The State of the Law: Key Supreme Court Rulings and Virginia Legislative Changes.

     The Supreme Court concluded the October 2014 term. Some notable cases  are:

  • Obergefell v. Hodges:  Strikes down state bans on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional and requires states to issue marriages licenses to same sex couples and recognize lawful out-of-state marriages between same sex couples.

  • Glossip v. Gross: The Court determined that Oklahoma's use of the sedative midazolam as the first part of the lethal injection protocol does violate the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.  

  • King v. Burwell:  Upholds section 36B of "Obama Care," or The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Section, which makes tax credits available to individuals who purchase health insurance on an exchange created by the federal government.

     Amendments to the Code of Virginia have also taken effect in 2015.

  • 18.2-250.1:  In prosecutions for possession of marijuana in the form of cannabidoil oil or THC-A, defendants can now assert as an affirmative defense that they possessed such oil pursuant to a valid written certification issued by a practitioner in the course of her/his professional practice pursuant to treatment or to alleviate the symptoms of (i) the individual's intractable epilepsy or (ii) if such individual is the parent or legal guardian of a minor, such minor's intractable epilepsy.  If the defendant files the valid written certification with the court at least 10 days prior to trial and causes a copy of such written certification to be delivered to the attorney for the Commonwealth, such written certification shall be prima facie evidence that such oil was possessed pursuant to a valid written certification.

  • 18.2-50.3:   Makes it a separate and distinct class 6 felony for a person to entice, solicit, request, or otherwise cause another to enter a dwelling house if the person intends to commit certain specified crimes, including capital murder, first and second degree murder, murder of a pregnant woman, abduction with intent to extort money or for immoral purposes, aggravated malicious wounding, robbery, rape, forcible sodomy, or object sexual penetration, within the dwelling house.

  • 19.2-310.2:  Adults convicted of the following offenses must now give a sample of her/his blood, saliva or tissue for DNA analysis:  §§ 16.1-253.2 (violation of a protective order), 18.2-60.3 (stalking), 18.2-60.4 (violation of a stalking protective order), 18.2-67.4:1 (infected sexual battery), 18.2-102 (unauthorized use of animal, aircraft, vehicle, or boat valued at less than $200), 18.2-121 (entering the property of another for purpose of damaging it), 18.2-387 (indecent exposure), 18.2-387.1 (obscene sexual display), and 18.2-479.1 (resisting arrest).  The offenses are added to five misdemeanor sex offenses that already a DNA sample to be provided: (i) § 18.2-67.4 (sexual battery), (ii) § 18.2-67.4:2 (sexual abuse of a child 13 years of age or older but under 15), (iii) § 18.2-67.5 (attempted sexual battery), (iv) § 18.2-130 (peeping), and (v) § 18.2-370.6 (penetrating the mouth of a child under 13 with the tongue). 

  • 46.2-816:  Now cars shall not follow more closely than is reasonable behind bicycles, electric assistive mobility devices, electric power-assisted bicycles, and mopeds.

  • 20-124.2:  Courts may now order child support to be paid or continue to be paid for any child over the age of 18 who is (a) severely and permanently mentally or physically disabled, and such disability existed prior to the child reaching the age of 18 or the age of 19 (b) unable to live independently and support himself; and (c) resides in the home of the parent seeking or receiving child support.

Please consult The Law Office of Melinda L. VanLowe, PC, to discuss how these new laws may impact you.