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Taylor v. Commonwealth

Virginia Court of Appeals
521 S.E.2d 293 (1999)


Facts

Tomika Taylor (defendant) was in a relationship with a man named Avery Moore. Moore had a 10-month-old son, whom he had seen only once since the child was born. The child was in the care of his mother, Meshia Powell. Moore and Powell had never lived together or been married. Moore decided that he wanted to take the child. Moore and Taylor drove to Powell’s home and, when Powell’s father answered the door, pushed their way inside. Powell came downstairs with the baby but refused to let Moore hold him. When Powell began to walk back up the stairs, Taylor came up behind her and began to argue. An altercation ensued, during which Taylor pushed Powell, causing the child to be dropped. Taylor picked up the child and gave him to Moore. Taylor used her body to block Powell from trying to take back the child, and Moore was able to keep the child from Powell’s father. Taylor and Moore exited the house, jumped in their car, and drove away with the child. Taylor and Moore were later apprehended by police. Taylor was prosecuted for her part in taking the child. After the state (plaintiff) presented its evidence at trial, Taylor moved to strike the charge of abduction. Taylor argued that Moore had a right to take the child because he was the child’s father and because there was no custody agreement in place. As a result, Taylor claimed, Moore was not guilty of abduction and therefore neither was she. Taylor’s motion was denied, and she was convicted. Taylor appealed her abduction conviction.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Annunziata, J.)

Dissent (Elder, J.)

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