Simon v. Commonwealth

In Simon v. Commonwealth, 220 Va. 412, 258 S.E.2d 567 (1979), the district court acquitted the defendant of driving under the influence based on a finding that the evidence failed to prove that he was intoxicated. In a subsequent prosecution for involuntary manslaughter, the Commonwealth sought to establish, as the predicate for the involuntary manslaughter offense, that the defendant was driving while intoxicated. The Virginia Supreme Court held that the Commonwealth was collaterally estopped from proving that the defendant was legally intoxicated. However, the Court remanded the case and held that the Commonwealth was not precluded from prosecuting the defendant for involuntary manslaughter based on proof of other wrongful or negligent acts, including proof that the defendant's driving or judgment was impaired by drinking. In determining that the Commonwealth was permitted to proceed on an alternative theory of involuntary manslaughter, the Court stated that "in order to bar a subsequent prosecution for a different offense arising out of the same transaction, a necessary element of the offense in the second trial must have been clearly adjudicated in the earlier proceeding." 220 Va. at 415, 258 S.E.2d at 570. The Court reversed the case and remanded for further proceedings.