Frank Argued by videoconference UNPUBLISHED RICHARD HILL MEMORANDUM OPINION* BY v. Record No. 1229-20-4 JUDGE ROBERT P. FRANK JULY 13, 2021 COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF ARLINGTON COUNTY Daniel S. Fiore, II, Judge Bradley R. Haywood (Office of the Public Defender, on briefs), for appellant. Katherine Quinlan Adelfio, Assistant Attorney General (Mark R. Herring, Attorney General, on brief), for appellee. Richard Hill, appellant, appeals the trial court’s denial of his emergency motion for reconsideration of his sentence. The trial court found it had no jurisdiction to hear the motion because appellant had appealed his underlying revocation order to this Court. For the reasons stated, we dismiss the appeal. BACKGROUND On March 9, 2015, appellant pleaded guilty to one count of attempted unlawful wounding. The trial court sentenced appellant to three years’ incarceration with all but six months suspended. Following a March 16, 2018 revocation hearing, the trial court found appellant in violation of his probation, revoked all of his suspended sentence, and then re-suspended all but one year. The trial court also restored appellant to probation for an additional two years. * Pursuant to Code § 17.1-413, this opinion is not designated for publication. On February 6, 2019, the trial court initiated a second and later, a third probation violation. Appellant moved to dismiss, asserting that the trial court lacked jurisdiction. The trial court denied that motion to dismiss. The trial court subsequently found appellant in violation of the terms and conditions of his probation and sentenced him to the balance of his previously suspended sentence by order of March 11, 2020. Appellant appealed that decision to this Court, which affirmed the trial court’s judgment. See Hill v. Commonwealth, 73 Va. App. 206 (2021). On April 27, 2020, while his revocation appeal was pending, appellant filed a motion to reconsider the revocation sentence imposed by final order of March 11, 2020,1 asking that the remainder of his active sentence be suspended. On September 29, 2020, the trial court denied appellant’s motion for reconsideration of his sentence, finding that it lacked jurisdiction because appellant had appealed the revocation order to this Court. At the time of the motion and ruling, appellant had not been transferred to the Department of Corrections and remained in local custody. Appellant served his sentence in full and was released from the Arlington County Detention Center on February 23, 2021. ANALYSIS The Commonwealth admits that the trial court erred because it did have jurisdiction to act on the motion to reconsider,2 but contends this appeal is moot because no controversy remains between the parties. If the appeal is moot, we must dismiss it without addressing the merits. “A case becomes moot ‘when the issues presented are no longer “live” or the parties lack a legally cognizable interest in the outcome.’” Ingram v. Commonwealth, 62 Va. App. 14, 21 (2013) 1 The Commonwealth indicated it would not object to the relief sought by …

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