Murder in Colonial Virginia


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As they set sail from London to the distant shores of America in December , the men and boys onboard the Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery surely expected the best from their adventure. The explorers, funded by a group of London entrepreneurs called the Virginia Company, could not have anticipated the fate that actually awaited most of them: drought, hunger, illness, and death.

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Their journey started off as badly as it ended. The three ships were stranded for weeks off the British coast, and food supplies dwindled. Over the course of the voyage, dozens died.

But colonists — many gentlemen of privilege, but also artisans, craftsmen, and laborers — survived to reach the shores of Virginia. On May 13, , they decided to make landfall on the swampy ground of what was then a peninsula and now an island along the James River, some 60 miles from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

Within a month the settlers had constructed a triangle-shaped wooden fort, for protection against the Spanish, who did not want the British to establish any kind of foothold in the New World. The settlers of the new colony — named Jamestown — were immediately besieged by attacks from Algonquian natives, rampant disease, and internal political strife. Capias An arrest warrant issued by the court.

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Usually this will be for contempt, failure to appear in court, violation of probation or to arrest someone on an indictment. Capital Murder A murder committed with specified circumstances under which a death penalty may be imposed. Not all murder is capital murder. A conviction of capital murder does not automatically carry the death penalty.

The judge or jury may also sentence the person convicted of capital murder to life in prison without parole.

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Examples of capital murder: Murder of a police officer in the performance of his or her duty and murders committed in connection with rape and robbery, among others. Murders that do not fit within the capital murder statute cannot be punished by death. Murders that are not eligible for the death penalty are first degree and second degree murder. Commonwealth The Commonwealth means the state or people of Virginia.

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In criminal cases except for violations of local ordinances , the Commonwealth brings criminal charges. Defendant The person on trial for a criminal offense. Also, in civil cases, the person being sued. Exclusionary Rule This rule, put in place by the U. Supreme Court, requires that evidence unlawfully obtained by police through unconstitutional procedures may not be used by the Commonwealth, state or federal government during a criminal trial.


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Felony A crime that carries the possibility of being sentenced to incarceration for more than one year. Conviction of a felony results in loss of various rights, including the right to vote and possess a firearm. Felony charges must be tried in the Circuit Court. Examples of some felony charges: Grand Larceny, Burglary, Robbery and possession of drugs such as cocaine and heroin. Grand Jury A body of private citizens brought together by the court to determine probable cause for offenses and issue criminal indictments.


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  7. A special grand jury or multijurisdictional grand jury may investigate criminal activities and subpoena witnesses before issuing indictments. Indictment The formal written charge issued by a grand jury.


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    It is usually a felony, but a misdemeanor also may be charged by indictment. Infraction A lesser offense not serious enough to classify as a misdemeanor. Various traffic offenses are infractions. They do not carry the possibility of a jail sentence.

    Example: Speeding except reckless driving due to speed. Jeopardy Jeopardy refers to the possibility of a criminal conviction. Double jeopardy, or being placed in jeopardy twice for the same offiense, is forbidden by the Fifth Amendment to the U. Jeopardy attaches or comes about in a jury trial when the jury is sworn.

    Starving Settlers in Jamestown Colony Resorted to Cannibalism

    It attaches in a bench non-jury trial when the first witness is sworn. It requires a proceeding in a court that has jurisdiction to try the offense. Cases dismissed after a preliminary hearing in Virginia may be brought back and tried because no jeopardy attaches to a felony charge at a preliminary hearing. Arizona decided by the U.

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    Supreme Court in The case provides that criminal suspects must be advised of their constitutional rights under certain circumstances or their statements to police may not be admitted into evidence against them. Police must advise suspects of their constitutional rights Miranda Rights only when they interrogate a suspect who is in custody. A violation of these rights means that any statements taken in violation of Miranda cannot be used against the suspect at trial.

    It does not prohibit the Commonwealth from prosecuting the case. A misdemeanor is less serious than a felony and does not result in the loss of civil rights, such as the right to vote or possess a firearm. However, a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence will result in restrictions on purchasing and possessing firearms.

    Murder in Colonial Virginia Murder in Colonial Virginia
    Murder in Colonial Virginia Murder in Colonial Virginia
    Murder in Colonial Virginia Murder in Colonial Virginia
    Murder in Colonial Virginia Murder in Colonial Virginia
    Murder in Colonial Virginia Murder in Colonial Virginia

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