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JMU Students Charged with Felony for Snowball Tossing

Paul Liam McGlone
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DWI and Criminal Defense Attorney and Founder of McGlone Law Firm

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2/10/2010
Paul Liam McGlone
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This is right along the lines of the DC cop who drew his service revolver during a snowball fight last month.   The snowball fight in DC was organized by Twitter messages, and most of the participants were voluntarily involved in a fun activity in the snow.  

In this case, the kids were tossing a few snowballs at a City snowplow and the operator called police.  So, when the unmarked police car came along, they got a few shots on the police car as well. 

The statutory offense of Throwing a Missile at Occupied Vehicle is based on a complicated statute, which is pasted below.   The statute appears to require that the act be such as to put the life of the occupants in Peril.   Commonwealth often tries to stretch this by saying that any moving vehicle puts the life in peril.     That is ridiculous, though, because it is like saying that we risk our life every time we get in a car.   Ok-- so all driving is reckless driving?   Huh?  

Hopefully, these kids will call my good friend Harrisonburg Defense Attorney Bob Keefer, because he is the Best in the Valley.   

Here's the statute: 

 § 18.2-154. Shooting at or throwing missiles, etc., at train, car, vessel, etc.; penalty. — Any person who maliciously shoots at, or maliciously throws any missile at or against, any train or cars on any railroad or other transportation company or any vessel or other watercraft, or any motor vehicle or other vehicles when occupied by one or more persons, whereby the life of any person on such train, car, vessel, or other watercraft, or in such motor vehicle or other vehicle, may be put in peril, is guilty of a Class 4 felony. In the event of the death of any such person, resulting from such malicious shooting or throwing, the person so offending is guilty of murder in the second degree. However, if the homicide is willful, deliberate and premeditated, he is guilty of murder in the first degree.

    If any such act is committed unlawfully, but not maliciously, the person so offending is guilty of a Class 6 felony and, in the event of the death of any such person, resulting from such unlawful act, the person so offending is guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

    If any person commits a violation of this section by maliciously or unlawfully shooting, with a firearm, at a conspicuously marked law-enforcement, fire or rescue squad vehicle, ambulance or any other emergency medical vehicle, the sentence imposed shall include a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of one year. (Code 1950, § 18.1-152; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1990, c. 426; 2004, c. 461; 2005, c. 143.)



Category: General

Labels: Reckless Traffic

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