Bellinger v. Com., 0845-95-1

Decision Date19 November 1996
Docket NumberNo. 0845-95-1,0845-95-1
Citation23 Va.App. 471,477 S.E.2d 779
PartiesJohn Dobbs BELLINGER v. COMMONWEALTH of Virginia. Record
CourtVirginia Court of Appeals

Gerard T. Schafer, Virginia Beach (J. Russell Fentress, IV, Norfolk; Schafer & Russo, Virginia Beach; Goss, Meier, Fentress & Gutterman, Norfolk, on brief), for appellant.

Margaret Ann B. Walker, Assistant Attorney General (James S. Gilmore, III, Attorney General, on brief), for appellee.


WILLIS, Judge.

John Dobbs Bellinger was convicted in a bifurcated jury trial of voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced in accordance with the jury's verdict to serve ten years in the penitentiary. On appeal, he contends that the trial court erred in admitting into evidence, at the sentencing phase of his trial, three disposition records for bad check offenses, because they did not constitute "record[s] of conviction[s]" admissible under Code § 19.2-295.1. We reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case for resentencing.

Code § 19.2-295.1 provides in pertinent part,

"In cases of trial by jury, upon a finding that the defendant is guilty of a felony, a separate proceeding limited to the ascertainment of punishment shall be held as soon as practicable before the same jury. At such proceeding, the Commonwealth shall present the defendant's prior criminal convictions by certified, attested or exemplified copies of the record of conviction...."

At the sentencing phase of Bellinger's trial, the trial court admitted into evidence three documents, which the Commonwealth contended were prior orders of conviction. Each document was on a form designated "FORM DC-316 12/82 (114 2-102 4/84)." Each document set forth on its first page a warrant of arrest charging Bellinger with a criminal bad check violation, Code § 18.2-181, Bellinger's personal description, and an executed form noting his arrest. The second page of each document set forth a form whereon could be noted the incidents of trial and disposition of the charge. The form provided a place for the trial judge's signature. Specifically provided on that form were places to note the presence or absence of the accused, his plea, the presence of counsel for the Commonwealth and the accused, disposition of the charge and the sentence imposed upon a finding of guilt (fine, incarceration, probation, etc.). On each of the documents tendered by the Commonwealth, all of the listed items were left blank. None of the documents was signed or dated by the trial judge. To the right of each form trial order was a monetary listing. This listing on each document showed a fine, items of cost, and a total. At the foot of each monetary listing was a block noted, "date paid." Each block had a date noted and to the right of each block was a receipt number. The monetary itemizations were not signed.

Attached to each warrant form was a copy of a check appearing to relate to the charge. Attached also to each warrant was a "misdemeanor cover sheet" containing a printed form whereon were notations relating to bail and continuances. On each form, at the place provided for "final disposition," is the stamped notation, "NO. JAIL 19.2-160." On each misdemeanor cover sheet, at the place provided for "Presiding Judge:" appear the printed initials, "RLS."

The record contains no other notation of disposition and no formal order of conviction with respect to any of the three charges.

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9 cases
  • McMillan v. Com.
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court
    • January 16, 2009
    ...not establish the fact or nature of any conviction. See McBride, 24 Va. App. at 35, 480 S.E.2d at 128; Bellinger v. Commonwealth, 23 Va.App. 471, 475, 477 S.E.2d 779, 780-81 (1996)." Palmer, 269 Va. at 207, 609 S.E.2d at 310 (emphasis We held that a circuit court must not engage in conjectu......
  • Farmer v. Commonwealth
    • United States
    • Virginia Court of Appeals
    • August 13, 2013
    ...of Wilson's predicate conviction. Id.6 In addition, in Wilson, this Court distinguished our earlier decision in Bellinger v. Commonwealth, 23 Va.App. 471, 477 S.E.2d 779 (1996), where the criminal warrant that was offered as proof of Bellinger's prior conviction “failed, in every respect, t......
  • McBride v. Com.
    • United States
    • Virginia Court of Appeals
    • January 21, 1997
    ...plea, [the court's] verdict or findings and the adjudication and sentence." Code § 19.2-307; see Bellinger v. Commonwealth, 23 Va.App. 471, 474, 477 S.E.2d 779, 780 (1996). While the warrant regarding the prior proceeding states that appellant pleaded not guilty to the charge of violating C......
  • Jewel v. Com., Record No. 2899-97-4.
    • United States
    • Virginia Court of Appeals
    • August 3, 1999
    ...30, 480 S.E.2d 126 (1997) (involving what constitutes a prior conviction for a second offense DUI conviction); Bellinger v. Commonwealth, 23 Va.App. 471, 477 S.E.2d 779 (1996) (involving what constitutes "records of conviction" for admission of prior criminal convictions into evidence at th......
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