Ervin v. Virginia

704 S.E.2d 135, 57 Va. App. 495 (2011)

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Ervin v. Virginia

Virginia Court of Appeals
704 S.E.2d 135, 57 Va. App. 495 (2011)

  • Written by Patrick Speice, JD

Facts

Samuel Ervin (defendant) was pulled over for a traffic violation approximately two hours after borrowing a car from his daughter’s mother, who regularly lent the vehicle to various people. During the traffic stop, Ervin made no suspicious movements and did not appear intoxicated, but police smelled marijuana emanating from the car. When asked for his driver’s license and the car’s registration, Ervin provided his suspended license and advised that the car did not belong to him, but Ervin did not attempt to locate the registration. The police unlocked the glove compartment to search for the registration and source of the marijuana odor and found two plastic zipper bags containing 13 and 10 smaller plastic bags of marijuana, respectively. The total value of the marijuana was approximately $200. At his trial for possession with intent to distribute, Ervin denied that the marijuana was his. When asked on cross-examination whether Ervin was familiar with the smell of marijuana, he first said, “Maybe,” and then said, “Not really.” Ervin was convicted and appealed, claiming that the government (plaintiff) did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Ervin had the requisite knowledge of the marijuana in the car.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Beales, J.)

Dissent (Alston, J.)

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