Smith v. Commonwealth

In Smith v. Commonwealth, 165 Va. 776, 182 S.E. 124 (1935), the ongoing feud was so bitter the defendant armed himself in case of a chance encounter with the victim. On the day of the murder, the defendant refused to leave when asked and though the victim struck first, the bitterness of the feud was sufficient to constitute fault. Continuing the bitter feud prevented the defendant from being free from fault "in the minutest degree." Id. at 785, 182 S.E. at 128. The trial court properly refused to instruct on justifiable self-defense. In Smith v. Commonwealth, 134 Va. 589, 113 S.E. 707 (1922), the Supreme Court of Virginia acknowledged that "conviction" has been "differently defined" through the years and instructed that "where the reference is to the ascertainment of guilt in another proceeding, in its bearings upon the status or rights of the individual in a subsequent case, . . . a broader meaning attaches to the expressions conviction or convicted, and a 'conviction' is not established, or a person deemed to have been 'convicted' unless it is shown that a judgment has been pronounced upon the verdict."Id. at 598, 113 S.E. at 709.