Elmore v. Commonwealth

In Elmore v. Commonwealth, 22 Va. App. 424, 429, 470 S.E.2d 588, 590 (1996), the victim (a bank teller) testified that the accused gave her a note which stated "this is a robbery". The victim further testified that the accused pointed to his pocket and indicated there was a gun there "like he had stated in his note". Id. at 426, 470 S.E.2d at 588. The Court found that the evidence concerning the note and the accused's action in pointing to his pocket established "more than the victim's mere belief or perception that the defendant had a gun. . . because the defendant's out-of-court statement admitted the existence of a 'gun.'". Id. at 429, 470 S.E.2d at 590. In Elmore, the Court very simply found that the accused's out-of-court statement admitting possession of a weapon, was sufficient evidence to support a conviction. The Court assumed without deciding "that inconsistent verdicts in a bench trial are grounds for reversal in Virginia." The Court cited the decision of Maryland's highest court in Shell v. State, 307 Md. 46, 512 A.2d 358 (Md. 1986) as representative of the decisions of other jurisdictions that "the considerations that may justify inconsistent jury verdicts do not apply in a bench trial." Id.