Harrell v. Commonwealth

In Harrell v. Commonwealth, 11 Va. App. 1, 396 S.E.2d 680 (1990), the Court held that "the statutory definition of a mob requires that the act of assembling be done for a specific purpose and with a specific intent--to commit an assault or a battery without lawful authority." Id. at 6, 396 S.E.2d at 682. In Harrell, we decided that a mob had never, in fact, formed where a group of about twenty lingering party guests congregated outside a neighboring house. See id. at 11, 396 S.E.2d at 684-85. Thus, when one person committed a battery upon the party's host and his neighbor, "there was no chain of circumstances establishing, . . . that after the first victim was struck the assault on the second victim was any more than an offense committed by one aggressive individual from among a boisterous crowd." Id. at 11, 396 S.E.2d at 685. Accordingly, the Court found the evidence insufficient to convict under a mob action theory.