A question I was recently emailed:
"As part of a project, I've been asked to try and find some examples of criminal cases where the Va Court of Appeals has sent "conflicting signals." This is part of an effort to give the appellate court constructive criticism. So . . . I wonder if you have a useful gem or two you could think of - either cases or subject areas in general, or even vague hairbrained ideas?"
Personally, off the top of my head I can only think of two things. First is the restriction of the single larceny doctrine to only larcenies. The second is the rule of lenity in Virginia: "all criminal law statutes are to be construed strictly against the Commonwealth." Recited in a large number of cases and then ignored it is given incredibly strict interpretation and application when applied to 19.2-187 (now neutered by the General Assembly because of that strict interpretation).
I'm sure there are better examples out there. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?