Travor Lamont Lucas v. Commonwealth of Virginia

COURT OF APPEALS OF VIRGINIA PUBLISHED Present: Judges Fulton, Ortiz and Raphael Argued at Norfolk, Virginia TRAVOR LAMONT LUCAS OPINION BY v. Record No. 0997-21-1 JUDGE JUNIUS P. FULTON, III AUGUST 9, 2022 COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE CITY OF CHESAPEAKE James C. Hawks, Judge Samantha Offutt Thames, Senior Assistant Public Defender (Virginia Indigent Defense Commission, on briefs), for appellant. Craig W. Stallard, Senior Assistant Attorney General (Jason S. Miyares, Attorney General, on brief), for appellee. Travor Lamont Lucas appeals his convictions, following a bench trial, of obstruction of justice, possession of a firearm by a previously convicted violent felon, and possession of a concealed weapon, in violation of Code §§ 18.2-460(A), 18.2-308.2(A), and 18.2-308(A)(i). Lucas asserts that the Chesapeake Circuit Court erred in finding the evidence sufficient to prove he obstructed justice and possessed a concealed weapon. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the trial court. BACKGROUND1 On January 24, 2020, Chesapeake Police Officers Aaron Weeks and Cole Robinson initiated a traffic stop of a vehicle with defective equipment. The driver, Rodney Brooks, did not immediately stop and when Officer Weeks approached the vehicle, exhibited nervous behavior. Lucas was seated in the vehicle’s passenger seat. During the stop, Officer Weeks learned that Brooks was not a licensed driver and returned to his vehicle to write a summons while Officer Robinson remained at the passenger side of the vehicle. Because of Brooks’s behavior, Officer Weeks requested a K-9 unit. Chesapeake K-9 Police Officer Casey Hills responded. When Officer Hills arrived, he explained to Brooks and Lucas that he was going to conduct an open-air sniff of the vehicle with his K-9 and asked the pair to step out of the vehicle. Officer Hills testified that he did not observe a firearm on Lucas’s person when he exited the vehicle. When asked if he had any weapons on him, Lucas stated: “I’m good.” After the K-9 alerted to the presence of narcotics, Officers Hills and Weeks searched Brooks’s vehicle. While the officers searched the truck, Officers Robinson and Dobrin, who arrived in the interim, remained with Lucas and Brooks. During the search, Officer Hills found a folded five-dollar bill containing suspected narcotics. Officer Hills again went to retrieve his K-9 and, upon his return, instructed Officers Robinson and Dobrin to handcuff and detain the two suspects. When Officer Robinson attempted to place Lucas in handcuffs, Lucas “initially put his hands behind his back, and then he pulled away his left hand.” In response, Officer Robinson said, 1 “In determining whether the evidence was sufficient to support a criminal conviction, the appellate court views the facts in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth.” Green v. Commonwealth, 72 Va. App. 193, 202 (2020). That principle requires us to “discard the evidence of the accused in conflict with that of the Commonwealth, and regard as true all the credible evidence favorable to the Commonwealth and all fair inferences that may be drawn therefrom.” Kelly v. Commonwealth, …

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